Is the one where people come and your kids aren't home and, after they hug you, stare out the window, waiting for the ones that are small and fun. It's the kind where they eat your chicken and dumpling soup from Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller's supposedly easier cookbook, and love it more than any other chicken and dumpling soup. It's the kind where the kids go play in Zoe's bedroom, dolls and bears and Beanie Babies, all four of them together, while Erik and I sit in the living room with the in-laws who like my mom and her boyfriend enough to see us every day of their visit. It's the kind where we talk about books and music and politics and no one gets mad. It's the kind where your nephew wants to go running with you every day and talks the whole time, demonstrating he's in awfully good shape. It's the kind where we eat lunches out in Flagstaff even though it's crazy with Homecoming weekend and the dumb Tequila Sunrise tradition where the bars open at 6:00 a.m. and people are demonstratively drunk at 11:00. It's the kind where no one minds waiting Erik in the parking lot by the Skydome where the Homecoming game will be played, while, called in for the emergency, he fixes the computers and cameras for the Homecoming game. It's the kind where my nephew runs with me again and we go to the park and he pushes the Max on the swing AND convinces the kid that it's time to go home without tears. It's the kind where all 8 of us go on a two mile par course run/walk and everyone tries to climb the rope and some, (Lily, Erik) succeed in making it most of the way to the top and where we do chin ups and hurdles and sit ups like we're in the Army. It's the kind where I take all four kids swimming and niece Lily and nephew Cam spend 45 minutes try to convince cousin Zoe to go down the big tube slide at the Aquaplex and finally succeed. It' the kind where Cam can watch Max so I can go down the slide with Zoe. It's the kind where my mom and I stay up late one night talking and the kind where we can just relax and watch TV and not feel like we're not getting enough socializing done. It's the kind where my in-laws invite us over to dinner and make such delicious food and make hosting 8 people look so easy. It's the kind where we see downtown and the Rio de Flag and go enough places that it doesn't feel like winter but we stay home enough that it's cozy like fall. It's the kind where the kids are so good about putting their dishes in the dishwasher and putting Beanie Babies way after sliding them down the banisters. It's the kind where Max pretend-reads Jane Eyre and Cameron reads an essay of mine in a book while sitting on the couch with Erik, watching football. It's the kind where the kids play trains with Max and then just play trains because trains are fun. It's the kind where my mom and Bart go the the grocery store for supplies. The kind where my mom washes the breakfast dishes and Erik the dinner dishes. It's the kind where I can take a 2 hour nap and no one asks where I am, let alone feels "under-hosted." It's the kind of 4 days that when the idea comes up they should stay for one more, all anyone can say is yes, yes yes! It's the kind where Max takes the Bernstein Bears book to my mom and asks her to read it one more time.
Now they're gone it's kind of sad and super busy. I have more company coming on Thursday so I'm doing the laundry and recycling the wine bottles, putting away a couple of the long-long Beanie Babies and sending 900 emails and turning in mid-term grades and making plans for feeding another 8 or so people this coming weekend which will be so fun but won't make me any less sad that the previous visitors have already left.