It’s very rare that an evening here is relaxing.
Evenings, even summer evenings, in this house are usually filled to the brim. Our four children are each limited to one sport and one activity. Still, that’s eight different places I have to be in a seven day week.
Some nights I rush into the door from work, get supper ready and find myself eating it as a I drive to and fro listening to stories about the kids’ day. It’s not a unique situation, that I know. Nor is it one that I would trade, but every once in a while we find ourselves with a clear schedule.
It’s rare and I take full advantage.
On summer nights like last night, I grill corn on the cob and chicken. The girls make salad. The boys set the table. We eat on the deck, the kids still wet from swimming and me crabby from the heat of the barbecue.
My husband and I argue over who will start a fire in the fire pit. I always win because not only do I start a better fire, but because I always win. I’ll give him that he can swing an axe and cut the wood like no one else, but I start a fire like a fiend.
The kids go on the hunt for the perfect marshmallow stick. I’ve heard you can buy nice fancy metal ones in the stores, but there is no better sound than your child shooting out of the woods waving a sharp twig and proclaiming it the “best stick ever!”
We all huddle around the fire, with marshmallows and lemonade and beer. Alex, the only boy, will do his best to gross out his sisters and they’ll pretend to think he’s the most disgusting thing on the planet. Someone, usually our oldest, will eat enough marshmallows to feel physically ill for a bit. And one child, usually the third one, will fall asleep nestled on my lap so that I have to carry her to bed, smelling like smoke and summer bliss.
Not every night can be like last night was. If they were, they wouldn’t be as special as they are.