An Hour in the Life
This Sunday morning before my husband and the girls headed to church (I’m home with Joy, who is in quarantine until surgery Tuesday), Mercy and Hope helped me put away laundry.
Hope was a whirling dervish in blue taffeta: a dress I purchased because I loved it. But she doesn’t like it and has never worn it. So it has been hanging in her closet, where I’ve been admiring it on its hanger.
Until this morning. This morning Hope loves the dress because it goes perfectly with her new shoes. But I digress. This post isn’t about the dress.
A really good mom would actually put away laundry a more often than I do –before one of Joy’s PCA’s asks me if she has anything warmer to wear than the shorts in her drawer. But at least I wash and fold laundry semi-regulary. Clean is better than dirty, right?
So this morning, the girls were helping me sort clean laundry because Mercy has suddenly taken an interest in mixing and matching outfits, a very new thing for my girl whose personal uniform is one of two orange shirts and a pair of jeans.
Mercy was intent on finding a shirt that would go with a certain skirt –a skirt that actually goes well with nothing in the house. But I didn’t want to discourage her from stretching her fledgling fashion wings.
So Mercy and I and The Swirl of Blue Taffeta (who is fashion-sense personified) sat down with a tall basket of folded laundry–or, rather, Mercy and I sat while The Swirl swirled –and began sorting out what belongs to who.
Mercy calls this “playing clothes solitaire” because that’s what my system resembles laid out on a bed or the floor. And because there is shuffling between the rows.
Mommy’s, Papa’s, Faith’s and Joy’s rows of clothes are stationary; what goes there stays there until it is transferred to a drawer or shelf. But Mercy and Hope are nearly the same size and except for the two orange shirts, which Hope concedes are solely Mercy’s, all of Mercy’s clothes fair game for Hope. And Mercy agrees.
The Swirl happily twirled Joy’s pajamas into her pajama pile and whirled Papa’s socks into his socks spot. Never mind that there was so much swirling taffeta that Mercy and I could barely see the array of piles. Hope was merry and the three of us were having fun together getting some work done, even if not with much efficiency.
Then we came to “04″ and I was enjoying the moment so much I forgot to guard my words. I blurted out, “And who does this belong to?”
“04″ is Mercy’s shirt, but has been only seen on Hope. “04,” you see is a cute shirt: mint green and white stripes with a monkey and the numbers “04″ on the front and Hope alone wears cute shirts.
This morning, with her newly awakened sense of fashion, Mercy answered my question, truthfully, “It’s mine.”
The Swirl stilled.
Why did you ask that question?! I mentally kicked myself. You could have waited until she was twirling the other way and just put it in Mercy’s pile without comment.
At that moment, God brought to mind Dorothy’s post “I Used to Be a Good Parent” and I threw caution and self-criticism to the wind. A better mom might be able to control, but a while ago I began settling for connecting.
“Oh Mommy Robin!” I chirped to Mercy, innovating on the fly. I patted her pile of shirts. “This is your nest and I have an egg for you to keep warm!” I plunked “04″ onto her pile. Being the quick child she is, Mercy hopped right on top of the pile and sat down on top of ”04″.
“But watch out!” I said, turning to the motionless Swirl with a grin on my face. “Because a GIANT blue jay wants to wear a shirt with “04″ on it!”
The Swirl whirled and laughed. Hope loves being the antagonist and jumped into the game with both new-shoe shod feet.
So Mommy Robin sat guarding her nest –a needed exercise in assertiveness for this little bird –while The Swirl badgered her in play, never managing to get “04″ out of the nest. She didn’t melt down into puddle either.
Two girls and one blue Swirl accompanied daddy to church. With smiles on their faces.
There’s one on mine, too. This life God has given me is not what I imagined. But it is very good.