…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.
“You want to wear purple?”
She grabs my finger and starts to drag me from the Keurig, down the darkened hallway and back to her room. The Ikea dresser drawers are pulled open and the rainbow of shirts now sit half in and out. Her sister snores softly from the nest of the bed they share, tangled in the cranberry and cream striped afghan my Grandmother had made decades ago. Continuing to sleep despite the overhead light and company.
Pulling the red canvas stool over to the drawers, I settle in for the conversation. At first glance I see no clean purple shirts to make this morning’s dressing go smoothly. Pulling the reds, yellows, gray and pinks out of the drawer I start to look more closely for a purple star, stripe or polka-dot to appease her before she dives into the dirty laundry pile for yesterday’s purple Wonder Woman shirt. Last year we would come together daily for this dance over yellow. It got to the point where as her birthday neared, Lovey and I scoured the internet for a pair of yellow sneakers. Something to support her still-learning-to-run-and-jump feet in the favored color that would keep all of our dispositions as equally sunny over the daily request as the color itself. Eventually we settled on pink sneakers with some striping. The best we could do.
Of course, then, they weren’t purple. As summertime rolled around the purple consignment sale Crocs became her daily ware and kept the mornings tantrum free. Until, the back strap broke. And we all cried just a little.
Pushing the shirt drawer closed I suggested we try for purple pants.
“Yeah! Pants. Purple.” reaching over my hands, she grabs the purple shorts on top. As I look up I try to remember what the fall forecast calls for. Here in the south, come October, our mornings are awfully chilly, but by afternoon the shorts would be fine.
As I lean down to stretch them wide for her to slip them on, her still tiny starfish hands press into my shoulders and her forehead bumps up against mine. “Momma. My Momma.” She pauses to wriggle her way into my lap, forgetting the shorts and the pressed time of a weekday morning. This time I stop and pull her up just as Zuzu starts to yawn and stretch.
“Rise and shine, and give God your glory-glory…” The childhood song rises up from my memory and throat with Zuzu’s strawberry blonde head as she crawls out of bed and presses herself grumpily into our circle. The Quail realizes we’ve shifted onto her purple shorts and starts to protest. Zuzu grunting, presses in between the Quail and I harder. Separating them, and myself from my temper; I hug Zuzu and ask what color she wants to wear today. She says it’s too early and she thinks she should just stay home. I agree it is early, but that tomorrow is a home day, today is a spelling test. Surprisingly this redirects her into chatter of her new reading group, the field trip pictures Ms. Jensen showed on the pro-board, last Friday’s flu shots and a pair of striped shorts. The Quail flings her yellow nightgown on the pile of laundry in the hall and runs to the kitchen…
”Dada. Bite-bites. No Momma.”
Zuzu runs to the living room avoiding my instructions to start brushing her hair and I pick up the scraps of laundry along with myself and head out into the day.