April 25, 2009

Hanging with the Scribbler family

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.

15 comments:

Phantom Scribbler said...

The bunny's sleeping in the side yard right now. And we sure miss you!

Songbird said...

Sounds like a lovely visit! And the food is always wonderful at Phantom's.

jo(e) said...

Yes, she fed me great meals! (It drives most people crazy that I'm vegan, but Phantom rose to the challenge and came up with all kinds of great stuff to make for me.)

Phantom Scribbler said...

Laughing! Well, once you saw the cupcakes I didn't really need to make anything else, nu?

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Thoroughly lovely.

kathy a. said...

how wonderful.

S. said...

I'm glad to have had a glimpse into the visit! :)

jo(e) said...

S: Oh, I should have mentioned that in the post. My first ever video-chatting experience! That was probably more exciting than the Muppet Show.

susan said...

Sounds like a lovely visit!

Lilian said...

Hmmm... will you come and visit someday? ;-) (seriously)

Oh, and thanks for sharing the "secret" destination with us (although I'm sure a lot of us are just so jealous right now! ;-)

jo(e) said...

Lilian: I've often thought maybe I should just take a whole summer sometime and drive around the country visiting bloggers. It's so much fun.

Magpie said...

That sounds like a swell time.

liz said...

Ooooohhhhhhh!!!!!

TC said...

The reason I am and always will be in awe of you, but will never be able to BE like you: "How relaxing it is to spend time with little kids."

jo(e) said...

TC: Maybe I should have said, "How relaxing it is to spend time with little kids when they aren't your own." I do know how crazy it can be to have your own kids in your face 24/7 .... I remember those days well. Many days, it was very much TOO MUCH of a good thing.