Did you even know about toddler DJs? This guy went from “La La La It’s Elmo Time” to “The Electric Slide” to the Wiggles’ “Do the Monkey.” He threw in hip-hop and go-go between cartoon hits and the Mickey Mouse Club theme song. A bunch of the four- and five-year old boys were break-dancing and the toddlers were doing their patented jump-and-clap dancing and when he said, “now put your hands in the air and SCREAM!!,” well, those daycare kids can rival a stadium concert crowd. They hold their own.
(How do you think the Office of the General Counsel up on 3 felt about this happening under their windows? I don’t know.)
L stuffed her face and then had it painted as a blue kitty cat and then got a sun tattoo on one arm and a butterfly on the other. E had her face painted as a purple mermaid and then got a butterfly tattoo on one arm, a flower on the other, a surfer on one forearm and something else on the other, a third tattoo on the left arm, something on her left leg, a ridiculously big image of the grim reaper on her right calf [Can I, Mama? S’s mommy said she can’t have that one. “It’s your party, love.” Yippee!! Cool!! When did this kid get big enough to start using the word ‘cool?’] and a similarly large tribal circle around her belly button, which brought on the flashing. Soon lots of kids had decorated bellies and uplifted shirts and then it was nearly 1pm and the gray skies couldn’t hold it anymore and the rains came crashing down and the party moved hastily inside and L went off for a late nap and E realized she’d been so busy partying, she never ate lunch.
So many students left early today with their parents who had come for lunch. So many students said goodbye forever. They start various kindergartens and pre-Ks and university pre-schools on Monday, when summer ends and The School Year begins. So many hugs and goodbyes and tears and squeezes and farewells and while kid after kid came to E to say goodbye, I tried to sit quietly in a corner of the table with her while she ate her cheese. We observed the chaos and passed food between purple mermaid lips and maybe I slipped away from her for a few moments to say hi to the airbrush guy who had moved indoors to get a few pretty stars to dance up my forearm [check my credit card statement: if the tuition bill has anything to do with it, it’s my party, too].
I had to return to my office. I peeked in on a sleeping L and kissed my mermaid E and walked back, thinking about time: how fast a summer goes, how E has been at that center since before she could roll over and sit up, how one day it’ll be her leaving for kindergarten, then her sister, then the third sibling. How I’ll come year after year to this happy playground and celebrate the end of summer and the passage of time, and how grateful I am that the years of their small ages are so joyous and filled with love and spent just steps away from me.
There are moments, moments when the confluence of friends, work, family - three things I love - makes the happiness almost too much to bear. There are moments when the music is bumping and your younger one hugs your leg that way she does, tucks herself into your stance, moments when you stand and sway so she is dancing with you, moments when you eat your barbecue joint mac and cheese over her head and feed the best bits of it to her, even as she wipes blue face paint all over your brown linen pants, moments when you offer food to your older one but she waves you away, she can't be bothered because there's still paint in that airbrush, moments you file away and save for later. Moments you keep, so that a little bit of summer goes on forever.