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“Life takes you to unexpected places but love brings you home.” Been apart from Tegan and Chase for 6 weeks! SIX WEEKS. When Tegan said she really missed me I said oh I know this is the longest we’ve been apart! She responded “no, Ashley- seven years! We used to go to sleep at night not knowing what it was we were missing.”

I had missed Mother’s Day, which I acted like I didn’t mind at all, but I had to hold the phone away from my face when I started bawling because Tegan had called to say, “Happy Mother’s Day Ashley. I’m sorry that you can’t go to brunch with me.”  I thought that was just so cute.  She sent me a small stuffed Totoro in the mail.

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When I got home, the child jacked my hoodie immediately. Now I just keep freezing.

Her pretty blue-metal eyes flashed in the sunlight from the living room windows behind me as happiness beamed from her face and she ran into my arms.
I thought she had just gotten to be too big to carry, but she sailed around my body like a bag of feathers and we spun around and around, and I said “Hiiiii!”
She spoke into my ear, “I don’t want this hug to end!”

I love her so much!!!! Last night, after dinner and she was ready to get in bed, she came up to me and her Dad watching a movie on the couch.

T:    “Daddy? Um, no! Ashley! Can you come to my room with me,           notforhelpwithanythingoranyreasonbutlikejust to hang out?”
Me:   What… “Um, sure Tegan, okay! Make sure you’re totally ready for bed, first.”
T:       “Ok!” She skips out of the living room down the short hallway.

I crawl into her bed, realize how sleepy I am, and think how this will be super easy, since Tegan’s preference is for someone falls asleep, so that then she has them around longer.

“Did you brush your teeth?”
She’s happy that I’ve shown up.
“Nnmmm… Yep! (Earlier she had brushed her teeth in the shower. I remembered that I knew this, because I’d heard her shouting, “DADDY!!” “DADDY!!” “Bring me the toothpaste and my toothbrush?”)
“Okay!” I say, snuggling into the pillows. “Let’s watch Sarah & Duck.”

I turned up the volume and Tegan jumped on it, moving my fingers out of the way with her tiny fingers, quickly pressing down the volume. She whispered about her protocols, knowing that she could watch videos in bed while she was supposed to be in bed sleeping, as long as Daddy didn’t hear! If caught, she would be told to turn it off with his expressed disapproval, she might even actually be in trouble, but statistically she knew that that was unlikely. And she had made assessments. She seemed to know exactly which volume level was loudest and most undetectable. I noticed the captions were on as well!

It’s cute and ridiculous when those two are living together, as things like this happen a lot less while I am here, and Chase says things like, “When the Cat’s Away the Mice Will Eat IHOP.” But it’s simply because I’m generally quite present, and a set of adults is always easier to maintain than when it’s a single adult.
“It’s cool, Tegan.” and I click the button up a couple times. I stop at a volume that is still an appropriate night-time in bed low, but not covert.

Sarah & Duck is a too-cute cartoon from the BBC. The narrator is a man who obviously responsible for watching these two, is also only a voice, cheering on, offering light-hearted but wise guidance, and “making sure everyone is alright!” He also compliments Duck. Then some of the objects, always a surprise but never a shock to Sarah, come alive as characters, making cameo appearances throughout the series. I probably giggle each time the story passes the Shallots planted in front of the walkway near the front door, as they bounce and say jolly hello’s and goodbye’s.

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There must be a bus driver, but there is only one other adult human character that lives in their town aside from the verbal yet taciturn shop keepers behind their counters, an old lady that is equally content to lend assistance or mind her own business as the occasion seems fit, and her name is the Scarf Lady. Her home is grandmotherly and knit-filled and her life is of functional, almost-magical in their practicality yarn handicrafts, and her companion is her bag that generally acts just as an old-man husband would. Loving her through his constant company and the underlay of care he occupies over her and their well-being, and when she asks aloud what it was that that the children had just said, she mishears the original words anew each time as he shouts their answer several times over, each with an increased frustration. There is also an elderly black woman that walks with a walker, and we see her pushing it along the street when Sarah & Duck have ventured into a bigger part of the town. I imagine I must have one time or another seen a bus driver as well, and maybe not, but the point is that adult human characters are overtly minimum.

“Sarah is a 7-year-old girl with big eyes and a green hat. She lives with her best friend, a quacky, slightly manic fowl appropriately named Duck. Each episode features the pair setting out on simple but exciting adventures as they explore the world in their own imaginative way. The animated series focuses on the experiences of childhood as seen through Sarah’s eyes as she learns new things every day. The show’s objectives are to help kids learn about friendship, imagination and problem solving.”

It’s a quiet, adorable, calm, cute, and responsible cartoon that could relax the crap out of anyone, or truly bore them. But Tegan and I are the happy campers of the target demographic, adults and toddlers that cry when they see something adorable.
Each episode is about ten minutes and one segment holds three, I fell asleep just as the third one began and stirred awake to the end credits.

“I love you.” Tegan told me. She snuggled into her pillow and said something else, like “goodnight Ashley!” but, I had just noticed that I had drooled all over the back of my hand.
“Goodnight, Tegan, I love you too!” I rolled away to fall back asleep. That was sweet, I thought. It was the most cheerful, genuine, and cutest way I’d ever heard her say I love you. The small parts of my brain that process sound, emotion, communication, and memory all fluttered. It’s a child’s love. Innocent and true.

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