We're driving home from the pool, girls already fed, showered, in pajamas. The late afternoon June sun sits over the flatirons, and "Sound of Music" plays as Julia and I sing along. "So, Mom?" she asks, a seriousness in her voice. "After they get chased by the bad guys, do the Von Trapps get to live happily ever after?" The song ends; Margaret insists that we hear it again.
Margaret brings me a toddler- sized costume. "Anna. On." I help her into the costume, and she runs to Julia, who is dressed as Elsa. Margaret spins and giggles, and Julia directs her.
We are discussing Julia's 5th birthday party: Peter Pan theme, in the back yard, Tinkerbell costumes encouraged. When I ask what kind of cake she wants, Julia tells me that she thinks we should have vanilla, because Margaret is too little for chocolate.
After last summer's challenges, and frankly, the challenges of having two children for the past 18 months, I was dreading this summer a bit. What would it be like to have so much unstructured time? Would Julia like the camps I had signed her up for? Would it just be endless days of her being upset with Margaret? I have been pleasantly surprised so far. Julia loves camp. Our days have a nice rhythm. There are certainly moments every day where I'm frustrated, but more and more, I there are moments when I find myself happy. Yes, actually happy---and happy when I'm with both girls. Happy to see them beginning to play together, happy to swim together, happy to see how much joy Margaret feels when she sees Julia, happy to catch glimpses of what it might be like in the future to have two daughters.
Shortly after Margaret was born, I asked a dear friend who also had two daughters when it got easier. I remember her telling me that 18 months was a magical age. That seems to be true for us.