The homecoming was almost effortless despite having involved a seven-hour round-trip commute.
She threw herself into my arms and banged heads with her brother, who was already clinging in my embrace like a monkey. She didn't seem put out that she couldn't have a hug that was entirely her own.
She just wanted to go home. She wanted to see her house and her toys. She missed her good old friend The Moose Channel; and practically salivated at the memory of her father explaining TV ON DEMAND. Although she didn't believe me when I told her I didn't know how to get "Max and Ruby" at midnight, she accepted the fact that I wouldn't even try.
She was so tired she practically fell asleep in the single flight of stairs.
The boy was tired, too.
In the morning she asked to have "some alone time," which meant she wanted to play with her toys without having to protect them from her brother's grabby fists.
I told her I could only occupy him for about 20 minutes before he'd want to play with her.
I ran water into the BIG tub.
I only had to occupy him for three minutes ... long enough for the lure of boiling jets to call her back upstairs, where they pretended to be pirates setting sail in a wooden salad boat.
On this morning there is nothing more satisfying than a tiny salad bowl filled with imagination.