I think last night just might have been a perfect night.
Iowa is lush and green right now -- spring is bursting out all around us and Scott's parents' lawn was a thick carpet of new grass yesterday evening. Scott and the kids had been kicking a kickball around while I was helping Dianne with dishes. When I finished inside the house, I headed out to see what the fam was doing.
Milo was sprinting after the kickball, his cheeks flushed and eyes snapping. He dove over the ball so that Scott couldn't sneak it away from him. Right about then, Violet noticed that I'd come outside. She squealed, "Mommy!" and ran headlong towards me. She was wearing a lavender dress that had a tiered skirt and a pink sweater with red polka dots. As she ran to me, arms up, she reminded me of the little girl who played Carrie on the "Little House on the Prairie" show -- the one who tumbles down a grassy hill during the credits. Violet did not tumble, but her glee as she ran sort of hit me like a sonic boom. I scooped her up and called to the boys to kick the ball my direction.
Thus started a crazy game of kicking the ball. There was really no rhyme or reason for it, but we kicked the ball willy-nilly to each other, laughing and teasing and cheering at each other. I was wearing slip-on shoes, so my shoe went flying on several kicks -- something that thoroughly entertained Milo. Violet was only able to kick the ball a few feet, so Scott picked her up and began to use her as bat of sorts -- holding her under her arms and swinging her so that her feet connected with the ball. She was thrilled! We carried on this way for almost an hour, maybe. It was hard to tell as time was suspended while we whooped and hollered.
My completely exhausted children fell asleep in the car mid-conversation and both managed to stay asleep as we tucked them into their beds. I checked on them when I went to bed, both were curled up tightly, Violet with her bum in the air and Milo like a shell on his side, their faces still flushed -- this time with sleep.
To have an evening where everyone was happy, where everyone was enjoying just being with each other, where our crazy kickball dance cast a spell of joy -- this is the reason I want the life I have.