© Copyright 2007 by Judith Nakken
It is the last day. My husband has come for me. Sunshine, now, since I am escaping. Drizzles during previous days incarcerated me indoors with them until their parents returned from work.
Dressing for school and for day care will be child’s play this morning, I think. It’s the last day.
I notify the young one that the only shoe he’s wearing is on the wrong foot. “I don’t care,” he smart-mouths at me, lying back on the littered carpet with his hands under his head, defying me to care.
“Well, so don’t I!” I’m at my best at their level. I jam the remaining shoe on the other wrong, stocking foot. The golden cherub protests the outrage. He kicks and screams.
“No! No! I wan’ my shoes on the wight foot! I wan’ my…. I wan’….”
He wound down, hiccuping, and gazed helplessly at the shod feet stretched out in front of him. He was trying, no doubt, to figure out which was the wight one. I left him to the hefty decision, as the schoolgirl needed inspection.
“I’m gonna take this to school today, Gramma!” She flapped the miniature bong around her neck. I’d seen it last night. It blew bubbles, endlessly. Kindergarten would ban the family in perpetuity if it came to school. I was gentle.
“No, honey. It’s not for taking to school. Take it off, now. Thanks.” She was complying as Grandpa lumbered to the kitchen looking for coffee, ecstatic at having missed the babies’ breakfast.
We are ready. They for school and the sitter, we to race across the Cascades to our four-legged children. “Don’t forget your backpack,” I say to the tiny student, and stop short. I was once six years old.
“Where is the bubble pipe, honey?”
Her tongue was prepared, but her eyes didn’t have the hang of it yet. They strayed covertly to the backpack as she answered. “I guess I must have taken it downstairs.”
I said I must check her backpack for the library book that had to be returned this morning, and she gave up with a shrug that said, Oh, well. I tried. I removed the toy and did not lecture, for her mother was also six on a Wednesday morning long ago.
“I hadda take ‘em off because I had a big hole in my sock!” The angel boy had the last word as he sent me for another sock. I lined up the right and left shoes in front of him on the carpet. He always knew I would.
On the road, I tell my husband I should have lectured about the lie. It’s a bad habit, I insisted, and not respectful. He was magnanimous.
“All kids lie, dear. They outgrow it. This kid isn’t even very good at it. I wouldn’t worry.”
He’d only been with them a few hours, and most
of those hours he was asleep. Of course he wouldn’t worry.
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