I’ve let this blog lapse, but a wise friend has been telling me that I need to write down stories before I forget them, so I’m back.
The other morning, Sophie was eating cereal that had dehydrated strawberries on it. “Can I have this kind of dried strawberries as a snack at my birthday party?” she asked. We don’t often buy those freeze-dried strawberries, because of course they’re mostly pricey sugar, but for a birthday party snack, it was a good idea. I promised her we’d pick up some dried strawberries before her party, and then I went back to whatever I was doing, packing lunchboxes, unloading the dishwasher, braiding Soph’s hair: you know the morning blur.
I noticed Evs taking that strawberry cereal from the table and reminded him that we have a food-belongs-in-the-kitchen rule. I don’t need my kids leaving crumbs all around the house; I can barely keep up with cleaning the crumbs in the kitchen. Then I returned to making my tea or locating the permission-slip that I had signed but somehow not gotten into the kid’s backpack or whatever else I was doing that morning.
Evs screamed in frustration, so I went into the living room to check on him. It turned out that he had taken his cereal, put it into a small plastic snack-box, wrapped that up with some large brown paper, and was attempting to tie a bow around it. “Soph wants this for her birthday,” he told me, “so I’m giving it to her.”
I helped him tie the bow, then he dictated to me a message to write on the small package of wrapped-up cereal:
To Sophie. From Everett. Wherever you go, my heart will follow you.
He got out his pens and tried to draw a heart on the curved edge of the package, before once again screaming in frustration, then calming down enough to take his package to add to Sophie’s birthday pile.
Then he told her what her surprise would be, of course, because three-year-olds don’t keep secrets. She tried to explain that it wasn’t actually cereal she wanted, only a snack-pack of strawberries to serve to party guests, but even she had to admit that this was a surprisingly sweet act by a little brother who can sometimes be a pest, but is actually listening to everything we say, and doing his best to be generous.