In the dappled shade Amelia and I walk up and down the streets near our house. We're trying to stay in the shade; it's so hot, but we just have to get outside. She's in her stroller with her bare legs curled up, keeping them in the shade of the stroller hood. She has a gigantic, larger-than-lifesize photographic kitty-pillow that she clutches, faced-out towards passersby. Trippy Kitty's eyes are slightly wild. People look amused as we walk by with the giant, real-looking kitty. Mimi's hair is going in every possible direction. I'm drinking the biggest iced coconut chai you've ever seen. Four p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Bees buzzing the lavender. A guy trimming his spent roses. The baseball game on the radio in a yard. "Mommy?" "Yes, miss?" "Da?" Points at a tattered flag. "Flag!" "Mommy?" "Yes, ma'am." "Da?" Points at a swing in someone's yard. "Swing!" Why are fruit-filled trees so poignant? They almost make me want to cry.
July is dressed up and playing her tune. At the pool, there was no usual whining, no refusal to get further than one centimeter into the water, no running around the pool deck taking other peoples' shoes (while frantically signing "shoes"), no eating soggy popcorn from under the table where someone had a birthday party earlier that day. There was just the three of us, floating dreamily in the middle of the pool near the lane lines. Rare peace at the pool. She pushed her legs out behind her and kicked while Andy pulled her around. I floated on my back, pointing my toes just above the water. It was cold and clear. I tried not to get water in my eyes because it makes my contacts burn like hell. She doesn't mind splashing herself in the face (much), but she doesn't like being splashed by anyone else. What do you do when it's someone's dad dunking his kids and bouncing beach balls off their heads? The teenage lifeguard looked mildly uncomfortable. The kids, naturally, were delighted. All day long she tells them to stop standing on the baby-pool fountain. Now it was their big dad making the thing explode in an enormous plume when he slid his rump off the jet, a (naughty) kid again himself for the day. She didn't have the heart to scold and, in my mind, neither did I. Summer's so short. It's so hot. After an hour of playing with a cup or being carried by her dad through the water visiting the big-kid territories, Amelia came back to the zero-depth area and, by herself, trudged carefully toward the fountain, a frothy stack of water burbling out of the sparkling shallows. Gently, she ran her hands through its spray, soft and aerated, foamy white. She reached further in, held her hands deep in the core of the plume. We resisted the urge to follow her, to show her, to show her something . . . more. It's so hard not to, somehow. So hard to remember just to hang back and watch sometimes. She played there for a long time. I watched her serious face, and tried to memorize the moment. It was the best day we've had at the pool all summer, and when it was time to go I didn't want to go.
Back at home, we're trying to find a rhythm — working, sleeping, cooking, playing. It's been harder than usual lately and I don't know why. I'm often filled with frustration about the weather, wanting to do things outside that it's just been too hot to do (have a picnic on the sunny, scorching flats of Powell Butte, for instance; sit in the dried-up clover above the beach on Sauvie Island and look at the mountain at dusk). Our day ends early because it starts so (incredibly) early, so I often feel that we miss the cooler, quieter evenings. Well, sigh. I'm thinking we should get one of those craft-fair tents and take it everywhere we go. Maybe a portable mister, with a canister I could wear on my back and a misting wand to shoot directly toward my face, or matching umbrella hats. I've got problems.
I saw this vanilla honey iced tea lemonade on Pinterest yesterday and I think I'll make some later.
***Oh, and — her blue dress is Albertine. Have I ever loved a little dress so much? No. I don't think so!!! Sleeves are a bit big — the whole thing's still a little too big — but tooooo cute. Love it!