|Abu's House (copyright Christy Hammond)|
As Abu tries to zip up her backpack this morning, she grins; a mischievous look I haven't seen in weeks; and says, "I have too much useless stuff in here, Mom. It won't zip up."
I frown, peering at her backpack. "Isn't it full of your homework from last night?"
Her grin widens. "Exactly. Useless stuff."
She waits for me to laugh at her joke, her expression barely shifting away from her humor, but it's there, a slight crease in the smile as she waits anxiously for me to respond.
I chuckle, because it is funny, especially if you look at it from a kids' point of view and not as a parent. How many of us have briefcases full of necessary 'useless stuff'?
Her expression relaxes and she finishes zipping up her backpack; her mood light and cheery. Score a point for Mom this morning.
I grew up as the bossy first child who knew (knows) everything. :-) I wasn't the middle child and I certainty wasn't the baby of the family. I was so opinionated about things, that I didn't even believe that there was positions of childhood.
Until Baby Blueberry came along. And Abu slipped into the role of middle child like it had been hers for the taking since she was little.
But I'm not going to talk about how difficult that place has been for her; not today anyway. I'm just going to simply share the wonders of Abu. So one day, when she's old enough, and she comes across the crazy, zombie filled ramblings of her blogger Mom, she will finally realize what I see in her.
Abu came into this world like lightening. And that is what I tell her. Out of all my labors, hers was by far the easiest and quickest. Six hours of light pushing and laughing, anxiously awaiting baby. Forty minutes of hard labor and there she was. Adorable, cute, and with such a petite nose.
The next day we took her home, where an excited Bean was so overjoyed to have a baby sister. And over the next two years, while Abu grew into toddlerhood; I spent a lot of time chasing after Bean and Abu and cleaning up after all their antics.
Bean was the instigator. But Abu wasn't innocent. She would quietly watch, and laugh, and clap her hands, loving every idea Bean came up with and happily joining in the trouble.
One time when Bean was four and Abu was two, they decided to decorate the couch. And not just a little bit of it, the entire back seat of it. Eight long, irresistible feet of white floral fabric apparently just asking for more color. Hero Hottie and I walk into the living room to find them standing on the couch, fiercely scribbling away as quickly as their little pudgy arms would go. The entire length was 'decorated' with blue and RED crayon. They grinned at us and showed us their Artwork. Two chubby face smiles, dimples in their cheeks and joy in their eyes.
Abu, being only two and discovering the joy of crayons and color decided to do more decorating around the house on her own. We had just moved into our house and finished hanging up all the picture frames. One day, there is a drawing underneath one of the them.
In black crayon.
Bean insisted that she didn't do it. But Abu won't confess either. The next day, again another drawing underneath another picture.
Bean is my main suspect because she's four and usually tries to find trouble when I'm not looking.
But she's still insisting it's not her.
A few more days, this goes on, which is difficult to believe because I don't hardly ever leave them alone in the room, just while moving between rooms and cleaning. But there are scribbles under nearly every picture in the house and still I can't find the black crayon.
Or the culprit.
Then one day, I leave the room and wait a few minutes. Quietly, I sneak back into the living room, and there she is...
Abu, black crayon in hand, underneath a picture, adding her own art to the walls.
Abu of a thousand expressions, always making faces for my camera. Always passing out smiles to those who have lost there's.
When Abu was five she had her first loose tooth. And the joy she found in that one simple event is the spirit of her and something I hope is never destroyed or tainted.
But one day, while she was eating breakfast, or at least attempting to, she stops, frowns and says to me, “There’s something wrong with my tooth. It hurts.” At first I thought that her chipped tooth had worn down enough to cause her pain.
“Open up.” I said and started looking at teeth. I wiggled one of the front ones. Nothing. Then I wiggled the one next to it and it wiggled. Just a bit, but enough.
I grinned. “You have a loose tooth.”
She grins back, “I do?”
I nodded and watched her grin grow. “I have a loose tooth.” She says and feels it with her finger and her tongue.
“This is such a happy day for me.” She says. “I’m having a happy day.”
And she whirls around the living room, smiling and talking about her tooth.
The other day I go to take a shower and there is a solid plastic, eighteen inch brachoisaurus in my shower. I'm not sure what the creature was waiting for. All his other dinosaur buddies were on the other side of the tub, taking up valuable floor space in our tiny bathroom. But there he was, as if patiently waiting for another bath time.
Abu is slowly outgrowing play time with toys. Less and less, she spends time with toys, and so for many years, I cleaned up toys, straightened toys, put away toys, yelled at children to put away toys and then one day, the house was not being taken over by Barbies, dinosaurs, and Polly Pockets.
I grinned at the dinosaur in my shower and was glad to see him there. Just a small reminder that Abu isn't totally grown yet and I have time to enjoy her childhood.
She drew me a picture of our house. A house that I feel is too small sometimes, or missing character, or isn't quite my dream house.
But when I look at that picture...I see something immensely wonderful. I see how the pine tree out front is given a bit of the spotlight, because she has spent hours playing under its branches. I see the light colored door ready for its family to arrive home. I notice the furniture inside where we have dinners together. The hose container out front, which holds the hose that we play with in the summer.
I see an inviting house.
A house full of love and spirit. And it warms my heart.
And that's what Abu, if she should ever read this, needs to remember. Part of that house full of love and spirit comes from her.
Wonderful, joyful Abu.