I'd say I was romanticizing except the water still tastes like crap. If I remember correctly the journal entry on day one of the London house hunting 2008 trip read something like: It smells horrible and the water tastes like crap. Ah how times and hearts change.
All jetlag aside there are is permagrin on at least 4 faces as we disembark at Heathrow. "THIS is my FAVORITE airport in the WORLD!" Middlest exclaims. I love that he has been to enough worldwide airports that this does not seem like an outrageous statement. I love even more that Wanderer's reply is, "So far..."
Cigarettes, factory smoke, and freshly mown grass. That is how London smells. I fill my lungs and let out a long sigh. "Home. It smells like home." "It is," Wanderer says. "One of 'em anyway."
Their favorite (or is it favourite?) playground, Peter Pan Park --aka the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground--is less than a 5 minute walk away, but they have commandeered a willow tree. Branches that bend all the way to the ground. Providing shelter, transportation, and of course--weaponry. It's a cave. Or a ship? I can't tell. I know that there are swords and a secret language. English accents (hilarious). Robots, and I've heard the word "bad guy" several times--the English version "baddie" never having been incorporated into the boy's lexicon.
It's pure magic to watch them. Lost, as they were yesterday as well, in a world that defies boundaries. It apparently defies arguments as well. Most days 2:30 pm has seen me break up about a gazillion of these. Physical and verbal. Today I've only heard one. One that they worked out without intervention. All the while including and looking after Littlest. What in the world?
How is this possible? I'd say it was the glory of summer vacation except school ended a over a week ago and last week found me counting down the seconds til school started again. I know it's not the food. Not only has everything been the stereotypical British bland, but Middlest's eczema is flaring and Biggest's sound effects are constant--a sure sign of too much gluten and dairy after only 3 days.
Maybe it's the same air that makes my hair awesome. Seriously. I haven't washed it for days and yet somehow the jetlagged bedhead helps. My hair freakin' loves London.
Whatever it is, I'll take it. This crazy concoction that infuses every moment with magic and as Biggest pointed out yesterday evening, makes the boys "the best behaved we've maybe ever been in our whole lives!"
Grass stained covered shorts, honey-sticky shirts, and a toddler so sleepy he looks as though he might start hallucinating any moment. Any happy moment.
Yesterday we did The Museum of Natural History, Kensington Garden deck chairs, half an hour at Peter Pan Park then Mexican food at Wahaca in Covent Garden. Which cracks me up. Arguably, Denver, where we live for the moment, is one of the best Mexican food cities North of the border of Mexico. London of course being one of the worst. But for nostalgia's sake it had to be Covent Garden Mexican food.
Today was supposed to be the Science Museum, Kensington Palace, Peter Pan Park, and a picnic with Dad. Instead we are following the supreme rule of travel with children (or perhaps just of travel, period): Roll with it. When one finds the perfect tree under which to adventure one MUST NOT pass it by. Plans be damned. Even Littlest seems to understand this. He's not too fussed with the tree, but the un-mown tufts of grass beneath? Little boy perfection. Littlest loves this English park feature of leaving grass long so much that he keeps bending down to touch it and exclaiming, "It mine grass, Mommy!"
And maybe it is. Maybe that's the magic. That here in this far away but so close to our hearts land there is something "mine" all around.
Our hearts perhaps?