Fireflies, Campfires and Cousins-Unexpected Utopia.

I have lived a lot.

I have had amazing experiences that I think entitle me to feeling a little more than blessed, a little more than privileged. My entire life I’ve at least been aware enough to realize my great privilege and have wonder at why I get to be so blessed…I’ve traveled, not as much as some but more than most. I have sampled and tried everything; religion, food, elite sports, sex, even some drugs, I have had jobs in food, medicine, marketing, athletics, customer service and early childhood development… I have tried every art…ahem…and except music–which i have tried and am not good at, count yourself blessed if I have not serenaded–you geez, (really!!) But every other medium of art I think I have tried it and felt moved, compelled and been at least ok at it. My point is that there are a lot of things that could happen to me in any given day that might constitute me feeling as though I had the most perfect day possible. Heck, I just got back from Hawaii with the hubs and kids in June…what was that? Six, seven weeks ago and it was better than amazing!

So imagine how completely blown away I was when the perfect scenario came together tonight at my sister’s house. My husband is at home in California and I am way, way, out here in North Carolina,  Durham to be exact…I wouldn’t expect to have a night beyond my wildest dreams, would I? Those are the times to watch out for…that is when magic strikes…when you quit thinking about it. Quit looking for perfect, quit measuring happiness, stop having expectations.

So it is that I find myself gathering fallen sticks from the crepe myrtle trees in the backyard, some paper sacks ripped in pieces and twisted into errr…twisted pieces of paper… and four split logs from a firewood bundle. I hauled in some beach chairs and some marshmallow roasting sticks then raided the pantry for some chocolate and marshmallow…and lucked out with all of it, including stale graham crackers (sorry for outing you sis) and beverages for the adults, as luck had it my sister had it all!

While she gave the baby a bath and put him to bed I dipped everyone else in deet to repel the nasty mosquitoes then headed out to build a ‘bon fire’! I expected it to be a bit of a chore…you know, hanging out with booger eating, name calling (ahem), short, little people…I expected a lot of whining and complaining…uh, I expected the “hard sell”…

The six year old started off with some propaganda about how I needed some kind of “gas” to get the fire started. (This is a myth generated by his father and the prolific use of white gas.  I, however, am from the sticks–not L.A.–and can start a fire rubbing two twigs together!) “Shhhh” I told the little vermin! “You are buying into your father’s lies! Watch your mama and learn.” So I set about building a voracious fire to the amazement of the children. (come on…they are still young and impressionable! It wasn’t hard…)

photo 1 (3) photo 1 (4) photo 3 photo 4

After a healthy fire was established (in the fire pit) I passed out marshmallow roasting sticks and told a partially made up story about the elusive “marsh mallow” plant and how marshmallows came into being. My sister had finished with putting the baby to bed and joined us. She headed up the cooking lesson on the perfectly roasted marshmallow, that my boys completely disregarded, and we all had the best s’mores ever…

When we were all in the throes of a complete sugar overdose we broke into song, first we sang, “If You’re Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands”...all three versus. Yes there was some screaming HOORAY in the backyard on Graceview…Then we sang the Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree and of course Old MAcDonald, and another one about a mama duck and some babies who went missing? I don’t know…Apollo was in charge of that song and I am a little feeble minded when it comes to children’s songs…Anyway, It was completely, amazingly, fun and I was grinning from ear to ear. (Not one child complained about my less than adequate singing voice…I may have found my tribe…they are six and under…how annoying.)

That is when we saw the seven or so fireflies dancing in the backyard behind us and everyone decided they should go play on the swingset or chase and dance with bugs…of course I decided my sister needed another beer that taste like pop and had to accommodate her. I did promise that when I got back we would tell ghost stories. The promise of ghost stories kinda freaked me out, I will be honest. I am a good bullshitter but heck if I know any ghost stories, if I did they would scare the crud out of me!

“YaY!!!” all the kiddos scream!

Crap!

So after a few minutes I face it. I know we  need the babes to go off to bed and now I have promised a ghost story…time to tell it, even if it sucks.

I begin with an epic tail of a haunted turd. You heard me. A turd. It’s perfect for my audience since anything really scary will keep them up all night… and me too! So I muster the tale of the haunted “Don’t roll over, or we’ll all be dead.” a story about some bugs floating about on a, you guessed, turd.  Classy, I know, but potty humor goes a long way with this group…

Next in the lineup was the infamous tale of, “First I’m gonna get ‘cha, then I’m gonna eat ‘ya!”

Can you tell I am the mother of four boys? That tale, as spooky as it sounds, is about a boy and his boogers! Yep, story of my life with these kids…I know they are good “ghost” stories because my almost three year old wants me to tell them again as I lay in bed with my arms wrapped around him. Aw. Heart melting that he wants me to tell a haunted turd story, isn’t it?

Who’d a thought that this night would define one of the best nights in recent (as long as I can remember) memory? The sound of cousins racing around, hootin’ and hollerin’ and having a good time, my sister on my arm being the best auntie ever, and fireflies in the background? I feel pretty overwhelmed and mostly overjoyed…totally worth the year of college tuition I spent to get us all here.  My sisters are special and not in the crazy way, though  they are all totally certifiable in someway. They are laid back, they get it, there is nothing in life worth being too crazy over except love and especially when it comes to your babes.

Best sound ever, even over all the wildlife and bugs? The sound of my kids and my sister’s kids laughing and screaming and living it up, creating a memory…together.

One more day…

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