Every day after school, she asks me if I’ve checked the mail. Every day I tell her no. We then proceed to our next stop and pick up our Bigs and our carpool friend. Every day Lucy then asks me if we can check the mail. Every day I say yes and smile and hand her the key as I pull over to the mailboxes, her daily tormentors. These mailboxes – they mock her. They sadden and they grieve her. She hates these mailboxes and then she tries a different tack. She’s cheerfully manipulative and sunnily, as she makes her way toward these witholding metal boxes, out surely to thwart the fulfillment of her joy, she calls over her shoulder, wish me luck! And then she’s angry again as she sorts through that day’s contents only to find that all the Universe conspires against her to squash her sunshiney joy.
She’s ordered an American Girl bathtub, complete with dazzling artificial pink bubbles. Daily, she pages through the American Girl catalogue, which is dog-eared and tattered from all the loving perusal it’s undergone. She saves her allowance each week and painstakingly works her financial way toward more American Girl paraphernalia. She hates that in its company name though, it excludes her Canadian devotedness and says so regularly. When she’s grouchy, American Girl’s lack of Canadian-ness is oft lamented.
So she’s just now in that heady, unusual position of actually having ordered something from this precious catalogue of hers. And now she waits and she decries the state of the nearby Canadian border crossing, which has almost certainly mistaken her beloved bath tub for a kilo or two of cocaine. She’s indignant to be mistaken for a drug dealer. She wonders aloud if maybe one of these selfish border guards has taken her bath tub home for his own, undeserving little girl to play with. She vows that she’ll check it out very carefully for signs of clandestine play when it finally arrives. I listen to her and if I’m feeling gracious, I laugh at her nine-year-old obsessiveness. If I’m tired of hearing all these same conjectures time and time again, I don’t laugh and instead, I tell her abruptly one more time about the concept of a postal tracking number. And then I tell her not to talk about it anymore for today and a fairy-tale mother’s smile does not light up my saintly face.
But really, she’s so cute. And she’s learning so much. I love her more – much more – than I love myself and I’m so pleased that it’s me God has chosen to show her how to grow to be a patient shopper and so much more. What a beautiful duty. What a blessed woman.