My older daughter, Katie and I were in the car yet again. We were headed home, exhausted and full.
We've been chasing down adventure after adventure while Katie's little sister, Brooke is at ESY camp. Yesterday took us to Newport, Rhode Island, where we toured the Breakers and imagined life as Vanderbilts in the Gilded Age.
As we walked out of the grand estate, Katie said, "Mama, now that I've seen a mansion, I think I'd like to live in one." She stopped for a moment, then added, "They do come with the staff, right?"
After touring the house and wandering the cliffs, we'd made our way into the harbor town. We had lunch at the pier, stopped to taste the homemade fudge at the fudge shop and roamed through EVERY SINGLE boutique along Thames Street.
In the very last shop of the day, Katie found an adorable, hand-knitted mermaid that she declared on the spot to be the cutest thing she'd ever seen in all of her nine (and nearly a half, Mama!) years. She informed me that we absolutely, positively could not even think about leaving without buying the mermaid for Brooke. Brooke, she said with full dramatic flair, could not live another day without her.
As we walked through the shop, she gave me the eyes. Oh, c'mon, you know the eyes. The golden retriever, please, please, please throw this ball just one more time eyes. Yeah, those. She recruited the shop girls for the effort, who were only too happy to oblige. She bargained. She swore to make my bed and wash my car. She offered to use her own money, which would cover a quarter of the cost of the doll. She had everyone in the store rooting for her. One of them asked if she'd like a job.
Finally she let out a deep breath and said, "Mama, can you PLEASE just admit that you're going to eventually give in and agree to get her and then we can just skip all of this?" The entire staff disolved into fits of laughter. Someone said, "She's got your number, huh?" Um, yeah.
So there we were, driving home with the mermaid in tow. Oh, what? Like you would have left it behind?
"Mama," Katie asked, "Do you think she'll love it?" She didn't wait for my answer. "I really think she'll love it. I mean, you know, like the way SHE loves things. I mean, she might just take it and not say anything and then I'll say, 'Do you like it, Brooke?' and she'll say, 'I do,' and then just put it down and not look at it again. But then in like three days she'll start to pick it up again once she's gotten used to it. And then she'll want to sleep with it and then we'll know that she really DOES love it, right?"
I laughed. "You really know your sister, don't you, baby?"
Katie was quiet for a moment as we drove.
"Mama," she began. "Brooke really does love me, doesn't she?"
I took in a deep breath. "Yes, baby. Brooke loves you a lot."
"Even though she shows it in some odd ways, it's HER ways, you know, Mama?"
"Yes, baby," I answered, "I know."
I pushed back the tears and drove. We had a mermaid to deliver.
Jess can be found at diary of a mom where she writes about life with her daughters - Katie, a neuro-typical nine year-old and Brooke, a seven year-old who has autism - and her husband Luau.