We had the weekend I was hoping for, and my "no distractions" policy really made a difference. We got to all of Madison's sporting events, and with the exception of some loud complaining Saturday morning when she realized she was going to spend TWO of the next four hours standing around on the sidelines watching her sister play soccer and lacrosse, Ava was very good and gracious about it. We worked in some playground time to make the forced spectating a little easier to take.
She also perfected a system of playing her Leapster under a blanket, to maximize visibility and limit distractions on a day that turned out to be chilly and a little rainy.
After lacrosse practice we ran into a nearby supermarket to pick up some ice cream, and as we were driving home Madison said, "Dad, did you get your tookie on the Precor?"
"What?" I responded.
"Did you get your tookie on the Precor? 'Cause Mom said you couldn't have any more Honey Vanilla ice cream until you got your tookie on the Precor."
I did not, in fact, get my tookie on the Precor, but Madison - who reminded us several times that she had been left "in charge" by Gwen, agreed that I could have a few spoonfuls anyway.
We drove over to see my Grandmother Saturday afternoon, took in an early dinner at one of our favorite places before going bowling. As we sat down and dug into the bread basket, my Grandmother was saying something about feeling out of sorts the previous week.
"My head's in a bag," she said. "I've been doing some stupid things lately."
"Like smoking!" Ava said instantly, without looking up from the focaccia she was dabbing into olive oil on her plate.
The girls had a little argument on the way to soccer yesterday, when Madison asked Ava to give her another one of the cucumber slices she was munching on. Ava had already shared several pieces before we left home, and resisted this additional request. I encouraged her to give her sister one last courtesy, and she finally relented. "Just so you know, Madison," Ava said to cap the moment. "I'm not a fairy godmother!" Madison told me later she thought Ava was "magically vicious," a construction I'd not heard before.
Over the course of the weekend we played games, Play-Doh, read books, watched iCarly and really focused in on each other.
At one point when we were in her room, Madison said, "You know why it's hard without Mom here?"
"Why Maddie," I responded.
"Because I don't get a new bed every morning."
"Well, you know," I said. "You could make your own bed."
"I don't know how," she responded. "Mom does it with a special touch that makes me feel happy."
Gwen returned home mid-afternoon yesterday. And, as great as our weekend together was, I can say - without reservation and on all kinds of levels - we were happy.