May 15, 2006

Red letter day for Swallows and Amazons

Came home yesterday from our Mother's Day festivities to find a phone message from our homeschooling family friends, the Smiths, inviting us to lunch today and an afternoon of play. I have to admit, I was torn -- on a Monday, with all sorts of schoolwork yet to accomplish and with an hour and a half of Swim Club in the late afternoon afterwards? Fortunately, I came to my senses (after all, the weather forecast was for sunshine and 80 degrees and in Alberta in May that's not to be sneezed at) and these doubts didn't last too long, and I quickly called to RSVP.

Just as quickly, the kids zipped through their schoolwork this morning while I prepared some of tonight's dinner ahead of time. Just before noon, we were off. We arrived at the Smith Family's acreage, which is a forested wonder. Mrs. Smith and her two kids (nine-year-old daughter and 11 year-old-son who is idolized by my two boys) emerged from the trees to beckon us to their fire in clearing, where we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows for lunch. Energized by all the carbon in their systems, the kids took off for a clearing and swung on tire swings. Over the next two hours, they variously had water pistol/Super Soaker fights, danced in the sprinkler, admired the Smith kids' teepee, sailed a not particularly seaworthy raft and a much better dinghy in the rain-swollen pond, lost and found boots in the mud, drank orange soda pop, and built a giant castle in the sand only to let an even larger tsunami through. The kids were in the house only a few times to use the bathroom.

During this last, darling Mrs. Smith laid out the tastiest tidbits from her fridge and begged me to make sandwiches and snacks for the kids before heading off to Swim Club; and then she raided her candy stash and dropped tiny boxes of Smarties and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups into the bag.

I was fully expecting my kids to either fall asleep in the truck on the way to town or half-drown in the pool from exhaustion, but they're made of strong stuff and second (and third) winds. And then we came home and they devoured my belated Mother's Day dinner of grilled steak and shrimp with tomato and red onion salad, and raspberries and whipped cream for dessert. And conked out.

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