How nice it is to have another female in the house. My thirteen year old niece and her brother are staying over for a few days, while their parents take a two day break in Paris. I suppose one could say that this is a huge benefit to living in Ireland as it is possible to hop on a plane for twenty euro or so and be in the wonderful, magical, enchanting city of Paris within a couple of hours. I am happy for my brother and his partner, they never get away and right now I imagine that they are hand in hand in some romantic sidewalk cafe, sipping a glass of wine and remarking how wonderful I am that I offered to take their kids in. But it's no problem to me at all. The children are wonderful. At nine and thirteen, they are well mannered and appreciative. But having another girl in the house, if only for a few days is refreshing. I had no idea how MALE this abode of ours had become until I had some contract with another female under the roof. Take this morning when she turned to hug me before she left for school. And how she wears sneakers with butterflies embroidered along the edges. How she dabs Britney Spears perfume behind her ear lobes with carefree abandon and comes into the kitchen to seek me out only to sit on a chair with that all too familiar dreamy Aunty Mary P. look in her eye. She chirps and laughs and looks pretty in a completely innocent way and talks up a storm. I want to ask her how she applies her eye liner so expertly, but well pride wins out, and hey, I have to look like I know something after all these years. I do relish her company. Seven of us at the dinner table tonight, the aromatic stew going down a treat. My sons getting to know their cousins. Our blood all entwined and meshed together in a comfortable kind of way as the frost froze out on the driveway and we flushed and happy with the food and warmth thanked and blessed the house and all within its sturdy walls.