My youngest daughter was two years old the summer she truly discovered popsicles. She was one of those kids who had to have the wrapper entirely removed so she could hold the wooden stick in her hand and let the drips roll down to her elbows, streaking technicolor rivers that would take days to wash off. One particularly hot day as she sat on the kitchen counter enjoying a cherry popsicle, my mother came into the house and grabbed one from the freezer for herself.
"Whew!" she said, unwrapping her own to reveal another cherry one. "It's hot work out there pushing kids on swings!" She poked the end of the popsicle into her mouth and bit the end off.
L's eyes grew as she saw the sheared off tip of the popsicle. She had never seen anyone bite a popsicle before - she and her sister slurped at them until they melted away and turned their tongues rainbow colors.
"Hey," she yelled at my mom, "Your popsicle bites! Mine just sucks."
Yesterday after school L. was in rare form, teasing me at every turn. Every time I put down my pen, she'd snatch it up and put it out of my reach. If I turned away for a second, she would wrap both hands around my water glass and greedily slurp up the remainder of its contents and giggle. Just as I started to cut the tags off of the gift she'd bought for her father's birthday so we could wrap it, she hollered, "STOP! Don't do that yet!!!"
I dropped the scissors and backed away from the gift, "What? What's wrong?"
"Just kidding," she grinned and laughed hysterically, quite pleased with herself.
"You snot, are you like this at school?" I asked, tickling her under the chin.
"I don't want to get in trouble at school!"
"Hmm, but you don't worry about that at home?" I asked, mocking her.
"Nah, I'm always in trouble at home, so I'm used to it," she shrugged and smiled at me.
Last night, E. had a choir concert. She invited as many people as she could think of - neighbors, friends, and her teachers from school. S. left work early to be there on time, her aunt came to listen, and our very best friends were there as well. We filled an entire pew in the church where the concert was held and as the group filed out to take their places on stage, E. looked so pleased to see us all there for her. Just as her group finished their brilliant performance and we were welcomed to take photos of the choir I noticed one more important person sitting a few rows behind us. One of E's first grade teachers had come to see her sing. Mrs. H. was there and as I approached her she shook her head in awe.
"They sound so angelic! They are so young, I can't believe it. Their voices are so wonderful. I am amazed," she echoed every reaction I've had since this choir group began last September. As E. came to find us in the audience, Mrs. H. offered her a bouquet of pink roses and a card from all of her teachers. We were all blown away by this simple act of support. E. floated through the rest of the evening, so proud that one of her teachers had taken time out of her own life to attend a concert for one of her many students and honor her work. This extended family we are building continues to warm my soul every day in more ways than I ever could have imagined. We are truly a community that knows no bounds. What a blessing!