Last Saturday night, I watched my nieces, Victoria and Kathryn, while Sissy and Randy went to a dinner at their church. I spent the night at their house (for the third night that week), and before I left the next morning, I wrote this:
I put on yesterday's clothes. And I put on yesterday's socks, but they were yesterday's socks yesterday. They're all stretched out in the heel and toe, lint clinging inside and out. I unwad them and put them on my feet and set out to find my shoes.
Walking across the living room rug in my sock-feet reminds me that these socks have got to be washed soon. It feels like when I was a kid, sleeping over at a friend's and I've been there for a week, and the morning my mom comes to get me finds me in the same clothes I'd been recycling -- play clothes, pajamas, whatever. And a lot like those friend's-house mornings, I can't find my shoes. I'm looking under couches, under the futon I just made up, behind recliners until I remember Dr. Seuss.
We had a "book party" in Kathryn's room last night -- a regular Seuss marathon. I read Green Eggs and Ham, which I don't think I've ever really read before, and The Cat in the Hat. Victoria joined us on the alphabet rug and got in on the action by reading us the sequel to the Hat Cat's adventures.
It was beautiful.
Kathryn, three, listening with rapturous joy as her sister, twelve, reads her a book. Victoria -- who used to hate to read and still stumbles over some of the Doctor's rhymes, rightfully so -- is volunteering to read with enthusiasm. She hands me the pages with red background because, somehow, that trips her up. But together, reading, listening, looking at the whimsical illustrations, we manage to finish all three books. And with the vigor of the Little Cats and Voooom!, we "clean up" Kathryn's room and retire to the living room for a dose of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies and television. When Sissy and Randy return, it appears that we hadn't experienced the simple joy of reading at all, but rather that we are certified Couch Potatoes.
But this morning, the whole family of them has gone to church, and I'm about to leave, except I can't find my shoes. Until I remember our book party, as Kathryn called it. So I went into her room, still and strewn with Pinkness. In front of the miniature kitchen, I find, in this room of little pink things, my shoes -- big and brown and looking as foreign and as wild as Thing One and Thing Two.