When I was at my sister's house I resigned all rights to privacy. Having my own room only meant that Mickie and Ben and Hinny had a place to come for quiet. This was fine with me. Visiting the kids time is for visiting the kids.

Mornings I'd awake instantly to see the door move inwards ever so slowly, ever so quietly. One of them, or all, hesitantly tiptoeing in on the carpet, faces perfect studies in concentrated stillness, closer, closer, through my slitted eyes.


They fell for it every time, sure they'd caught me unawares, hopeful for a minute or two of quiet observation until Auntie Jane woke up. Hoping to wake me up with the same sort of strangled monster yelp I unleashed on them.

Later Hannah would be in school setting up her classroom and attending meetings and I made grilled cheese for lunch. Kids like grilled cheese and we'd have it every day while I was there. After we'd make a mad dash for the wading pool in the backyard. We rarely made it before the sky gave in to Florida humidity and dumped hot shower rains, but summer storms worked well on bathing suits and none of us minded.

Later, dry and cold in the air conditioning, Hinny went down for her nap and it was COLORING TIME. This was very important stuff for Mickie and Ben and I had to shhhh while they scratched and scribbled and made stuff. Ben was full of details, down to the eleven fingers on each hand. He counted them out as he colored the nails red and Mickie smirked at me. We were the two big girls.

Later Ben would want to scare Hinny awake and when I heard her playing in the crib we went to get her, tiptoeing quietly, pretending to scare her. She was always up and smiling.

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