Saturday, October 12, 2002

Friday night is family night. It began in the spring of '95, the last millennia. I would bathe William and Alex, put them in pajamas and set them in their seats with juice and a snack. From our home we'd head to Geoff's office and tell him to "jump aboard." Our car was a ship, sailing through our flooded city. We could navigate all the way to Hawaii, or by river to Wisconsin, Disneyland or a cabin in the mountains. Along our uncharted course, Geoff and I looked out for a home to buy. The boys munched and sipped and snuggled in to their blankets, as the sun set on our cruise.

Family night is sacred. We play games like telephone or charades, or see a movie. Once we made pasta and cut it by hand, hanging the ghostly worms on the laundry rack. We've counted bats while chalk drawing in the driveway, and we've walked to the beach and swirled our hands in bio-luminescent water. Family night is rarely anything elaborate, but it's almost always fun.

Sometimes family night is like a barometer; after a long week, with too much to do, we sometimes feel utterly uninspired. When this happens Geoff and I are reminded that we need to resume our pursuit of balanced, calmer lives. I am not sure I believe children need every moment to revolve around them, but they do deserve time when they don't come in second to phone calls, paper work or errands.

Last night we chased each other around the yard, through the gates, down the pasture. We had dinner in the kitchen, and made up songs about Super Smellers, and we devised Super Smeller tests. Are you a Super Smeller? Then we went in to the pool. The air is cold, but due to the warm days and the pool cover, the water is 82 degrees; not bad. It was our first swim in 2 weeks. I'll really miss it when we have much cooler weather. But even without our pool, we'll still have family night. We will have Christmas light drives, and Scrabble games, or we will sit by the fire designing new video games. And as Alex and Max remind us, "It's night. And we are together, so it is 'flamly' night;" we don't always have to wait until Friday.

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