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  • Patchwork blue and pink against the lush green of the grass and on it, we were the perfect family, with three dogs strategically sitting around the us, like knights or pawns or bishops or checker pieces just waiting for the right time, the right moment, to make their move and sneak a nibble of pizza from a distracted toddler's hand.

    Not that she cared about the pizza, really. Our impromptu picnic in the backyard was more about being outside and enjoying the sunshine and gorgeous weather and being together. Being together, I’m finding, is so important to her --- we need to be in the same room (being in the same house isn't enough), in the same car (difficult when we're meeting and parting), and when we're outside, we need to be on the patio together, on the grass together, or (if we're having an impromptu picnic) on the same quilt together.

    With both of us next to her, she is -- in her mind -- invincible. She can jump high and fall with nothing more than a laugh and a firecracker string of an explanation about why falling is fun and we should do it more often. Surrounded by the defenses of the Constant Two, she sees the world in a whole new way, constructs meaning in ways she can't (or won't?) when it's just me, just him. And, to be honest, it's just more fun with two pair of adoring eyes watching her enjoy herself.

    And why is it kids get to savor life like they do? It must be that whole new-experience-all-day-everyday thing. She had pulled a section of tangelo off and bit into it: jewel-colored juice dribbling out of her mouth, down her chin, across her fingers, down her arms, dripping off her elbows and she was just basking in the sensation of pure, unadulterated joy that was that second, that moment.

    Of course, there was no camera nearby -- there never is when I have slivers of heart break off because she is so perfect, so evanescent.

    How I helped make this little creature of light is beyond me, but whatever I did, I did right.
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