I had visions of a sushi dinner as I battled traffic home this afternoon. Those dreams were thwarted by something called a Book Fair. “It’s in the library and it ends at 6:30, dad,” Madison said before I could tear off my work clothes. “Oh, yeah?” I said. “Yeah, dad,” she said. My visions of sushi were illusory.

123“You guys have to take your slippers off when we get to the library,” Madison said. “What?” I said. “They take their shoes off when they go to the library,” Lynnette said. “Why would-” I started before Madison cut me off. “I’m guessing you guys wear shoes in the library,” she said. It wasn’t quite sarcasm. It was something else. Like pre-sarcasm. Oh, God.

We let Cole and Avery roam free in the library and in what would have been the biggest upset of the day if not for the UConn women’s basketball team’s loss, neither of them grabbed books off the shelves or tables. I think they were too happy with their autonomy.

After Madison scooped a few books we headed outside to hit up the playgrounds meant for the tiniest children at Madison’s school. We know they’re meant for only the youngest students because Madison routinely tells us she’s no longer allowed to play on those sets. Both Cole and Avery used the slide themselves. Cole had a rough go of it the first time, though. It was the fastest slide he’s ever been on and he bounced his head off the side of the slide. He ate it up, though. Atta kid now buddy thata boy now kid budday!

As usual, Avery found some sticks on the ground and made sure she had one for each hand. The scene plays out the same way every single time. She picks up twigs and starts roaming the playground with them. Once Lynnette or I notice, we try to call her over. As soon as she hears her name, she runs off in the other direction so as to gnaw on her beloved debris in peace. “That’s great, Phil,” Lynnette said as I snapped this picture.

Madison stepped up for big sister time and got her own play time in, too. She popped up to the top of one of the structures and called my attention to her. “Wait!” I said as I slowly walked over. I thought she was all good. I wanted to take a picture of her and since I believed she was all good, I wasn’t in any kind of rush. “Hurry up, dad!” she said in a whisper-yell. I looked up at her face and she had a fake smile on. She was still worried about her height. Sigh. That fateful day at Manoa lives on.

45Too lazy to drive beyond Mauka, we drove to McDonald’s for dinner. I wish I had snapped a picture (I had Grand Mac hands when I noticed) of the five of us gathered around the table. We can never really do that at home because one side of the table is flush against the wall. It really was a sight – Cole to my right, Madison on the other side, Avery adjacent to her with Lynnette right next to the Gravy Boat. Family. Burgers.Fries. Coke. It really was picturesque, even if it wasn’t sushi.

I can’t remember if Cole and/or Avery had ever had McDonald’s ice cream before, but if today was indeed their first time, then it was a success. Cole loves McDonald’s almost as much as Madison at this point. He kept going back and forth between fries, nuggets, and ice cream like it wasn’t no thang (a la his Uncle Matty). Avery ate everything presented to her. When Lynnette stopped presenting food to her, she lowered her head and began to grind away at the plastic placemat taped to the table. She is relentless.

We started a bigger-than-minor-but-not-quite-major furniture rearrangement project when we got home and didn’t finish until after 9. It was a pretty solid Friday, even if my sushi fantasy didn’t come true. I mean, there’s still Saturday and Sunday and I wear share the pants in the family.


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