She snuck through the door with the stealth of a cat burglar, quietly entering the room and approaching the bed. I hear her little girl footsteps and lie there quietly, hoping to catch her the act, of what I have no idea. I hear her breathing excitedly, clearly she has a plan. She comes to the edge of the bed, takes a deep giggly breath, and climbs up. Suddenly I feel her hands playing with my hair and stroking my forehead. "Sleepy mommy" she whispers. This goes on for a few amazingly sweet minutes, as I lie there completely happy but still wondering about her plan when it occurs to me that this is the plan. This is it, lying next to her mother and being close to her, that is all it takes to make this wonderful child happy. She gives me one last pet and then tumbles back into her room.
A few minutes later I find her there, under a sheet, watching a movie. She thinks I am her father. "Go away Dad" she chuckles, burrowing under the bedding. I tickle her foot and she laughs but resists. "Go away Daddy. No bike ride", she says, anticipating what comes next. I grab her tummy and let her have it. She is now breathless with laughter, and lifts of the sheet, surprised to see it is me with the long fingers. We pad back into my room and I give her choice. "Bike ride with daddy or grocery shopping with me." The negotiations begin. "I want to take my bike", she begins, knowing well that my husband is planning to take them in a cart that attaches to his bicycle. She just learned to ride 2 days ago and is ready for the big leagues.
"Sorry, maybe the next ride."
"OK, Mommy, ok. If I go to the supermarket you can get me an ice cream cone, ok? Alright". I smile at her tactics, "I'll think about it, but you need to get dressed."
"I want to wear my butterfly shirt." Long pause. "Bike ride"
We get dressed and come downstairs, where her brother greets me with a big smile and scoots into my arms. The kitchen smells, well, used. My husband smiles, "I made pancakes", he says to my disbelieving face. "I'm an Eagle Scout you know", he gently teases as he takes the baby from my arms. They are all off together on the bike, bound for adventures that are for their eyes only. This is their time together.
I stay behind and have a pancake. They are actually pretty good, blueberry. And then I look in the sink and see the used plastic bowl instead of the one good metal mixing bowl this vacation has to offer, which gleams on the counter untouched. The crappy plastic spatula lies in the sink, covered with batter while my top notch metal one sneers at it from the side. The tiny appetizer plate is crammed with pancakes while the platters lie untouched a few cabinets below. We don't always do things the same way, my husband and I. We are different creatures, in all things. He is a good, kind man that centers me and our family to this life, and despite that I am forever criticizing. Today the kitchen is a reminder of my limitations, a place that is usually stage for my strengths. But on this day I put my lesser instincts aside and am grateful for the whole package, and my entire life seems...delicious.