The lock down has eased somehow but fueled by articles and images of children suffering from COVID-19 which may or may not even validated, I’m still a bit apprehensive taking Raven out in public places.
Back in the good old days, we used to go to the library a lot after my work. It was just me and her while Jeff went around skating. She liked the library because of the computer games she could play in there. I liked it because it was warm and I could read my book in peace for like, two minutes, before she calls, “hey mama, look what I draw!”
So I lied. I rarely get any reading done when I’m there. Either she’s asking for my attention or something else is. So if you take reading out of the equation, I’m just there for the heater.
Same reason I married Jeff.
This was during one of our “girl bonding” days. I remember it like it was just last week because the collages have been sitting in my to blog folder for ages and I have kicked myself a lot of times for not doing so. Also, I don’t exactly have a photographic memory so if I can barely remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, chances are, what happened last week will also be foggy as hell.
Thus, the whole point of this blog: to constantly refresh my memory on the goings-on in my life should I, one day, wish to look back and marvel at photos of me radiating with that youthful glow I may someday only claim through throwback pics.
We were about to go to Dandenong library on this day. It was a Sunday, I remember now. Because the library closes at 5pm and the moment we walked through the revolving door, an announcement was made over the PA system: they were closing down in 10 minutes.
I don’t know if it was my fault for taking my sweet time at Officeworks prior to. Or that it took her a long time to wake up from her nap whilst in the car. Either way, for all her excitement, the library was obviously not happening. So we did
our my next favourite thing: Chemist Warehouse, where we ogled at all things girly and pretty.
“Look, mama, this unicorn pattern is so cute!” she said of the nail file. Her mouth formed into a little pout as she scrunched her tiny face into that adorable facial expression to emphasize and elongate the word cuuute.
We weren’t supposed to buy anything but we walked away with a bottle of bubble bath soap for her and a plain brown headband for me. And because she wanted one as well, I bought her a sparkly one with a blue bow, too.
On that day, I was especially glad to have a daughter to share girly stuff with. It’s like having a BFF where you do everything together. Only that you pay for everything too.
This bag of Crayola Scribble Scrubbies Salon Set wasn’t in the plan either when we decided to wait for Jeff at Target. But it was my reward for her for being so patient, which kind of undermines the whole lesson but, whatever. She deserved it.
Back story: As soon as we got to Target, of course she wanted to hit the toys section straight away. I had some items I wanted to check out thus, the dilemma.
“Listen,” I struck a deal with her. “Mama’s turn first and then you get your turn after I’m done, okay?”
“Okay,” she replied, quietly tailing behind me without any fuss whatsoever. That really touched me, you know. For her not to give me tantrums or a tough time just so she would get her way.
Which is why I always make it a point to follow through with whatever promise I make to her. I think it’s that element of trust. That she would not be left with the raw end of the bargain. I’m not above apologizing to her either if, for some reason, I can’t deliver. She has my respect and until further notice, I like to think I have hers too.
And so she spent the next 15 minutes exploring Barbies, playing with musical toys, and basically jumping from one colorful distraction to another. Aisle after aisle, I trailed her like she trailed me. Expressing her interest in certain toys by holding them a little bit longer, looking at them with a bit more sparkle in her eyes.
NOT ONCE DID SHE ASK ME TO BUY THEM.
I looked at her looking at the toys she obviously wanted and my heart swelled with pride for having such a beautiful soul for a kid.
“You wanna buy that one, baby?” I asked, testing her.
“Yes!” Her eyes widened with excitement.
“How about we save up first and get it some other time?” I say, subscribing to the idea of teaching kids the value of patience by making them wait.
“Okay, mama,” she replied, putting it gently back on the shelf.
And just like that, my self-righteous parental defenses crumbled. “You know what, let’s get it!” Because fuck it, she deserves it. I’ll teach her patience some other time but right now, I just want to see her happy. And that’s exactly what I did.
And because it was too late to cook dinner and because I hate cooking, we stopped by at Jessie’s Pizza in Doveton where we always order our pizza from.
The. Best. Pizza. In. This. Side. Of. Town.
The owners are a husband and wife team. The wife is a Filo, too, so we’ve sort of developed a friendly familiarity with them over the course of our takeaways week after week, month after month.
“The usual?” They don’t even have to ask.
We were given the privilege of a quick tour at the back on this night. Which pretty much meant a photoshoot and Jeff was happy to oblige. He knows his roles and responsibilities now. I trained him well.
Also, while waiting for our order, Raven and I managed to turn this corner into our very own reading nook, where I read to her the story of Max the seagull who was conveniently friends with the owner of the fish n’ chips shop and how one day the shop was boarded shut, leaving Max the seagull missing the owner and his free supply of chips.
They must have been excellent chips because since then, Max was on a journey to look for his friend. I can’t remember what happened next but I think the book had a happy ending, although there was no word about his cholesterol level after their miraculous reunion. There’s only so much chips a bird can eat, after all.
*Raven at 3 years old