Daughter drove in Friday night for Easter weekend.
We had not seen her in more than two months, probably the longest we have ever gone. So Wife and I were anxious for her to get home.
Since our last visit she had a nasty fall which resulted in a sprained ankle. That was a couple of weeks ago and she has reported slow progress. She still has the crutches but is slowly getting rid of them. We made a big to-do over it, of course, as she made it up the back stairs to get in the house.
Wife and I had gotten her a salad from one of her favorite local eateries and sat down on either side of her as she ate. We remarked that this would be her last "visit" home. In two weeks she will graduate and move back in on a semi-permanent basis.
Like her older brother, she is not happy about this. Oh, she has a sense of accomplishment at having completed requirements for a college degree, but -- also like her brother -- she has had an extremely enjoyable four years in college. She has made some friends that she will immensely miss. She is sad about that coming to an end.
Saturday morning I got up and went out to a "berm" we have in the front yard, a little garden area that surrounds a couple of trees. It has been the bane of my existence since we moved into this house ten years ago. I am sure that it was once beautifully landscaped and was a credit to this neighborhood. Now I just fight with it every year to keep the weeds out. The weeds inevitably win.
Anyway, after pulling a few thousand weeds, I went around to the garage to get something and Daughter poked her head through the door and told me she was awake. She explained that since she's been doing her student teaching and getting up so early every week day, it's hard for her to sleep in on weekends.
Rather than going back out to the weed pulling, I went inside to see if Daughter needed anything. She had gone back upstairs and was lying in bed elevating her ankle, as she had been instructed to do. Ralph the Dog jumped up on the bed with her and I sat down in the bright pink chair by her bed.
We talked for about an hour. Unlike her brothers who generally will tell me things on a need-to-know basis, Daughter has always been willing to tell me about her life in great detail. She has loved her student teaching and has great stories about her second-grade students. I hung on every word.
As we began to hear Younger Son stirring across the hall, I got up and told Daughter I would be going back outside. I went to do something and then, as I passed by Younger Son's room, there was Daughter lying beside him in bed. He, of course, was trying to act annoyed but within only a few seconds I could hear him laughing. And naturally I had to go in and join them.
Daughter is four years older than Younger Son and they have always had a special relationship. It was particularly poignant for me to see her lying next to him in bed because, until she was about twelve and he was eight, they slept together. Both sets of grandparents were horrified by this situation at the time. Wife's parents gave Younger Son some type of video contraption one Christmas so he could project images on the ceiling as he went to sleep, with the hope that it would help him separate from his sister at bedtime.
I could have told them what the result of that would be. Typically, Daughter helped Younger Son put together "Bedtime Story Theater" and she incorporated it into their night-time routine.
Wife and I just never got too worked up about the sleeping together thing. It started because Younger Son was afraid of the dark and Daughter, ever his protector, was willing to help him through it.
Also, due to an unforeseen series of events, for a couple of years we found ourselves living in a duplex in which Younger Son really didn't have his own room, but just an over-sized closet off of Daughter's room just big enough for a single bed. As I recall, he never once slept in there.
By the time we moved into our current place, though, they separated. I don't detect any psychological damage to either of them from the years they slept together and Wife and I both still think it was a sweet period of time.
And it was pretty sweet when I saw them lying next to each other Saturday morning, laughing and talking, preserving a special bond.
Makes a dad feel very warm inside (even if he can't control weeds).