Phoenix sits cross-legged in the straight-backed chair and takes her turn as she, A., J. and I read from Trivial Pursuit cards. My daughter knows a surprising number of answers, but what’s more notable to me is how excited she is to stay up late (until about 2 AM as it turns out) and hang out being a Grown Up. Later at home she gives herself a bath and puts on camisole and panties and we join Nels (where we’d found him at my computer, watching original “Pink Panther” cartoons and laughing like he discovered the first joke) then queue up an Australian mermaid teen drama for a few episodes.

I can’t tell if the show is good or not. The kids love it though. “That makes sense,” Nels sagely nods when one of the characters makes a decision involving who to invite to her birthday party. Phoenix agrees. For all their smarts and worldly know-how, they are still as simple and loving and straightforward as children ought grow up to be (and as I often wish I could easily reclaim). I love that my seven year old son has no problem identifying with and celebrating femme-identified heroines. I love the kids cuddle tangled up in one another’s arms, happy I’m watching their show with them. A few moments later: “Her hair looks like Top Ramen,” my son says in the same judicious tone. When I’m sleepy I ask the children to turn off the show. Nels runs off to join his dad for sleep (Musical Beds, in our household, including feline members as well), and Phoenix wraps herself around me and we whisper how much we love one another, and I’m into sleep.

Life has been so busy and full for me it’s a wonder I keep track. I write lots of notes in my moleskine and that helps. I have one of those cool phones but for some things I like putting pen to paper, it’s more efficient. Today in my son’s possession is a small bronze coin that means more than other currency, and he carries it tenderly in his pocket as he runs off to play with his sister. I buy a cup of coffee and greet the well-known baristas who at 11:30 AM I see in an aura of clear divinity. In the evening I emerge from a church building to a pouring rain that’s warmer than any I’ve felt; I’m taken aback. Then for a friend who quite suddenly lost her companion kitty today, we buy flowers and a card (the flowers roses on Nels’ insistance, the card quite tasteful and sweet and chosen by Phoenix). I smile and say “excuse me!” and mean it and make eye contact in the shop when a cart crosses my path (or vice versa).

Today someone told me “I love you” in a way where I knew they really meant it,

and that was pretty amazing.

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