There is a bounce house in our backyard. I paid exactly $249 for it, including set up and delivery, and I feel that I have never spent better money. I rented it for the day on Saturday, but the company delivered it early Friday morning and probably won't fetch it until tomorrow. It hums in my backyard, it's red pillars and stretched yellow sides reflecting the sunshine of this Mother's Day. This morning we all climbed into it and played for an hour or more. The parts of the plastic that were in the sunshine felt warm under my skin.
I rented the bounce house for yesterday. We invited six families who have held us gently for years to come to our house and sit with us in joy and good company while we mused quietly on the ten years that have passed since Charlotte's birth. In my mind, it was a party for her birthday, but there was no cake, song, or even champagne toast. If the rain hadn't poured from the sky for the middle hour, re-distributing the party from driveway and backyard to porch, living, and bedrooms, perhaps we would have toasted. But what we needed was simply friendship, just the company and love of good friends. There were perhaps fifteen children, in my attempt to make this party as fun and effortless as possible I never counted exactly how many people, we just bought ample beer and wine and asked people to bring food to contribute and it was a glorious and ample potluck spread.
I am grateful that I did that, and that we had our friends with us to hold our hands and sit on the porch while it rained and we thought about the ten years that divided us from the space where all was well and good in the world and the now, where something will always be missing and there is always the possibility of loss.
And for now, I'll go and fetch the baby, whose very short nap is over, and I'll take her out to the bounce house and we'll sing "Jump Jim Joe" and bounce around in circles and laugh, her sticky warm mouth on my cheek with big wet kisses.