My kids are on spring break, and so yesterday they were home with me on my work from home day. I actually managed to get a lot done, thanks to a magic combo of unlimited, early-morning Easter candy, movies, and Photobooth on the kids’ Mac.
At lunchtime the girls and I went to Trader Joe’s to get stuff for supper and both the girls got balloons. Sophie had yellow, Willow had orange. We were headed out the door, and I asked them if they wanted me to tie a sliding loop in the strings so they could put them on their wrists, because they were just holding onto the end of the ribbon and we all know how *that* usually works out. No, they said, We’ve got it, they said, We won’t let go.
So, big surprise, we are two steps out the door and up goes the yellow balloon. Willow is still holding the orange one, and immediately Sohpie tries to take it from her, saying, That one is mine! Yours was yellow! Mine is orange!
Willow’s of course protesting, but Soph is having none of it. And, watching her and listening to her, I get the feeling that she believes what she is saying. Not because it’s logical, but because she just wants so badly for it to not be her standing on the walkway, crying and watching her balloon turn into a little yellow dot overhead. Her behavior is so rotten, though, that I’m not inclined to help her. Instead, I help Willow to the car, put in my groceries and call to Sophie to either run in for a new one, or get in the car. We need to leave so we can pick up Nate from an appointment. Soph stands there in her Easter dress and flip flops, with a bow in her hair; arms crossed, foot tapping, scowling at me. That was NOT my balloon, she hollers at me. I look back at her, shading my eyes with one hand. You’ve got thirty seconds to go get a new one before we leave, I call to her.
She spins around and back into the store wiping her tears on the back of her hand as she walks inside. Then she’s back, at my side with her new balloon, laughing. Hop in, I tell her, we have to scram.
I watch her in the rear view mirror, being silly with her sister and the dozen stuffed animals they insisted on bringing. It would be easy, maybe, to call her a brat over this whole balloon thing. I mean, it was so clearly wrong of her to try and tell me that it was Willow’s balloon that floated away. It was wrong of her to try and take Willow’s. It was wrong of her to lie. Maybe it’s just because I’m her mother — though I am honestly the type to call my kid on their rotten behavior rather than try and justify it — but I caught her eye in the mirror and she smiled at me, nicely, and I admired her for her efforts. It’s hard to explain right, and maybe I can’t, but I’m thinking that this stubborn devotion of hers will bring her some good things if she can ever learn to keep it in check. She sure as hell won’t be the girl who sits on the sidelines as life passes by. Things won’t happen “to” her, she’ll be the one making things happen. At least that is my hope.