Tessa and Millay dancing two_2391

Would you like to dance?

Why, that would be grand!

Shall we, then?

Tessa and Millay dancing three_2397


Tess and Millie on the beach_2432

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My youngest adores his older sisters. Mostly. And, like all “caboose” children, he sometimes finds the girls exasperating, like when they try to tell him his business. Or kiss his face so much he worries his dignity has been permanently compromised. That’s the beauty of getting out of the house. Out of town. Out of the country, even! In a new venue, all that sister love translates into the most miraculous forms of distraction.

On the coast of the Mediterranean: combing the sand for beach glass and rocks to add to a special collection. Brilliant.


Especially if you’re a boy who loves rocks of every kind, and more especially if you’re a boy with a sister who will stay in the sand with you until the tide comes up or the light dies or the world ends, whichever happens first. Having an older sibling of the female variety who loves to hunt for objects both small and beautiful–what a boon!


And older sisters are the perfect people to show off to, aren’t they? So you think you can skip a rock the size of a cell phone all the way to Greece, do you? But whether you can or can’t isn’t the point. The point is that two sisters will watch . . . and watch. And when you decide to downshift to smaller rocks (for the sake of the beach, of course, since we wouldn’t want to empty it of all cell-phone-size rocks, now would we?) and surprise!–the little ones SKIP!–it’s the big sisters who holler and cheer like you’ve just been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.


Will the world ever be as easy to conquer as it was the day your teenage sisters made you feel like The Master of Costa Brava? Hooray for them for all the times they hugged you so tight they nearly squeezed the life out of you. Their devotion will come in mighty handy someday, when the presence in your life of two good women may likewise attract the presence of others.


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For my birthday this last week, we headed up north, to the famed Costa Brava.  Tossa del Mar was the first town we landed in, and I’m fairly sure it’s not real.  That is, I believe we stumbled into a parallel universe, where, having been professionally photoshopped and airbrushed for the out-of-towners who wander through, everything(!) is made to seem improbably lovely.

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Example.  I’ve never found so much beach glass on one beach.  Did the prime movers of this parallel universe know that I love beach glass almost more than life itself?–the only thing registering higher on my love-o-meter being the search for beach glass alongside my children?  I think I could move to Tossa del Mar, park myself and my kids on the beach, and stage a massive Beach Glass Hunt that goes on for, oh, a year or so.


Were we to set up shop here, Silas might want to take over the castle, just to keep things interesting in this seaside parallel-o-verse. He loves climbing around through the ruins. He could be the lord of the cliffs.

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And naturally I would have to retain whoever baked the chocolate mousse cake pictured here, a slice of which the girls and I enjoyed at a cafe so charming it could only exist–you’ve got it–in a parallel you-know-what. After all, even in otherworldly places, gals require calories.

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The afternoon felt like a moment from someone else’s life.  Maybe I was channeling the original mistress of the castle, in which case all that I surveyed was (for the time being) mine!


Or maybe Millie had it right: just take it all in. And smile. And hope to come back soon.

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