The big boys headed home in July. I was not sure they believed that I would get them there, but I did. We flew the red eye in Ft Lauderdale and arrived in Little Haiti through rush hour traffic. J told me to lay down on the couch and take a nap.
Nope. The mango tree outside dwarfed the house in ripe fruit. The rats eat well.
We drove to see the boys' relatives on the north side of town. We drove down to the water to eat dinner. They did not look back when I drove away the next day. They were home and I was not and all was well.
The kids were deep into track. Manny has (unsurprisingly) a terrific arm and takes direction from everyone other than me, really, really well. We queued up shot put on YouTube and the big boys watched the Olympic relay trials. Sam practiced with blocks in the park in the mornings and on the track at night. I walked the track in defiance of my own waistline. The boys finished summer school. Manny was tall enough to go to the pool unaccompanied by anyone other than his brothers and took agency of his own pool pass. We lived an idyllic urban existence of home canning, long jump practice, evening swims, and parties in the park. Of course, the emotional toll of brothers coming and going did not go unnoticed and I braced myself for the empty spaces.
We drove to Sacramento to watch Manny and Sam compete in the Junior Olympics. The nerves and heat made for a particularly combustible combination. Once home, Truly would panic and start crying every time she got a little overheated walking on the sidewalk. The 110 degree heat had made an impression.
Paul works from home now and this was his first summer to do so– his giant screen and humming electronics heated up his tiny corner. We dragged window units from the basement and installed them strategically around the house. The sisters had not opted for such luxury. The GCFI circuits tripped when they kicked on in the evenings. I peeled off flakes of straw bale and jammed in compost between the layers, trying to get my anemic beds to break down and produce fruit. It worked. We grew tomatoes and beans and one perfect cantaloupe, 6 jalapeno peppers, and two bell peppers. I put in three blueberry bushes and marked out a future patio.
The boys would return in August. Barely.