Today is Thursday, the day my friend R takes charge of his nieces and nephews and ventures out in to the world. For weeks R and I have had a running 'maybe' play date. When he called this morning, to remind me he had the kids, I looked out the window at the glorious spring day, and then back at my computer, where I was contacting friends and friends of friends to let them know just how sick A is, and that we're going to loose her.
I closed my laptop, packed my toddler, and forayed in to Maine. Sunshine and children suddenly seemed to be the most important thing in the world. That the home we were going to was on the same back roads I traveled two weeks ago was helpful. Knowing where we were going, I was able to soak up the sun, I knew where the 'kisser hills' were, and I took in the scenery with aplomb, even though Sawyer insisted on yelling "LOOK OUT LOOK OUT" at every curve.
R was house sitting, at a lovely, wonderful, huge and inviting home. The play structure in the front yard had the one at Henry law park beat by a mile. We turned the kids loose, and sat in the grass, chatting over iced coffee. Parts I didn't know were tense started to unwind.
There were 4 kids: Girls named Monkey and Bubbles, aged 6 and 1. The boys were D and Sawyer, ages 4 and 2. Quickly, Monkey and I established that we had the same flip flops. That we both loved purple. That bunnies were awesome and soft, and that she had a baby one, and it was the best. thing. ever. We were friends for life.
Sitting in the grass, I noticed a spider. A huge, female brown house spider, my favorite kind. She was carrying a giant egg sack under her belly, struggling along the way giantly pregnant women do.
'Wow, look at this spider!" I said. 'She's going to have babies!"
Instantly I was joined by Monkey and D. So fast, in fact, I thrust out my hand to keep them from stepping on our specimen. "Careful! We don't want to squish her!" I said.
I pointed out the spider, and the egg sack. Our little class was more interesting than the swings, and we were joined by the younger kids, Sawyer and Bubbles. Neither of them cared about the spider, but they wanted to be where the action was. All the kids studied the tiny mom, and we talked about how she was going to have babies.
"Spiders are cool!" said D. (he's 4)
"Spiders are gross." Said Monkey. "They are icky."
"Spiders are scary! " said D. (Some day, their parents will long for such unity between siblings.)
"Spiders are my absolute favorite all time best bug." I said. "I like them better than ants, or beetles or "
"Butterflies?!" interrupted Monkey.
"Yes. Better than butterflies. I like spiders best of all. Even more than butterflies." I said. I explained why. We sat in silence for a few minutes, and the other kids wandered off.
"Butterflys are my favorite." Said Monkey. "They're pretty. Spiders are ok."
"Well," I said. "Butterflies ARE prettier than spiders. But my favorites are still spiders."
Monkey nodded and tore off to play on the swings.
I think she and I should go on the road. Our next stop? The Middle East. If we can find common ground with butterflies and spiders, Israel and Palestine should be a snap.