She’s stalling so I set a timer. Ten more minutes ’til rest time.
I watch and listen to her play while I sneak a peek at my smartphone. So many e-mails to answer. An office to continue cleaning. Writing to revise. I force myself to put the phone down. Ten minutes will come quickly. This time will never come back.
She’s playing with her Old MacDonald tractor. I hear her babbling something about Old MacDonald going to Wegman’s to go shopping. Why is he grocery shopping? I have no idea. But I love trying to decode snippets of her independent play talk.
Suddenly, the timer goes off. She pretends not to hear it. She begins to line up Old MacDonald and his animals in front of the fridge. (Apparently the fridge is Wegman’s. Earlier the kitchen island was the Butterfly House at the Hershey Gardens to which Old MacDonald took another excursion.) It beeps. She doesn’t flinch. I grab my phone in an effort to capture her stall tactics in progress. And I do…
A little over two minutes after the timer went off, Old MacDonald was settled in a bed inside of the Little People’s house. I hurry Isabelle up the stairs to her bedroom. And that’s when she realizes something is missing.
“Schleppy!” she calls.
“Oh that’s right. He’s downstairs. I’ll get him.”
I hustle downstairs and grab the floppy bear. I bring him back upstairs to a little girl who professes her love for her bear as soon as she can squeeze him in her arms. “I love you, Schleppy, so much.”
I linger another minute. The e-mails can wait. The cleaning can wait. The revision can wait. I force myself to stay in the moment. This innocence. Loving a bear. Pretending to take Old MacDonald to the store. This will never happen in just this way again.