If you live in Portland, you've probably spent an evening at Wallace Park/Chapman School for "Swift Watch". Each night of early fall, thousands of birds circle the sky and swoop into the school's chimney to roost during their migration. We thought this year that the girls might love to watch the birds, so we headed over there, had some playground time, dinner at a local cafe and some ice cream afterward, and headed to the back of the school around dusk. What we found was an atmosphere so energetic that Penny and Lulu were almost overwhelmed. There were spontaneous soccer games, jump rope and tug of war competitions, and a giant slide of cardboard boxes, brought and left by kids each night. Penny just kept shouting, "This is the best day ever! I never want this day to end! Can we come and watch the condors every night?" That's right, the condors. It's an understandable mistake because I think they only glanced at the birds for one minute total, anyway. Everything else was just too much fun.
We used to live in this neighborhood, renting a small apartment that we loved so much it was hard to leave. Returning here is filled with Mr. Jones telling the girls about the places we loved, the hospital where they were born, and the home where we first lived as a family.
At one point, Penny turned to me and asked, "Mama, did you like it better when it was just you and Daddy, or when it's all of us as a family?" and it broke my heart, her emotional intelligence to sense there was a different life before her, and that it might have been fun, too. Of course, I assured her everything now was better. Especially on nights like this.