This day did not start a good day. A few days alone with the girls always intimidates me. I wonder if I can be as patient as I need to be, if I can get everything done, if I will wear myself out before they are wore out. With John gone (as his work often lends itself to necessary travel) to play a square dance in Knoxville, I faced a day and a half alone. There would be no adult conversation. No one to hold Ivy while I helped Deladis potty, or no one to help Deladis put her shoes on while I strap Ivy into the carseat. I began the day amazed at the work single mothers and fathers face everyday.
Then, there were tantrums. Who said twos were terrible? Let’s try horrendous threes. Deladis drops a piece of candy that I gave in and let her have, and squalls like someone pinched her. I raise my voice, “Stop!” I say loud, over and over. I want to stop myself, but I don’t know how to help her gain control and realize it’s not the end of the world. The bomb hasn’t been dropped yet.
Ivy refuses to take a nap, but she is so tired and miserable doing anything else. I rock her to sleep and five minutes later she is awake again, crying. I try again to no avail. I take a deep breath, and strap her to my back in the mei-tai baby carrier. She rides my back while I sweep and clear the kitchen table. She is content, and I am content. I begin to wonder why I get so worked up over little things.
Ivy falls asleep and I am able to lay her down to nap. Deladis plays quietly and I mop the kitchen. I finish the mopping and am surprised Ivy is not awake. I begin cleaning the mold off of our cabin walls that collected there over the winter with all the condensation inside. I’ve wanted to do it for forever, but have never had enough of a chance to even begin. I finish the kitchen. Relief comes to me, and I’m hungry. I eat. Ivy wakes.
I have to bring food to church tomorrow. We are having a Titus 2 Women’s Meeting and I volunteered to bring something before I knew John would be gone. I kicked myself in the rear, but realized – I can do it. I want to do it. I get the girls ready and we go to Family Dollar and Save-A-Lot. Deladis runs all over the Family Dollar getting stuff off of shelves, hiding in clothes, being a kid. She wants to ride the mechanical horse outside. I give her a quarter to put in her pocket. If she is good in the grocery, she can ride. She is good. Both the girls get to ride. Deladis loves wrapping her arms around Ivy, and Ivy loves the ride. Relief comes again in joy.
Back home I decide to garden. We’ve gotten the first small break from rain in days and I want to take advantage of it. Deladis wants so to help. She has already memorized a gardening book my Aunt Sharon sent us a few days ago. She reads it to herself now. We do a few of the potatoes that were left and try to do some onions, but the ground is so soggy the dirt just clumps. I decide it’s best to get some indoor starts going on our Beefsteak Tomatoes. Ivy tries her best to get hold of the tiny seeds, and turn over our little pots of dirt. I say “no,no” several times. She says it back and starts walking around and around a cooler that sits on the porch. Deladis makes indentions in the dirt for the seeds. I hold her little finger and help her nudge dirt over the seeds. She is pleased when she gently can do it herself.
I so want to work in our garden, but really can’t see anything I can do at present. I resign to playing. I resign to let the girls get as dirty as they need to get. I won’t worry about stains on clothes, dirty fingernails. Ivy is putting her hands in the dirt for the first time in her life this Spring. I sit on the porch steps and watch them play in their playhouse. Content. No tantrums or crying. Free from the sterility of winter cold and indoors. We practice getting dirty. We throw stick for Lars, our Dalmatian.
I help the girls teeter-totter and slide. Ivy hums and Deladis laughs. They smile. My heart is light. It’s a perfect moment in an imperfect world and I am there. I am there and not hoping to be somewhere else, with anyone else, doing anything else.
I write now after their bath. The frogs are chirping outside. The girls are sleeping at a decent hour. I look forward to more warm days outside. I’ll write on the porch steps while the girls play getting dirty from head to toe, and it’ll be fabulous because we’ll have no where to go.