It’s one of those deceiving sunny January days in Michigan. The sun is glinting off the snow on our driveway (but not off any of our retired neighbors’ who shovel or snow blow within hours of snow falling). Though our driveway sparkles now, it is the least clean driveway in the neighborhood whether it’s winter, spring, summer, or fall. But, I like to comfort myself with the thought that their driveways were likely not so tidy when their little ones were riding their bikes up and down the cul-de-sac, or smooshing ant hills in the sidewalk cracks, or helping them rake leaves.
Nevertheless, our driveway sparkles today in the sun, the wind is cheek-chapping, and the air smells heavy with winter and her snow. So, it is a lovely day to be tucked in my home, sitting next to a pile of sheets that need to be folded and working on lesson plans. In the afternoon both our girls are tucked away for nap and quiet time. Baby C naps for several hours in the afternoon, and Big Girl A, though four now, still has quiet time during which she either plays quietly in her room with quiet-time boxes I’ve made or down in our basement play room. So, the afternoon is my laundry-folding, house-cleaning, writing, lesson-planning, meal-cooking, running-around-doing-everything-I-can time. Today, as the window panes rattled with winter whirly winds, my fingers clickety-clacked away on the laptop getting plans reading for class next week. Until, from the basement, I heard a whimper. Sometimes Big Girl A gets quite involved in her imaginary play, so I imagined one of her babies was crying or a stuffed puppy was whining. After hearing the noise again, I glanced down the stairs to see my sweet blondie curled up on the bottom step holding her stomach.
Of course, I rushed downstairs to find out what was wrong, and discovered, through her big tears, that Big Girl’s tummy was really hurting, and no, she did not need to go potty. Our plans for the week quickly flashed before my eyes as I imagined trading them in for Lysol, pretzels, and Pedialyte (record number of flu cases around us). Well, upon further reflection, I realized she was simply having hunger pains as she hadn’t eaten since breakfast. At lunch, she was too much of a princess to eat dinner- leftovers, though they were good enough for seconds last night, so, she went hungry. And now, her stomach was aching from hunger—a feeling she hadn’t yet experienced in her four years of life. I got her a “healthy snack” and her tummy was tip-top in a few minutes.
Her little legs hung from the couch, and toes tapped against the side while she crunched her rice cakes, and I had to push back a rising lump in my throat. What about the mothers who hear their daughters’ cries, daughters who are familiar with hunger pains, and can do nothing? We shop bargains, discounts, use coupons, mix milk with water when we’re running low, sometimes eat black bean soup towards the end of the month, but anytime we desire to fill our stomachs, or our daughters’, we can. Perspective. Blessed–full snack-cupboard. Toddler bowls I can fill.