I drove for hours through rain and fog, a mysterious landscape that made it feel like I could be anywhere on earth and possibly on another planet altogether. But then at last, just as the rain was letting up, I arrived at my destination: the home of Phantom Scribbler.
Her kids greeted me at the door with shy smiles and big eyes. I’d never met them before, but I’ve seen photos of them for years, and they were just what I expected: smart, lively, and ridiculously cute. They pulled me into a house overflowing with books, toys, and the warm smell of chocolate cupcakes. I felt at home immediately.
For four years, Phantom and I have been talking about me coming to visit her, and this week we did all the things we always said we would. She fed me vegan chocolate cupcakes — they were still warm when I arrived — with a delicious chocolate glaze. We watched the Muppet Show! That’s right — after all these years, I’m no longer a Muppet Show virgin.
Her kids were so much fun to play with. I started talking to High-Energy Little Boy about Ultimate Frisbee, and he took to the sport with the zeal of a convert, even setting up a field with Playmobil people so that we could discuss the finer points of the game and act out a whole tournament. His obliging father took him out to buy a disc, and I taught him how to throw a flick, no doubt a happy moment for his parents who will now have to endure constant requests to go “throw around” in the backyard. Perhaps the cutest thing was how quickly High-Energy Little Boy picked up the Ultimate jargon: within a day, he was yelling things like, “No Big!” or saying seriously, “Okay, this guy can handle” in a perfect imitation of Boy in Black, a twenty-year-old whom he’s never met.
We had a blogger meet-up within the blogger meet-up on Thursday when we spent the afternoon at the park with Tall Kate and her two kids. Tall Kate was just as friendly and down-to-earth as I thought she’d be. Forsythia was blooming everywhere, bright yellow and cheerful. The kids ran around and played, while we women talked and High-Energy Boy set about Ultimate Frisbee proselytizing to some girls he knew from school.
How relaxing it is to spend time with little kids. We sat at the table and drew on tissues with magic markers, and then hung them in the window because they looked just like stained glass if you kind of squinted when you looked at them. We made tissue paper flowers for imaginary friends. We spent time just staring out the window at the bunny in the side yard.
Little Girl with Big Beautiful Eyes is still young enough to climb on my lap and hug me. High-Energy Boy reminded me so much of my own brother at that age — constantly talking, drumming on the table, narrating events, dancing, singing, always busy and making some kind of noise. That’s what I grew up — I was in my thirties before I could be comfortable with silence — so his energy just delighted me. No one could ever feel lonely with him in the house! I suspect he’ll be an awesome musician when he gets older. And of course, an incredible Ultimate player.
Of course, the best part of the visit was simply having time with Phantom Scribbler. Her husband — who is so gentle and patient with the kids that it made me smile to watch — took them out one afternoon to visit his parents. We two women sat at the kitchen table, drinking hot tea and eating homemade vegan chocolate cupcakes, and mostly just talking, talking, talking. A great way to spend an afternoon.