Last weekend I started painting my kitchen cabinets. Andy was out of town and my daughters and I made sweet potato mac n' cheese and peach oatmeal muffins. We hiked, built forts. I did laundry in-between and around watching puppet shows and building princess towers. I loaded and unloaded the dishwasher. I turned down invitations to meet up with friends. I read books in bed, some for the kids, some for me. I wished I could sleep-in on the morning both of my children slept past 7am.
A friend arrived yesterday. She drove to Missoula from Whitefish and had driven to Whitefish from Whistler and had driven to Whistler from Seattle where she had just flown in from Vermont. This last year she told stories live on stage in Ireland, she got her EMT certification. She parented one impossibly adorable dog named Hometeam and lived on a ship in Alaska. She rolled into and out of one or two relationships and into and out of one or two living situations. She smiles big, hugs big and lives big.
She's 27 and open in that perfectly bright and eager way. Anything's game and this divine knowledge takes her places. She blows wildly and deliberately about the world, trying roles on, seeking her path, knowing paths transform with every experience.
Melina's anchors are different than mine but every time we connect I understand they are really the same, just in different decades. She is me, sometime ago. And I am her sometime ahead. Or vice versa. Or both.
Last night we played Old Maid with Margot and when it was Melina's turn to blindly choose one of Margot's cards, Margot said this one this one this one, clearly having the Old Maid in her hand. Lina looked to me and laughed I don't know what to do! I understood. Does she take the Old Maid burden? Does she choose another card and spin the situation into a lesson in game-playing? I asked Margot what she'd suggest and she made it clear that she just didn't want that wrinkly wench in the game. So we took her out. The game ended when we were all out of cards and Margot asked who won. I asked her to decide. She counted our matched pairs. We each had seven. We all won. Or lost. High fives all around.
Climbing rocks, swaddling babies. Chasing crushes, seven years wed. Extreme camping, family bed. Saving lives on a boat in the ocean, saving the tiny purple charm from the depths of the vacuum bag.
Later, the kids asleep, I returned to the living room. Melina and I both had writing to do and we opened our magic computer books to begin. I made us cocktails and remarked on the day that was full of normalcy as feeling big and important. Well it's all big and important, she said. It's all big and important.