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Saturday afternoon one of my facebook friends posted something about a super giant full moon. I immediately, and without reading more about it -- a point which will become important later on -- seized upon this astronomical happening as a chance to make a memory for my children, perhaps one on par with the night in 1986 when my mom woke us all up and let us look for Halley's Comet. (We might have actually seen it, a speck on the far horizon.)

"There's going to be a really big full moon tonight," I announced at around 5:30. "So I was thinking --"

"I know! I know! Oh my gosh!" Mallory shouted, already filled with glee. "I know, Mommy, we should take a blanket outside and lay down on the grass and look up at the stars! That's even called something, what's it called?"

"Stargazing?" I suggested.

"Yeeeah! Oh wow, oh my gosh! Phoebe did you hear? Where's Daddy? No, wait!" Mallory grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and wrote:

You are invited to the stargazing excitement. When: 8:00 - 10:00. We are going to spread out a blanket and see the huge moon and stars! See you there! -- Mallory

Next Phoebe suggested eating ice cream while looking at the moon, which seemed reasonable enough. Mallory decided to invite Auntie Mimi over, who said she would come and bring her new puppy. "This is the best night of my life!" Mallory kept declaring.

We all went outside around sundown; the girls raced around the yard with Indi, the puppy, while I wondered vaguely where the moon was. If it was so huge, why couldn't we see it? Finally I suggested moving to the front yard, where there are fewer trees. "Isn't this fun?" Mallory said, laying on the blanket with an ice cream sandwich in her hand. There was still, disturbingly, no moon. I went and checked my friend's facebook link, this time reading more than just the headline, and discovered that the moon would appear huge whilst on the horizon. Well. Not only can you not really see the horizon from my house -- hills, trees -- it was already totally dark, so I guessed that we had missed the moonrise. "Maybe we should drive around and see?" Amy suggested.

"A drive? A moonlight drive?" Phoebe said, hopping up and down. "With Indi and Mimi in the car? Can you believe it, Mallory?"

So in the car we went, and after passing the slight curve in our road we saw it -- the moon, already risen and not looking all that much bigger than any other night. Look, here it is:

Still, I pulled over and parked and let the girls look. "Can we stay here all night?" Phoebe asked. "Can we sleep here?" Mallory asked.

Sometimes you don't have to do everything right to make a good memory.

On the other hand...

The next morning I announced it was clean-up-their-bedroom day. "I need you to help me pick up all the Barbie dolls on the floor," I said, "because I'm going to move the bed a little bit so I can vacuum underneath."

"Mommy's moving the bed!" Phoebe exclaimed.

Mallory flapped her arms, a gesture of excitement. "First stargazing and now you're moving the bed! This is the best day ever!"

The excitement continued as we uncovered doll clothes and books and dusty stuffed animals and all manner of forgotten treasures. I'd shoved the bed into the middle of the room and the girls were fascinated by the unaccustomed space on the left side. "Let's leave it like this!" Mallory said. "It's so much nicer this way!"

"Yeah, I love the bed in the middle!" Phoebe said. "Because look, now it's only two steps to the bookcase instead of, like, six or something. And you know Mommy, sometimes I get so tired at night and I want a book but it's too far, but if we leave the bed like this I can just hop right over!"

"We can't leave the bed like this," I said. "Look, the ceiling fan is directly over the top bunk. Every time Mallory sat up she'd bonk her head on the fan."

"But our room has been the same way forever and it's so boring," Mallory moaned.

"Well let's try to figure something else out," I said, because I like rearranging too. Unfortunately I didn't really think the whole thing through. I shoved the bed around a different way, and the girls loved it, even though it kind of blocked the window, but I could live with that, and the girls were exclaiming about how much more room they had to play and how awesome it was when I realized --

"This isn't going to work either," I said. "Look, the ceiling fan is right above the ladder to the bed. It's not safe."

"But Mommy!" the girls cried, and Mallory said, "Just leave the fan off! Or write me a note on my pillow every night to remind me about the fan! I'll be careful, I won't bump my head!"

"This just won't work," I said, "I'm sorry," and then Chris came to see what all the commotion was about, and confirmed that the combination of small room + bunk bed + ceiling fan = only one workable configuration of furniture.

"But we're the boss of our room!" Mallory said. "We don't tell you how to arrange your furniture!"

"This is about safety," I said.

"I don't care! What about moving the bed there," Mallory said, pointing to the opposite wall.

"If you move the bed there, you wouldn't be able to get into the closet," Chris pointed out.

"I don't care! We never go in the closet anyway!" Phoebe said.

Oh, the lamentations. We were the meanest parents ever, for not allowing them to rearrange their room. We were cruel and heartless, for putting the bed back where it was before. "You are being horrible to your youngest child," Mallory informed us, when we giggled a bit at the expression of woe on Phoebe's face.

So that was our weekend -- the dizzying highs of moongazing, the terrible lows of thwarted redecorating. After a few hours went by, both experiences seem to have been forgotten, by the children, at least.


aimee said…
We saw the moon! We were driving on I-40, which has to be on the flattest stretch of land ever so we saw it big. It was beautiful but the boys weren't all that impressed. K wish we had your girls there to be excited with Seth and me. :)
aimee said…
I not K

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