With my husband out of town and my college sons at an Ultimate tournament, the house felt quiet this weekend – and uncharacteristically clean. Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter was home, so we had many cups of hot tea, along with vegan chocolate cake. Film Guy came to hang out, of course. With-a-Why and Philosophical Boy sat on the floor to play Scrabble and chess: they both have the quiet, intense personalities that lead to long, serious games. My daughter didn’t have much to say about grad school. “All I do is work,” she said. “I'm so busy that when I get to Friday, I think, oh, wow, I've got some free time, maybe I'll take a shower."
Saturday afternoon, I got a text message from Blue-eyed Ultimate Player. “Want to meet my mother?” His mother was in town, and he brought her over to the house for a visit. We sat by the fire and talked: she was just as warm and friendly as her son. He goes to school at Snowstorm University, of course, but their home is hours away, in a town called Sandwich, which is such a cool name that I haven’t even bothered to make up a pseudonym.
The little neighbor kids tested positive for the H1N1 flu this week, but that has not stopped them from coming over. “I’m not contagious any more,” Little Biker Boy will say optimistically as he coughs on me and rubs his fevered head against me to give me a hug. I tend to be resigned about sickness: if it’s going through the community, I’m going to get it. But With-a-Why keeps getting up and disinfecting surfaces in the house every time the kids leave. And he keeps putting up facebook status messages to alert the rest of the family. “Swine Flu kids are grabbing and touching everything in the house.”
Of course, Red-haired Sister should be coming down with the flu any day now. Last week, when she was in town, she took the little neighbor kids out shopping. I think their mother, Woman with Many Tattoos, thought my sister was taking them to the dollar store. Instead, my sister bought them clothes, toys, hats, mittens, winter boots, sneakers, bicycle helmets – pretty much everything they need for the winter months.
“It’s like having a fairy godmother,” Woman with Many Tattoos said to me later. “I wish there were more people in the world like your sister.”
Red-haired Sister is one of the most generous people I know. (And her husband, Tie-dye Brother-in-law, is the same.) If only she could wave her fairy godmother wand and keep those kids safe: I’m sure that’s what she really wishes she could do. But during her visit, she did what was within her powers to do: she’s outfitted them with warm clothes so that they can play safely outdoors during the long winter months ahead.