the mundane and the wonderful

This morning I got very angry with my daughter. I grabbed her arm and scolded her. As has happened so many times, I instantly felt terrible. I apologized but she wasn’t having any of it. We adjourned to the bathroom where I put her hair up in those tall, knotty buns on top of her head. She didn’t want to look at me. I tell my children – and act on it – that it’s okay to be angry with someone. You can’t forgive them until you’re ready. She wasn’t ready. At the end of the hair-fixing (which takes forever with her fine, long hair) I lifted her up to see the effect in the mirror. Her body instantly relaxed and she said, “Niiice!” About ninety seconds before this I had sensed the forgiveness in her. We emerged from the bathroom reconciled.

Sophie’s response to my hair “magic” reminded me of how both of my children adore many things I do. Nels will come up to me in the kitchen and kiss me repeatedly out of love for what I’m cooking. He kisses me for all sorts of reasons, but I can tell when he’s kissing me out of pure joy for what I’m doing – for him, or for others (“You are the best cooker, ever!”). He does the same thing when I sew him something – especially something he’s designed, like the purse he hijacked me to make him last week (“So I can carry makeup, toys… stuff that I have”, he tells me casually).

The day was split with an interlude at our co-op preschool. Ralph took the time off work to be there for the duration of class. The co-op is a wonderful thing; I have not seen a school program more well-designed. My children demonstrate an inventiveness and willing spirit almost unique to children: creating fanciful anthropomorphic figures of the letters in their names, carefully coloring both the front and back of the “groundhog cave” art project (and putting suspiciously trollop-like makeup on said marmot), tidying kitchen toys away in the logical place and enjoying doing so. The day was a slow one, based on their schedule needs rather than my own. I observed them and wondered why adults seem to lose the simple, inexpensive, joyful day of frolic and relaxation. But at least for today, their play day precipitated Ralph and my own.

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