Friday was our last day of school. The sun was shining, the girls had friends over, and we ordered pizza. The promise of good times and great weather was on the horizon. That evening, The Tortoise had a sleep-over and DW was lulled into a false sense of summer. He said something like,
“You must be glad that it’s summer! It’ll be nice to have so much free time.”
Har…har…har…choke, gasp, gafaw…THUD (that’s me laughing so hard I fell off the bed.)
DW wasn’t laughing.
Really? He wasn’t joking?
Of course, why wouldn’t I be looking forward to refereeing endless numbers of screaming matches between the siblings, reminding everyone in the neighborhood to please close the door so that all the bugs don’t migrate into our kitchen, begging my girls to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather, driving them to swim lessons, soccer camp, tutoring, gymnastics, and play dates. I love the idea of trying to grocery shop, run errands, and make doctors appointments with two in tow, lose access to my computer, phone, television and stereo. But above all – I am looking forward to how summer brings extra laundry, bigger grocery bills, larger messes all over the house and get to constantly hear,
“I’m so bored! There’s nothing to do!”
Yeah, I prefer the summer schedule to my daily routine of sipping a hot cup of coffee after the bus leaves, writing and reading a little til mid-morning, while finishing a small load of laundry in complete peace.
That was sarcasm, if you were a bit confused. Sigh.
I knew that summer quickly engulfed us on Sunday when I heard The Hare’s little voice echo down the stairs, “Mommy I need you.”
“Just a minute sweetie.”
“No, Mommy. I really, really need you.”
Two “reallys” is never good.
I met her at the top of the stairs, her head sticking out of the doorway. She looked panicked.
“I’m really sorry.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“I’m really, really sorry.”
There was that darn second “really”. This was definitely going to be bad.
“Well, let me come in and see what the problem is then.”
I tried to push open the door but her body was braced against it.
“I’m not letting you in until I’m sure that you know that I am REALLY, REALLY, REALLY sorry.”
Oh, crap. That was three “reallys” .
I stepped inside and just stood in complete shock. If I had been in my blogging frame of mind, I would have grabbed my camera and seen a future post unfolding before my eyes. But, no. Instead I had my tiredofsummeralreadyandit’sonlythesecondday frame of mind. All I could see was an American Girl doll bathtub filled to the brim with murky brownish orange water and large orange wet spots all over the carpet. The Hare had filled the tub with water (broken rule #1. No water toys in the bedroom. They must be used in the bathroom only.) Next to the tub was an open container of about a hundred markers (broken rule #2. All art supplies must be used at the kitchen table or in the craft room) Apparently she had decided to uncap a dozen or so markers, soak the tips in the water, and watch all of the ink be drawn out, which is what turned the water such a disgusting color. Her hands were covered in ink, the carpet was splattered with ink and her nightgown was speckled in ink.
My ears got hot. Hives began running up and down my arms and my hands started to shake. We stared at each other a moment.
“Don’t talk to me right now, ” I whispered, “Mommy is really, reaLLY, REALLY angry right now.”
I sent her downstairs to sit in time-out at the dining room table and let her know that I would dish out her punishment in a moment. It took me a little bit, but I managed to get most of the orange splotches out of the carpet. The nightgown will probably now become our new paint smock and the bathtub got cleaned out in the utility sink. I stewed around the house for a while, cleaning this, picking up that. The Tortoise and I had a dinner date and dance recital that evening. (The Hare wasn’t joining us due to being grounded after the previous day’s slew of bad choices. It’s been a rough few days.) After a couple of hours, a shower and a fresh face of make-up, I was about to head out the door with The Tortoise, and noticed a small, hunched frame sitting at the dining room table. I hadn’t walked by the dining room since “the incident” and realized that I had forgotten that I had banished my eight-year-old. She had been sitting at the dining room table for a little over two hours. Totally quiet. Totally still.
She looked up as I walked into the room. Her big blue eyes red rimmed and wet.
“I’m still really, really sorry mommy.”
My stomach felt queasy. How could have I forgotten her for that long? I cleared my throat, bent down and was nose to nose with her sweet face. I gave her a tight hug and a big kiss.
“Yeah, I know, ” I said, “And I really, really forgive you.”