I hear the brood come home. Because they've been gone for almost two hours, I have no choice but to go out and make sure nothing horrific has happened to them during that span—even though, yes, Top Management and I have texted several times in the interim.
We chat as I move the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer and I hear of the dire consequences the Golden Weasel suffered due to forgetting The Store Rule ("no running")—a bumped head and much embarrassment and grumpy contrition.
Top Management goes off to get lunch for the ever-starving chicklings and I go back in the office. I shut the door, sit down and actually gasp in astonishment as the present waiting for me on the keyboard, the same kind of present that would sometimes be waiting for me when I got back from class in college.
She loves me. She really loves me. And I have the proof.
It doesn't happen often, but whenever my just-turned-four-year-old does complain about naptime—which starts off, generally, with him lying on a bed, under a quilt, in a quiet room, cuddling with Top Management—I always think the exact same thing, every single time: that, right there, is proof positive that the male of the species has something very, very wrong with it.
So we've got a New Year's Eve tradition in this here household. Since we've lived in SoCal, we've not only let the girls stay up (if they can) until midnight, but the past several years we've picked a classic film to enjoy as we await the countdown. We take stories pretty serious around here; we rarely just channelsurf and let them see something great starting in the middle. So some thought goes into our New Year's Eve selections. These are, generally speaking, movies that they've just become old enough to watch—The Princess Bride was the first, I think, years ago, Raiders of the Lost Ark another, Back to the Future a third, and so on.
Although 2012 is almost certainly the best year I've ever had, the last few weeks have been difficult ones, for various and not terribly-uncommonplace if not terribly pleasant reasons. Some things fell by the wayside, one of which was the careful selection of the New Year's Eve film.
Around about noon I started doing some investigating. Our first three choices were all checked out at the library—as in, the dozen plus copies of each were all checked out from the entire system. Redbox had a few decent choices, but nothing that really felt right, and there was nothing that quite fit the bill on television. We thought about various options when my eye happened upon a boxset Top Management's father had given me a few years earlier.
"Hey..." I said. "What do you think about Monty Python and the Holy Grail?"
Top Management's eyes lit up. We had actually found ourselves watching it just a few months earlier, for the I don't even know how manyth time. Max had already seen it at least once and I think maybe parts of it twice. And yet the idea of cuddling up on the couch with our girls and watching it again was intoxicating.
"But...do you think the Bean's old enough?" she asked.
Although she'll be (kill me now) 12 in just a few weeks and, like most of Top Management's offspring, unusually bright, the Bean is, in many ways, like most of Top Management's offspring, young for her age. And yet in the past year she's been showing signs that her sense of humor is developing in unforeseen ways.
So we gave it a try. Initially intrigued but perplexed by the credits, she and the Rose were laughing by the end of them. Ten minutes in, I look over and I see all four of my oldest girls howling during the Black Knight scene. And I realized I had very rarely been so happy in my entire life, and that ain't a bad way for a year to go out.