When I brought Mary Hazel her soup for dinner last night, I noticed that she had her tiny little hands folded under her chin and was whispering, “Goddafadaa, Goddagadda…” When she saw me smiling at her, she smiled back all proud and stuff. She repeated the blessing about 32 more times and told me that her teachers “Anchoola” and “Choody” (Angela and Judy) sing it before lunch. Even though this is a blessing we used to say with regularity at dinnertime when the twins were little, we have been sadly remiss in remembering to give thanks for our food since we became a busy family of five. I consider it a huge accomplishment to serve everyone a hot meal without one person being finished before another one has even started. Charlie is a tornado of appetite and wiggles. Poppy picks at her food and begins bargaining “How many bites before I can have dessert?” before I even sit down. Russell is usually still washing his hands (again) and putting on his slippers. Mary Hazel has often already eaten as her bedtime is earlier than the rest of ours. I am lucky to remember tasting my food at all. So, sometimes that blessing gets overlooked. Thank you, sweet baby, for reminding me how important it is to be deliberately thankful.
When Russell was helping Charlie make his bed this morning, he discovered a little critter snuggled under the covers. He picked up the little bug with some toilet paper and headed to the bathroom. Mary Hazel spotted the puffy fluffy package and said, “Oooooh! Pretty!” Poppy replied, “You really think everything is special, don’t you?” This made me smile.
Today Poppy had a play date with a new buddy from school. We overlapped for a few minutes at the playground outside her classroom when I picked up Charlie. She gave me a giant hug and said, “I’ll miss you, Mama!” She then turned around in her grown-up clogs and chased after her buddy to ride to a brand-new place. She was so happy, grinning from ear to ear, and skipping the whole way. I was happy for her, but also a little wistful. I had a flash forward to leaving her on the freshman quad upon her first semester at a university far away from here. My heart skipped a beat and I lingered to watch her disappear into the car that was not mine. Before long, the baby needed me to help her go down the big slide which was a welcome distraction. We played for a long while and then Charlie walked up to me and casually said, “I don’t miss Poppy, but I don’t have anyone to chase. Can we go home now?”. Aw.
We enjoyed a day in Abbeville celebrating Gammer and Papa John’s 39th wedding anniversary. The kids were thrilled about spending time with their uncle who tickles them, gives them piggy back rides, and knows more about cartoons than they do. Poppy also adores her aunt who always spends special time giving her a sweet little mani/pedi/makeover. They both agreed that the chocolate cake provided by the Mennonites was pretty worthy of a celebration. It’s always nice to spend a lazy Saturday talking about small town gossip, feeding the neighbor’s baby burro, and actually relaxing for a few minutes while doting grandparents take turns entertaining the baby. One of my favorite Russell stories is from the wedding day all those years ago. He was a precocious five year old with an undiagnosed ear infection. While standing next to his mother at the front of the church, he had finally had enough of the suffering which had been falling on deaf ears. I cannot seem to get the straight story, but all parties agree that the event culminated in young Russell swatting at his mother and throwing a tantrum during the wedding vows. Somehow, there was a picture taken at this very moment to prove it. Poor baby. Is it wrong that I think this is so funny? Another family story to be told for years to come happened today. Mary Hazel told me that she wanted me to change her diaper. Usually this means that she is wet. When I removed her diaper, I noticed that it was bone dry. Instead of allowing me to dress her, she ran away and took off her remaining articles of clothing along the way. She escaped to the den where everyone else was watching television. After a few seconds, she ran back toward me yelling, “Wet! Wet!” I inspected the carpet but found no evidence to support her claim. She escaped again. A few minutes later, I heard a collective shout from the den. “Ewwwww!” Then, hysterical laughter. Then from Russell, “Hello?! Did you know that Mary Hazel is running around the house pooping everywhere?!” And so she was. Luckily the six relatives in the den thought it was pretty darn funny. I escorted her to the tub where she rinsed the poo of her foot. When she got out, she dried off and then asked to “get up here” and pointed to the potty. Gammer and I helped her up where she sat like a queen until the big moment where she finished the job. Most impressive. We did the happy dance. We gave her high fives. We clapped as she hopped down and waved goodbye to her solid effort. What a proud and memorable moment!