Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Brianna's game

Brianna's game, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Sunday we invited Annabel's former babysitter and her family over for lunch.

The transition from old sitter to new sitter has gone smoothly but I wouldn't say it's been easy. Each meeting - or playdate as we call them - with Lori has been harder than the last. Can't help but understand. As adults, we might see people who we love on rare occasions, and it brings us joy. Our lives may change and we still make an effort to connect. But with Annabel we’ve felt the need to employ an “out of sight, out of mind” strategy just to get through the day-to-day.

But we can’t go on avoiding forever. In real life people who love you don’t just go away, never to be seen again.

And yet, it's been a while since Annabel has seen her old friends. Christmas, it turns out, was our last meeting.

We tried to rewind.

She crawled all over the girls, who have grown in the past four years from wee things themselves to high school and college age. She took them by the hand to show them her new big-girl room and her toys. She played with the Playdoh aquarium Lori brought with her from home, complete with Dayglow dough.

Lori, her other mother. The girls, for all intents and purposes, her big sisters.

Over stage whispers and giggles, Annabel and Brianna organized a puppet show after the steak sandwiches were consumed and the dishes were cleared from the table.

We couldn't help but laugh.

Brianna's Purple monster was a menace: silently eating smaller puppets and knocking larger ones from the ledge of the theater. Its only sound was a deep, maniacal laugh.


Didn't matter how many times that purple monster ate the sheep or tossed the other puppets to the floor, as long as she was "laughing" we were laughing, too.

Of course three hours come and goes like three minutes.

Annabel cried when they left. We were all sad to see them go. For an hour afterward we played "Brianna's game" - in which we take turns describing and guessing animals - to take her mind off the sadness.

Can't rewind.

"It's really heartbreaking in a way, isn't it?" my mom asked when she called later to see how things went. "They really are like sisters to her aren't they?"

"Well with a couple glaring exceptions; they don't pull each other's hair or steal each other's clothes."

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