It's Just Like Cinderella

I was sweeping the floor this morning and found a small food dish for holding Cheerio's behind my hall table. It was 7 am and I was cleaning the house BEFORE work because after a full week, the neglect was reaching epic proportions. But a smile found my lips, when I saw that small food container. Two weeks ago I was left with a similar mess. Cheese covered macaroni noodles were stuck to the floor. There were so many dishes in the kitchen I couldn't find my counters. Two forgotten sippy cups had found their way into the hungry mouth of the space between the couch cushions. But bigger than all of that was the void left by the absence of 3 little voices. On that day I had just returned home from dropping off my sister and her 3 kids at the train station. Nieces and nephew aged  4, 2, and 1. One year old JJ had fallen fast asleep by the time we reached the station, but you should have seen the smiles splitting the faces of my two nieces as they headed for the train. They were off for a grand new adventure! So my sister and I smiled and waved, blowing kisses and impressively keeping the tears off of our faces, so happy with the time we had but not wanting to say goodbye.

My husband and I were honestly a little apprehensive about having the little crew invade our very un-childproof apartment! But in the short 24 hours we had together, I was delighted to see our city through the eyes of a child. Being from the middle of nowhere Montana, things like buses, apartments, and constantly sharing the street with masses of cars and people were all new concepts. We live in a 3 story U-shaped apartment building, with a courtyard in the middle. Our unit is a small apartment tucked into the northeast corner of our building. My ever inquisitive 4 year old niece could not figure out why on earth, if we had such a huge house, we always stayed in such a small part of it! I explained that other people lived behind all the other doors. This lead to her asking who lived behind EVERY door, including the laundry closet. We don't have an elevator in our building, and she commented when they first arrived - trying not to complain and more as an observation - that it takes A LOT of stairs to get to our house. Later we piled onto the bus to head to the zoo, and their faces were glued to the window. When she saw her first Lincoln Park sandstone rising stories high she gasped. "It's a castle! A king and queen must live there. Can you imagine how many stairs it must take them to get to the top of their house? It's just like Cinderella's!"

I was reminded that strainers, ladles, and measuring cups are instant bath toys. My 2 year old niece taught me that it is only proper to greet and bid farewell every animal you visit at the zoo. "Hello Camels!" And as we headed for the giraffes, "Goodbye, Camels!"

Also, you simply MUST take advantage of every occasion when you encounter someone who is the same height as you, to introduce yourself and then ask, "What's your name?" I now know that the most fun thing in my entire apartment is the 1970's La-Z-Boy chair that can spin in complete rotation round and round, and round and round again. (That and a 6 foot tall uncle playing monster, or laying the the floor to be crawled over like a felled tree.) And true to every child's heart, a bus ride was really the favorite thing of all, a true novelty, better even than cupcakes.

I think the constant reality of cheese pasta floors and stray sippy cups could be overwhelming. But 24 hours of it was pretty much the best thing ever.

Comments

  1. Couldn't have put it better myself, especially "the constant reality of cheese pasts floors and stray sippy cups" being overwhelming. But actually, it's a little wonderful too. :)

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  2. Thank you for sharing this Rachel, it couldn't have been said better! Missing all of them very much...

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  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts of some very memorable times! You are so right about seeing things through children's eyes. It gives one a whole new perspective. And yes I also miss them terribly.
    Love you and keep on writing!
    mom

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