Last night we went out to dinner. For no other reason than that it was 6:00 and Chris and Savannah had materialized at the end of my bed where I sat at my laptop (typing words! all day! worrds!) looking all helpless and miserable and inquiring about dinner.
This is normally where I play a little game I like to call "Oh, I Hadn't Noticed the Time!". (I had.) But, instead I suggested we go out to dinner because "we're out of water" and as everyone knows, a quality meal requires water.
So, I got a night off from the kitchen and a night on at Chili's. And the most fantastic thing happened: I got carded! Like a real carding. Not just a "sympathy card", which I often get when I'm out with my 12-year-old best friend.
And let me tell you, nothing tastes as good as a margarita that required ID. Except maybe the second one.
Anyway, I was feeling especially resourceful last night and at one point while Savannah and I were in the restaurant's bathroom I was getting antsy waiting for her to wash her hands.
Because the washing of the hands takes about 900 years.
She has to smile at herself in the mirror while she runs water over her hands. Then she has to get three full pumps of soap. Then she has to smell the soap. Then she has to make me smell the soap. Then she has to stare at herself a little more in the mirror while she rubs her hands until the soap gets sudsy. Then the thorough rinsing. And then the paper towel dance where she dries her hands with one and turns off the faucet with another.
It's like she's a public restroom sommelier.
You can imagine how I'm normally reacting:
"I smelled my own soap!"
"You're done now!"
"I'll turn the faucet off!"
"They're dry enough! Use your pants!".
(Having me for a mom is eff-you-en!)
But, last night I watched her sweet little face chattering away as she washed and washed and washed and I literally said under my breath "Don't say a word". For just a moment I pretended I was one of those patient, encouraging moms.
And I swear twenty minutes went by. And I started to become nauseas with restraint. But, I kept chatting with her all the way through. ("Yes, the water does splash when you clap your hands!" "Yep, that soap smells like strawberries alright!")
And the most lovely thing happened. She finished washing her hands, grabbed my hand in hers, and skipped alongside me out of the bathroom, chipper and happy.
And I thought "Now, how hard was that?"
Honestly? Pretty. Damn. Hard.
And yet, I know I need to do more of this. I need to step back, take a breath, and relax. And just let her be. Because then everything else falls into place.