Tuesday is our day. No preschool. No work. No ambitious goals.
Just one four year old and one distracted-but-trying-not-to-be mama. Tuesday is our day.
We spent the morning teaching her dolls to swim and putting away the laundry. The neighbor boy knocked, and she went out to enjoy the mud while I checked my e-mail. Leftovers for lunch, dishwasher loaded, and then I asked, “So, what do you want to do this afternoon? Roller skating? Dinosaur museum? Library?”
“I want…” she considered, “I want to go for a walk.”
“Okay. Where do you want to walk to?”
Wrong question. She practically rolled her eyes in exasperation. “Mama! We can’t waste time going somewhere. I just want to walk!”
I couldn’t believe that she said that: We can’t waste time going somewhere. I never thought of it that way before.
And so we didn’t waste a moment. We strapped her marker-streaked Belle doll into the old green umbrella stroller and ambled up the hill. If we had been going somewhere, the pace would have been painfully slow; but since this was what we were doing, I let her lead. The streets were quiet, nearly deserted in the lull between lunch and school dismissal. We circled around and around, stepping over broken glass, and peering into the caverns of rotted trees. She stopped to feel the warm air coming out of a dryer vent.
After nearly an hour we sat on a low wall to share a bag of raisins and peanuts. Our coats were open now, and our hats and gloves cushioned the baby doll’s head. The sun reflected off metallic candy wrappers sticking out of the storm drain.
“Mama” she sighed, “do you know what?”
I looked at her serious little face expectantly, “What honey?”
“Mama. Sometimes… (here she gave a dramatic pause), sometimes I smell a lion nearby.” She studied my face for signs of fear. I tried not to laugh. “But (another dramatic pause) then I know that it’s just someone pretending to be a lion.” She raised her eyebrows and I took a deep breath to steady myself. “Mama. Are there any more raisins?”
There were. But you’ll be relieved to know that lions don’t eat raisins. We finished our snack in silence, and began walking toward the bus stop. It was almost time for big sister to come home, and she couldn’t wait to show off the rocks she had just collected.
Though after all of that, it was a little disappointing to have a destination.