We recently moved. I cannot begin to describe to you how many boxes this produced. I think they might have started emulating rabbits when we weren’t looking. And, it being five days before earth day, and me being me, and the world being what it is, I didn’t want to toss all that perfectly recyclable cardboard into the trash.
I just couldn’t bring myself to.
So, the piles of broken down boxes got bigger. And there were more of them. And more of them. And I’d already filled my trunk with boxes. So many, many boxes. I lack the words.
So, I had to find the recycling center. In fact, I’ve needed to for a couple of weeks now. And I kept putting it off because driving around here is a little daunting. I mean really, people, turn signals and stopping distances. Also, that red light does mean stop. Really, truly. Promise.
Today, the desire for floor space without corrugation outweighed the desire to avoid the lunatic drivers of the Silicon Valley. So, we loaded up the car and set out.
Or rather, after an “I can’t dress myself” tantrum played itself out and she effortlessly dressed herself, we set out.
We found the recycling center. We recycled our boxes. Yay!
Which brought us to our second, highly anticipated, errand. The car wash.
The car looked a little as though we had an aggressive vendetta against the local bug population and that it (the car) was our preferred weapon. It was coated with a layer of bugs. And dirt. And chocolate. Don’t ask. I don’t even know. But yes. Chocolate. All over the trunk of my car.
The car wash is one of those things that Fiona really enjoys. Unfortunately for me, she’s likes the automatic drive through ones. And, for the life of me, I can’t find one of those in this town. I tried. Google failed me. Yelp failed me. I haven’t met enough people to have someone to ask. I thought about putting it off, but… chocolate. So, I took her to a diy place.
She loved it. She followed me around the car, staying inside the washing bay, dodging the water and giggling until she almost fell down when the mist from the spray caught her. I’m pretty sure that it’s important for me to say that as intensely as she feels the negatives in life, that she feels all of the good stuff just as much. So, when she giggles it’s infectious and irrepressible and pretty much the penultimate little girl laugh.
So, we washed our car to the tune of joy unrestrained.
Then we vacuumed. Which also desperately needed to be done. How do these things even get inside my car? Really, confetti? Really? I don’t even know.
And she helped me vacuum. I showed her how to move the seats (electronic) and she moved the seats back and forth for me so that I could get under them and she helped put the trash in the trash and the junk in the bag that I’d brought for it. And honestly, she made the whole thing easier. This wasn’t your average toddler “helping”. She actually helped.
I know. Cue my amazed face.
And we got into the car and I remembered that I need to swing by the store today and get more shaving cream for the husband and more bananas. So I told her, “Fiona, next we’re going to swing off at the store and grab a couple of things. It’ll be quick.”
And she told me, “Not the store. I don’t like the store.”
Now, you might not get why this is so important to me. She doesn’t really ever tell me what she likes or doesn’t like unless I ask. And she never calmly tells me when she doesn’t want something. Never. She usually just starts crying. Or yelling. Or says nothing and then is completely impossible. So this is big for me.
“You don’t want to go to the store?” I asked her.
“No,” she said.
“Okay,” I agreed. “How about we just go home, and I’ll go to the store after Daddy is home and you can just stay home with him?”
“Yes!” she smiled at me in the rearview mirror, “That’s great! I get to hang out with Daddy!”
And we came home. And it was good. And I didn’t drag my girl through a store. And she didn’t throw a tantrum. And I’m no longer fighting a sea of corrugated cardboard. And my car is no longer wearing chocolate and insect guts.
And it’s the little victories that make all the difference.