In the cool shade of a large oak tree I listened to little girls’ chatter about future party plans. Through the thick leaves I looked up at the tree house my husband built for our daughters. With the arrival of the guest of honor the homecoming celebration would begin.
My husband, Doug, in a few days would arrive home after a year of sea duty in the Middle East. As a Navy Craft Commander, he commanded a crew of five men. At home, our daughters commanded his attention. He enjoyed his blond haired girls and called them his ladies.
Eight year old Teagan, our adventurous one was much like her Dad. She had his out-going personality and winning smile. Next, our six year old Tisha, the quiet one with her nose always in a book. She’s the one most like me, enjoying the outdoors and hiking up some mountain. Our youngest one, four year old Toria, was nothing like her parents or her sisters. She loved being a girl, worrying about how her hair looked and always wanting to wear a dress. She was the results of a long weekend. Doug’s parents watched Teagan and Tisha while we enjoyed time alone. For three days on Lake Victoria Doug and I stayed on his parent’s cabin cruiser. Nine months later Toria made her appearance.
Our daughters had planned a home coming party for their Dad. Before his arrival home they sent him a special invitation. Toria had insisted the card be made out of purple construction paper, Tisha wanted to draw her hearts with sparkling paint, and Teagan printed the invitation in her best hand writing. His ladies made a banner saying ‘Welcome home Daddy’ and hung it on the back wall of the tree house. The girls spent the morning cutting out and baking heart shaped sugar cookies. In the afternoon I drove them to the thrift store to buy party necessities. While Teagan and Tisha looked for matching glasses and dishes Toria looked for a purple table cloth.
Inside the tree house a purple bed sheet covered a small table that held place settings of mismatched dinnerware and glasses. A borrowed silver tray held sugar cookies and a borrowed glass pitcher full of ice cold lemonade sat on a wooden bench. With everything ready for the party the girls waited for the guest of honor’s arrival.
When Doug arrived home he gave his ladies hugs and kisses. Before our daughters pushed and pulled him toward the tree house he managed to give me a quick kiss. I had no problem with sharing. After the girls were asleep in bed he and I would celebrate his homecoming.
At the bottom of the tree house ladder I eavesdropped on the party. From above I heard my daughters’ voices and their Dad’s.
Teagan asked, “Daddy, the lemonade’s too heavy. Can you pour it for me?”
I heard Toria’s voice say, “We made the cookies all by ourselves, Mommy read the directions.”
Tisha’s voice followed, “Silly, that’s a recipe not directions.”
“Ladies, you did a fantastic job. Thank you for a wonderful party. The lemonade and cookies taste great.”
Toria, with her soft voice, said, “Daddy, I’m a pretty princess and I ride a purple unicorn.”
“That’s interesting to know. How about you two ladies? Who are you?”
Teagan said with authority in her voice, “I’m the good fairy.”
Tisha said with frustration in her voice, “I’m the bad fairy.”
“Why are you the bad fairy?”
“Cause Teagan told me only one good fairy is allowed.”
“How about being a tree fairy, you would be able to talk to all the forest creatures?”
I heard Tisha’s giggling voice say, “I’m the tree fairy. Daddy, who do you want to be?”
With a bold voice Doug said, “I want to be King Daddy-o who travels to far off lands seeking adventures, who always returns to his ladies of the tree house.”
While the girls giggled and I laughed Doug stuck his head out of the tree house door. Looking down at me with his winning smile said, “I am King Daddy-o of the realm. Let your presence be known.”
With my bowed head I took a deep curtsey and said, “Your majesty, it is I your beloved Queen Mommy-o from nearby castle.”
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