Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Best 20 Minutes of the Day

It's a Monday night. No soccer practice. Nick had a substitute teacher, so no homework. Blake -- well he manages his own.

Dinner is over with early, the kitchen is clean.

The kids decide to savor the last bits of sunlight for the day as they head to the back yard. No daylight saving time here, so it's getting dark pretty darn early -- 6:15, 6:30ish.

Two glasses of cabernet are poured. We follow the kids outside and plop down on the comfy outdoor couch.

Allie is wearing her Ariel Little Mermaid bride dress. She and Zach are playing with a jump rope. But they're not jumping. Each is holding an end and they're running circles around the swingset, holding the rope just right so it's tight between them. Their laughter billows through the silent desert air.

They drop the jump rope.

"Come with me, Allie," Zach says, scooping up Allie's hand as the laughter continues and they dart about the yard as a single unit.

Blake and Nick are playing tetherball. No fighting. Just smiles. A brotherly competition. The ball bonks Nick on the head. They both erupt in laughter.

Daylight succumbs to darkness. The air is comfortably warm. A hint of a breeze flirts with us as we finish the last of the wine.

Glimmering stars in the clear desert night sky before us.

"I see stars Mommy," Allie says proudly.

My family. Smiles. Laughter. Fun. Wine.

A beautiful way to end the day.

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