I used to think that my favorite days of motherhood would be when my children were perfectly groomed, smelling sweet and skipping along in a line behind me answering sweetly to my every command.
But through the years I've discovered that the disheveled, unplanned days tend to be my favorite.
I proclaimed that the last day of Christmas break was my day. Okay, at least the morning was. I told the kids they were mine at least for a couple hours. My proclamation was partly prompted by the fact that I had been missing them (non-stop hanging with friends ALL vacation it seemed), but our time together was also induced by the necessity of getting out of the house since I hired someone to come scrub the carpets after all the hullabaloo from Christmas was safely tucked away 'til next year.
So we went and got bagels. We never, ever get bagels.
We generally do not leave our house all together to eat. Not a good idea.
Lucy was horrible (hence the reason things like this are generally not a good idea).
Although she is one of the most polite children I know in the majority of situations, if you rub her wrong in the wrong moment she lets you know it.
That morning at the bagel shop she was somehow rubbed wrong.
I find it interesting to note the different ways people react to Lu. Sometimes people are annoyed and give me that "why-in-the-world-can-you-not-contain-your-child" look. Or there's the pity looks where I can tell they feel so sorry for me trying to cajole this strong-willed girl to do what she's supposed to.
But most often the reaction is sweetness and light. They look at Lucy like she's the cutest button on the planet.
They can see right through that naughty voice or the yelling or the pouting. (Remember this is just a sliver of time...most of the time she really is an angel.)
Maybe it's those luscious cheeks that perfect strangers can't seem to tell me they're cute enough times. Maybe it's that really, they do feel sorry for me. Or maybe it's just that Lucy does something humorous like demanding her "doughnut with sprinkles" right now as she points defiantly to the flat "everything" bagel smothered in fennel and poppy seeds.
That morning, the nice, enamored-with-Lucy's-cheeks lady behind the counter snuck her her own flat "everything" bagel and Lucy emerged triumphant....
...until she took a bite and realized it wasn't quite the "doughnut" she had in mind.
But we left with smiles from everyone including the sweet ladies behind the counter because Lu decided plain bagels weren't so bad.
I let the kids dictate what we'd do next. It was next door to the dollar store, and then to the pet store.
Why dollar stores are so fun for kids I do not know, but they were so excited scanning those rows of stuff.
In the pet store I remembered this day so long ago...
...and decided we need to go to pet stores more often.
When we got home they all took off in different directions to soak in the last minutes free from school. But I was satisfied. That morning with my straggly-haired ragamuffin kids all to myself filled my heart right up to the brim.