There's one thing worth noting about the South from May to September, it's hot. The other is that if it's not hot, it's raining. But most days, it's hot and raining, neither of which lend themselves to two small children playing outside. So, lately, the kids and I have been making trips to the local mall (much to my chagrin - I HATE malls) to visit the indoor, air-conditioned play area. It's an excellent opportunity for the kids to get exercise, burn off some energy, play with lots of other kids, and I can sit and enjoy my one vice, fountain sodas. All in all, despite the fact that it's located in the heart of one of my least favorite places, the play area has proven itself to be an invaluable resource.
Anyway, this morning we awoke to yet another hot and rainy day (there's a surprise). And Emma having already surmised that rather than play in the backyard today we'd be making our usual trip to the mall, woke me up with her shoes in hand. "Wake up mommy, wake up. It's raining, and we have to go to the mall. You have to get dressed."
Ok. My first groggy thought of the day was, "Great. Not only did I get blessed with a daughter who's a morning person (which I am definitely not) that wakes me up at the crack of dawn, but I also got one who looks forward to going to the one place that I loathe. Excellent." Man, when this kid hits her teen years, I hope we can still relate.
Anyway, upon her urging, I got up, got dressed, fed the kiddies, and yes, we headed out, in the pouring rain, to the mall. They played for awhile, I drank coffee by myself and watched the other mothers, most of whom relish in the opportunity to sit in their little cliques chatting up the latest stroller advances and diapering trends. And then it was time to go. And of course, when we left, it was STILL raining. Aaaaah....South Cackalackie summers....if they're not hotter than stereo-equipment at the local Mega Pawn, they're wet. And as I said, today was both!
So, we made a mad dash for the car, running through 3 inch deep puddles (when you live in a place called the, "Lowcountry," you grow accustomed to deep puddles and drainage issues). When we got to the car, I abruptly told Emma, "Hurry to your side of the car and strap yourself in!" So naturally, she slowly meandered her way around the car, sure to jump in every puddle along the way, and ran her once clean hands over the trunk in amazement of how her fingers left a water trail. Needless to say, this did not make me happy. By the time I finished strapping Nicky in I was soaked, and Emma was just opening her door and was soaked herself. I ran to her side of the car yelling, "Emma get in the car! You're soaked. And now because you took so long, I'm gonna' get more soaked because I have to get you in!" I should explain here that Emma is perfectly capable of getting in the car herself, and that my original plan to cut down on the "soakage", if you will, was to have her get herself in while I strapped in Nicky and then make a mad dash for the driver's seat. Of course things didn't go as planned. When do they ever with two small kids?
Anyway, while I was getting Emma strapped in and STILL getting rained on, I was angrily rattling off about how frustrated I was, and how I was upset at Emma for not listening to me in the first place, and how as a result, I was getting wetter and wetter by the minute. And in the course of my rambling, I said a classic "mom-ism". It wasn't my finest example of parenting, but anyone who has kids knows that in those moments when you are frustrated, soaking wet, and slightly angry, things come out of your mouth that not only have no contextual relevance, but are just plain stupid. It went something like this, "Emma, despite what you may think, the world does not revolve around you and your whims."
Emma's totally straight faced answer: "Yes it does."
I started laughing so hard I almost choked. Leave it to my almost 3 year old daughter to hand me a healthy dose of perspective and levity just when I need it most. She's a bold little thing, and I know she didn't realize why it was funny. But man, I had a good laugh on the way home about that one. And as I drove, I thought, "I should probably notify NASA that the world has taken on a new orbit, and at the center of it is a fiery little star I like to call Emma."