A scene from our lives: It's been a long day. Our plans for the day fell through, so when the girls asked for a day at the lake, I agreed. It was steamy hot outside with temps in the high 90s and high humidity. A day near the water sounded like a great idea. I packed lunch, brought along my book and while they played, I read. After a few hours, we dried off, packed up and headed to a friend's house for dinner. She'd offered to have us over for dinner in the final days of our kitchen renovation.
Dinner was lovely: marinated chicken, grilled to perfection, fresh corn on the cob, broccoli, sliced homegrown tomatoes. All of this followed by my friend's excellent berry cobbler. But I was tired. It was time to pack up and get home while I still had the energy to drive us.
Me: "Girls, we're leaving in about ten minutes."
A, B and K: "Awww. OK."
E: "OK. Hey! Have you guys heard of the luge?"
I hear E's response from the kitchen and think I must have heard wrong. It's Nashville. In the summer. It's nearly 7 pm and the temperatures outside are still well above 90. Luge? What could have prompted her to suddenly ask about a sport that is raced in the dead of winter? Maybe she said something else?
I continue to help my friend clean up her kitchen, chatting as we clear plates and wipe down the table. Roughly the allotted ten minutes later, I walk to the bottom of the stairs, intending to call for my girls. To my surprise, I see E and A sliding down the stairs in a sleeping bag, laughing the whole way. "She did say luge," I think to myself with surprise.
B: "Mom... we haven't all had a turn. Can we all have a turn before we go?" She says this from near the top of the stairs as she waits with jittering excitement for E to drag the sleeping bag back up the stairs.
Me: "Sure." I say from my vantage point just to the right of the bottom of the stairs. I'm not heading back to the kitchen now. Not when I can watch this instead.
From this spot, I see a purple sleeping bag with a princess on it populated first with an experienced stair luger: She climbs in, puts her arms inside the sleeping bag, lays her head down like an Olympic athlete and takes off down the stairs. My daughters watch in amazement, fascination and anticipation.
B follows, then A. Neither are as experienced as E, but B is fearless and still flies down the stairs with as much speed as she can muster.
Then, a cute sight: close your eyes (OK, I realize you can't read with your eyes closed - read this and then close your eyes to picture it). Two tiny girls - six and nearly six, both small for their age - climb together into the sleeping bag. Even when they are both inside, you could fit another child or so in their with them. With wide eyes, smiles that split open their faces and giggles galore, they head down the stairs, laughing all the way down as they are jostled to and fro.
The very picture of summer: a lazy day in the water, time with friends and unexpected surprises. It just doesn't get any better than this.