Time to squeeze in a September date with my Bubba! With daddy out of commission, leg in a walking cast, no driving allowed, this month went a little sideways, starting with the first day of preschool.
Since I needed to drive you to school anyway, (a “practice day”/open house), why not make a date of it? (And you KNOW I’m taking pictures of the first day of class!) So we headed out with enough time for lunch, and plans for a Costco trip after to make sure the house was stocked with food. I love you embrace the excitement of each date with enthusiasm, even when our “grand adventures” aren’t that grand.
I silently took note, once again, as your four-year-old self shook off the disappointment of learning we were too early for a lunch menu, and ordered the world’s largest ‘kid-sized’ pancake with strawberries and whipped cream. Three year old you wouldn’t have weathered that transition quite so tearlessly. You prepped my coffee for me, slightly distracted by the football game on tv (any guesses where the tv was located?) and scarfed down your entire pancake.
Astonishingly, we were early for school, so sat in the van and read a Pokemon book until it was time to head in. You met your new teacher, made your nametag for the year, then made a bee-line for the water table where you tried to convince all your friends to join you. Then it was circle art, checking the world outside, and finally some pyramid building before we headed for the store.
At Costco, you wanted to ride in the cart. I kept trying to convince you to sit on the bag we brought to prevent you from getting a “waffle butt” from the cart. Several times you scooted off, then asked why I cared if you had “pancake butt.” I decided I didn’t, really, because who could hate pancakes?
We found you a new winter coat, which you insisted on wearing through the store, commenting that it kept you nice and warm in the cold veggie room. You stopped to taste some caramel corn samples, plopping down in front of the Spam display.
You were pretty excited about your ability to help, hauling bread off the shelves into the cart, helping to offload the cart onto the belt, and finally, helping me load the car. Teamwork at its finest.
I was recently on a parenting forum where a mom was wondering what she should be “working on” with her two year old. She got some great advice from some experienced moms–and most repeated the refrain, “Take him with you, talk about the world, let him try things, help him navigate the world around him, let him feel capable.”
There are times I feel bad when our dates consist of haphazard collections of errands rather than specific activities, but at the end of the day, it’s easy to see that these times are every bit as important. There’s value in finding joy and purpose in the mundane. In letting you stretch beyond your reach to see if maybe you can reach just a little farther than you used to. And, as a photographer, I find the more I look for beauty in the every day, the more I see it. Even in the awful light of Costco.