All of our biggest conversations happen in the car. We were on our way to gymnastics, deep into a Depeche Mode song, when Quinlan asked me to revisit a story I’d once mentioned about a boyfriend I’d had when I was younger. “Mom? Did he …
I walked past SK’s room last night to find her wide awake, grinning at me from her bed through the slightly open door. We’d tucked her in almost an hour before, so I was surprised, to say the least, to see that mischievous little smile grinning at me from the jumble of bed sheets and Blanket and still-damp hair around her face. So I walked in, because to tell you the truth, there’s something about our occasional after-bedtime conversations, when she’s procrastinating and fighting sleep as hard as she can, that are so sweet.
“Hey,” I said, crouching down beside her bed. “You’re supposed to be sleeping.”
“Mom,” she said. I braced myself for a serious question. Her tone was all business.
“I want to wear my pink shorts and flowered shirt tomorrow.”
She’d seen them in the basket piled high with her cleaned clothes in the family room.
“Okay, I’ll set them aside.”
“No. Don’t move them. You will wrinkle them,” she said. “I will iron them tomorrow.”
Oh, okay, then. This is the child who will leave her room after her afternoon rest time, completely ignoring the floor and dresser absolutely covered with books, and stickers, and, I’ve found, the occasional pull-up pant (Yes, it’s used. And yes, that’s gross). Saoirse will throw herself onto the floor after eating lunch, face still smeared with peanut butter and yogurt and something I can’t quite identify, all too anxious to play with her toys. She would quite happily wander through her days with her hair a tangled bird’s next atop her head, even though I think that has more to do with the deep feelings of animosity she carries toward her comb and brush.
But Saoirse is also the one who lines up her Thomas the Tank Engine cars in a straight light along the edge of the coffee table every night. She organizes her toy cars by size, and asks us to leave them in place, so as not to mess up the order. She will break down into actual tears of sorrow if she gets a spot of maple syrup on her shirt and she can’t change her clothes right there, on the spot, in the middle of breakfast.
So I assured her that the clothes would stay put, in the basket, waiting for her this morning. Satisfied, she gave me a kiss, and rolled over. She was fast asleep before I even closed over the door.