All day long, while we did the routine, and not-so-routine things that make up a Saturday, E was busy working on something in her room. I’ve heard the warnings before. “Don’t look, Mom!” “You can’t come into my room right now Mom!” “Are you peeking? Because I think you’re peeking!” She’s always working on some project or another, and she enjoys the grand reveal as much or more than the creative process itself. At some point in the afternoon she brought her dad on board who gamely tried to tape her winter scarf to the door casing in a sort-of streamer like fashion…with scotch tape. He didn’t complain once when he had to reattach it once every twenty minutes.
The beauty of most five-year-olds is their ever present gullibility. It didn’t matter a bit to her that I actually picked up confetti-like pieces off her floor and sent the robotic vacuum on its way in her room while she lounged in the tub. “I’m not looking at anything!” was a sufficient disclaimer. And other than the folded paper on the table and the drooping scarf at the door, it wasn’t very apparent what she had up her sleeve.
She asked to borrow an envelope and then sealed something inside and affixed a postage stamp in the correct corner. “I need an address from you,” she asked, but was cagey when I tried to dig deeper. “It’s for my friend,” she told me, but I wasn’t convinced. I sent off a quick email to her friend’s mom to let her know that something unknown was on its way. Bedtime was nearing. The hushed whisperings were getting louder. I was banned one last time from her room and I took up a magazine in the other, waiting.
A few minutes later, the freshly scrubbed and pajamed kid came slinking into the room, dropping a folded note at my feet before dashing back to her bedroom. The note said:
Dear Mom, I love you all the way to the moon and back. Plesse come to a superis partey in E’s room. Love, E.
The next page had a lovely drawing of the three of us standing in a park together, looking expectantly at an empty baby swing. I approached her closed door where the scarf had once again been attached, and a paper welcome mat that said “Welcome Mom” was taped to the threshold. I knocked and announced that I was there for the party and when I was told to come in, they jumped to their feet from behind the bed with a giant banner that said “Superis!” “Welcome to your baby shower!” she exclaimed, and then pulled out another drawing and handed it to me with a flourish. “And what would a party be without cake?” she cried.
I was touched to no end that she had worked so hard on this party. It made no difference that there were no gifts, no real party, no guests. She confessed that her letter wasn’t actually to her friend, but to his mother, and she let us slip the envelope open and read her note. It said “Dear A, Plesse come to a superis baby shower for my mom. My house number is (full address!) and my fone number is (full number!) Love, E” She let me know that this was the dry run for the party, but she felt sure that we’d have real guests, maybe even by next Tuesday. She was so happy that I had come, and told me what a wonderful job I was doing while I was pregnant.
There are few days when I feel like I’m doing a wonderful job at anything. I give it my best go at home and at work and at being healthy and some days there are just tears, and projects undone, and breakfasts lost and I wonder how I’m going to get through the day.
And then I have a Saturday like this one, with the kindhearted gesture of my biggest cheerleader, and I know I’m doing something, something pretty well.