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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

when life gives you an "all picked out" sign

My sister and I love each other like chocolate loves peanut butter, but unfortunately our schedules usually don't match up and we don't see each other as much as we'd like.

Or as much as our kids would like. 

Kathryn and I often laugh about our compatibility.  We both have a bordering-on-obsessive need for exercise, we like the same food, have the same sense of humor, the same standards of cleanliness in our space and find it remarkably simple to find the fun in just about everything. 
Kathryn and I could make changing a flat tire fun if we are together.

I think that her daughter Michaela might also be Ella's favorite person.

We made a plan to meet last Friday in Newport to pick apples, so neither of us had to drive all the way to the other's house after school.  We got to the orchard to be told, despite all the visible apples on the trees, that they were picked out.

Some locals pointed us up the road to a corn maze and general autumn-in-Maine themed play yard.  It was perfect, complete with hand pump duck races (above).

As always, we had a blast.
Kathryn got into the competition as well.
Instead of a sand box, there was a corn box.  Maya kept yelling "IT IS CORN!!! NOT SAND!!! CORN!!!!!"
There was even tricycle racing.

How can you beat this kind of fun?

When we went to get back in our cars to say goodbye an extraordinary thing happened.  Ella begged to go home with Michaela.  This was a major deal because she never wants to sleep away from us and especially without her security blanket.  She pleaded with giant eyes that were spilling hope as they met mine.

Kathryn and I worked out a quick deal to exchange her in the morning and off we went- Maya and I northbound and Ella to the south.  What a strange feeling. 

As expected,  Ella struggled at bedtime and called, telling me she wanted to come home.  I was prepared to drive the hour and 20 minutes one way to get her if need be, but I was so proud that she settled down with some soothing talk about the invisible string that connected our hearts.  I told her we didn't need to be in the same space because the string always kept us connected. I gave it a tug and after a couple of tries she felt it.  She tugged on it too and it would have impossible NOT to feel.  The whole phone call, our crying little girl on the other end of the line, tugged at my heart string.

There was also some drawing of hearts on hands on both ends of the phone, a tactic we have always used with Ella to remind her of the "kissing hand" and the notion that we are connected because that heart is infused with each other's love.

Kathryn settled her back to bed and told her stories about us when we were little until Ella said, "It's okay Aunt Kathryn, you can go now." 

I would have gone to get her but what an opportunity it was for her to find solace and comfort in herself and her aunt. 

(Although, I have to say I wasn't thinking that so much the next day when she was an overtired bear.)

The next morning when I picked her up she informed me that she pulled on our heart string many times before she fell asleep just to make sure I was there.

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