Girl home from college on Spring Break this week. Our first night together. Dinner ordered in. Pizza. Kid still likes pizza. We small talk about her day. She’s resourceful. Motivated. She’s been up the coast applying for jobs. Two interviews and another scheduled for tomorrow. Summer work to support a trip she’s planning.
We talk about school. Mom asks questions. Kid doesn’t much like questions. She’s trying to change her major. Mom isn’t sure it’s a good idea. Kid is sure she knows better. Kid feels questioned, challenged like mom doesn’t trust her. Mom thinks talking about it is important. It has to make sense. Decisions like these are big ones. We discuss.
Kid vacates the living room for the bedroom. Door closes.
Mom knocks, “Wanna play cards?”
“Sure, I’ll be out in a minute.”
We play her favorite card game – Speed. She’s much speedier than mom. We laugh. We joke. We talk about nothing in particular. We eat chocolates and pickles. Soon we hear a sound like this.
Then, a twist in the form of a text from the PTO President: “I’m sure you know but the fire alarm is going off at school. Let me know if you need help.”
Support like this! GIFTS abound at the Sweetest Little School by the Sea.
“Let’s go,” I say. Kid slips on her flip flops. We head out the door.
I get school police on the phone. We arrive, lights are flashing, alarm still sounding. No fire trucks in sight yet. I unlock the gate to the playground, and we drive onto campus. I lock the gate behind us. It is late. It is dark save the nearly full moon. I call school police again not wanting to be alone in case someone who should not be here is here. We talk as two fire trucks pull up out front – lights on, sirens sounding. My heart beat slows. I unlock the front gate to let them in. We check out the alarm in the front office. It indicates there has been a water leak in the lower building, bottom floor. We go together to check. No water anywhere. The auto alarm resets. I thank the firefighters as they leave, grab some work from my office, lock up and get in the car.
It is then that I see them. The fireflies! California style fireflies. They are these magical little light up fliers you buy at street fairs.
“We gotta do these!” I tell the kid. Her eye flashes me a sparkle, “Okay!” We pull down onto the playground and get out of the car. “How do you do it?” she asks. I show her. She pulls and it flops to the ground. “Try again,” I encourage. It takes a few times. She does and soon she has them sailing high into the sky, spiraling down as she runs to catch them.
She lets me snap this picture, a remembrance of a wonderful night, questions and cards and false alarms.