It was early, the last day of the week and the first week of school. Her meds had not kicked in yet. Laying curled up on the couch, she picked up the cardboard package I set beside the computer to enter a code from, folded it back into shape, and started licking the outside. Not being a morning person, not being in my best mom mode, I commented, “Gross, don’t lick that, I need to use it.” I probably muttered something under my breath about two year olds as I walked away to take her breakfast omelet out of the pan.
It took a little coaxing to get her to the table, and I chopped up the omelet so it could cool. But she started and I sat down to the computer, grabbed my mouse, and … it was wet. The sides and top of the mouse, and the palm of my hand. Slimy. Wet. “What? Why?” I looked at her as I stood, damp mouse in hand. “Did you lick my mouse? You licked my mouse! That is just gross.” I took the mouse to the counter, dried it off, kept breathing. She licked my mouse. Eww. I washed my hands. Then I returned to my computer. As she put her shoes on a few minutes later, I complimented her with a smile, though I was still grossing out on the inside. “You know, that was pretty creative. Kudos to you. You took what grossed me out and really bumped it up. I’ll remember that all day.” She rolled her eyes at me, stomped the last foot into her shoe, and shouldered her way into her backpack then headed out the door for school. All day long, the skin of my palm retracted just a bit when it came into contact with my mouse. Eww. She licked my mouse.
Afternoon the next day. Both girls playing, mostly cooperatively, making a fun mess in the upstairs hallway. The doorbell rings and they run while I walk to the door. A surprise visit from one of little one’s friends with an added bonus invite to come over and swim. Big one is invited, too – friend’s sister is in her grade. They run for swimsuits and grab towels while shoving the scattered toys to one side of the hallway. They scuttle out the door, swim bags in hand, and suddenly, the house is quiet. I’m not sure quite what to do with the unexpected gift of silence.
I don’t think I’ve ever been gifted a couple of hours of unexpected time in the middle of a weekend. We had evening plans, so I gathered what we needed for that, had a nice chat with my mom on the phone, and relaxed a little before heading over to see how the kiddos made out. They were happy in the backyard pool when I arrived and continued to show off their aquatic skills while I visited with the adults. It was a cool late summer afternoon with an occasional breeze and no humidity. I knew it would be a challenge getting the kids out of the pool, but I’d come prepared – there were double stuff Oreos in the car. The bait did it’s job and they hopped out without any fuss, dried off and dressed, and we headed off to our next adventure – gathering with friends for making dream boards.
We ate in the car en route so the girls would be well fed before we arrived. They were happy to find some additional desserts to add to our cookies when we arrived. As is usually the case with these gatherings, they were the only children present. The girls piled desserts on paper plates and took their chairs out to the deck. By the time I got out, they were sitting amidst the other adults munching Oreos and popping mini Buckeyes into their mouths. I set up on the edge by the huge backyard and chatted uninterrupted while we ate. The evening followed the lovely of the afternoon, feeling a tiny bit chilly but not quite getting all the way there. Fully dessert filled, the girls set about putting together the lasso golf frame so they could play in the backyard. They told me of the deer that had walked through a few minutes earlier while I’d been in the house. They were excited about that, but even more so when the art supplies came out. Colorful poster boards, markers, pastels and chalks took center stage, scissors and glue sticks and piles of magazines the supporting cast. They started creating. And the big girl started her concentration hum. The group continued around them. No one commented. No one shushed. Shiny wrapping paper made an appearance in the arts supply area and the big girl began creating beautiful folded cutout sheets that turned into masks and screens with hearts strung across them. The little girl traced her foot and drew stylized toenail designs in bright colors. The adult group worked around them, talking and laughing.
A loud roar broke the quiet. “Wow, look at the jet!” Everyone stopped, looked, pointed. As the jet disappeared from view, a louder roar came up from behind us and one, then two, then three, then four, then five more jets flew directly over the deck. “That’s the Blue Angels!” Wow. Loud, fast, and unexpected, our hostess took a bow for the unexpected fly over. It seemed even more quiet after the jet-roar and dusk settled over the deck. We sat in groups of three or four, snipping from magazines. Someone drew a beautiful freehand blue angel in chalk and added sparkling pink heart and peace sign stickers. Someone else asked for help finding a picture of a farm. Dreams cut and pasted. The girls were complimented on their creativity and originality. They were more than accepted, they were welcomed. They were part of the whole. These are the moments I celebrate.