These are my girls, from tallest to smallest, Sierra, Mariah and Savannah. Aren't they pretty?
Actually, these were my girls about 14 years ago. Some of you who remember them coming in to the store might think that they still look like this, but they don't. Like I say, this was about 14 years ago, but certainly doesn't seem like it.
I did a lot of babysitting and a lot of picking them up and taking them places when they were that age. They liked to come to my house for sleepovers on weekends, too. During one of those sleepover weekends we came up with a brilliant game that will go down in history, well our history anyway. We had been to the grocery store and bought, along with cereal and cookies, giant bouncy balls - the kind that they keep in big cages and you have to pull them through the holes at the bottom. They're fantastic. We went from the store to a park where we sat in the grass to play, and then came a burst of creative genius, the kind only children can have. We had three balls and four players. We sat in a circle, and those with a ball threw it to the person without a ball. Lots of passing, back and forth, slowly at first and one at a time in a constant rotation, and then faster and faster until that one person was pummeled with three flying balls, and then screams and fits of giggles and running to get the balls back again. It was really fun.
We played the ball game a lot over the following years. There were times, of course, with all of those flying balls, that someone would get hit in the head. It didn't hurt, but girls being girls, it usually brought on some dramatic overreaction. So I laid down a ground rule - No crying. You can cry only if you're bleeding, broken or swelling. OK? OK. We started playing again. Savannah got hit, and her little face screwed up and a whiny sound started up, and then she looked at me, and I was looking at her, and she said, "I'm swelling." More fits of giggles.
Those girls were so much fun. It's strange, somehow over the years they got older than me. They've outgrown the ball game, and the swimming pool, and cuddling on the couch to watch movies, and all sorts of things. But I haven't. How did that happen? I don't know, but I suppose it was inevitable. I think, though, that the next time Sierra is home from school we're going to the store for balls, and I'm going to insist that they play the ball game with me. And it'll still be fun. Oh, and the no crying rule still applies.