My fingers are stained red from a too-short spoon used to stir a vat of kool-aid saturated with sugar, the southern way of course. My clothing is covered in orange fingerprints, proof of hugs from kids covered in cheeseball remnants. My belly is full from an icee pop eating contest that I, of course, lost in a blaze of glory. My shoulders are sore from hundreds of hugs and kids climbing on me. And my car, like my heart, is full of little children who for the first time all night are sitting peacefully.
The back seat has six pairs of little legs sticking straight out from the bench, some barely making it to the end. Each child is covered in a mixture of red koolaid, dirt and sand, chalk, cheeseballs, freeze cups and ketchup and mustard. It was hot dog day tonight. They are each working on a new icee pop, to prove their superior eating skills. I gave up three popsicles ago.
The car turns on and as I pull out of the gravel parking lot towards Southern to deliver my precious cargo, the radio plays the leftover bits of a country song. The kids groan and change the channel to the newest rap station, but not before a little voice in the back pipes up and says... "What does that mean?"
The song had a line of Spanish in it, the artist sang, "Adios and vaya con dios" The rest of the conversation went like this...
"It’s Spanish CJ, it means, goodbye and go with god"
"Oh. What is it again?"
"Adios y vaya con dios"
"Kelsey you’re really smart"
"You’re like Harry Potter..."
At this point the other kids chime in calling me Kelsey Potter, which starts off a round of Kelsey and Harry sitting in a tree, and other slams, insulting only to those under 10 years old. This continues until I pull onto the shoulder and let the kids off. They chase after each other, screaming and fighting to be the first one in the house.
As I drive back to the house I can only smile when I see the little gifts they have left for me. Six empty icee pop wrappers litter my car. Harry Potter would have used a spell to clean up the mess, I felt honored to clean them up by hand.