It was a wonderful visit. Little Iris is quite a thinker. They talk to her as if she can understand everything, and I have to say, I'm quite convinced that she very nearly does. On her parent's date night, she helped them pack and they explained that they were going out to eat at a restaurant (side note: it has been over a year since Iris has eaten in a restaurant and she was very interested in that). They were going to spend the night at an inn, but Grandma was staying at home with her and they would have SO. Much. Fun!
They asked her if she would like to watch Peter Pan and have pop corn for her special night with grandma, and the answer was a resounding 'Yes!'. Turns out that Irises love popcorn with every fiber of their being. So Iris gleefully came downstairs crowing about 'Popcorn! Popcorn! Popcorn!'
Everyone laughed and her daddy explained that popcorn would come after supper.
Preparations for the night out continued and Iris and I tried our best to help and stay out of the way as the situation called for it. Finally it was time for them to go, and we stood at the window to wave goodbye as their car backed out of the driveway.
I set Iris on the floor and she immediately headed for the kitchen. "Want to eat now!'
It should be noted that Iris must be preparing for a growth spurt because that small child was packing away enormous amounts of food while I was there. A hearty breakfast, followed by a midmorning snack, followed by lunch's first course. Followed by lunch proper, followed by a third course about an hour later, followed by supper and a bedtime snack. So 'want to eat now!' is a familiar phrase in the kingdom of that particular princess.
She wanted some of the 'asta that her mother had fixed just the way she liked it, with hamburger and mushrooms and peppers and onions and tomatoes. I asked her if she wanted broccoli and she told me that she wanted a banana. I prepared everything. I was having thai take out and so I had my green curry. We sat down at the table together, Iris took a couple bites of her banana and announced that she was done with supper.
I looked at her, a bit surprised. She didn't look back. She was clambering off her chair and heading for to the kitchen.
She looked at me, brighteyed and cheerful. "I all done with supper. Want popcorn now!"
The little stinker.
It was great fun though. For Valentine's day, I had sent her a piece of plastic that attaches to the window. It casts a large rainbow on the ceiling every sunny morning. As the hours pass the rainbow 'travels' down the wall, into the laundry room, down the hall, across the basement door, the door to the garage, and across the wall of the family room. That is a dreadfully exciting thing when you are not yet three, and the moment the sun had moved to the point that she could actually touch that rainbow herself was simply thrilling.
There were all sorts of small moments like that, and they were so very joyful, for both of us. That's what I miss the most: those tiny, perfectly ordinary thrills of her perfectly ordinary days. There are dogs to be fed, which she does herself. 'Baby plants' in the basement that wait patiently for her to switch on their grow lights. The gerbera daisy I bought her for her bedroom needs watered. She likes being busy. She likes helping.
It was a beautiful 6 days.
The miracles were not over though.
On the last day, we cheerfully said our goodbyes (grandma saved her wistful wishing and teary eyes for the car) and she waved goodbye. She had a busy day in front of her. She and her mother were going to work the dirt in the garden and then they were going to the LIBRARY! To get new BOOKS! To bring them HOME!
Grandma drove out of town, and started off on the hour and a half drive to the interstate. As she headed out of town, she reached for the mapquest directions, the same ones used for every trip ever taken to Blandon. Except she couldn't find them. Anywhere. I have been pretty sure right along that I no longer actually needed them, but it was always a comfort to have them, Just in case.
The miracle is that I got myself home, a 260 mile trip, without those instructions.
I got back into my own little town about 2:30. I stopped at the store to get a bag of lentils and a package of frozen spinach and some bread to toast. In my driveway at 2:45, smoked sausage in the pot simmering, carrots, celery, onions, garlic sauteed and tossed in with the simmering sausage, frozen spinach added along with the lentils.
I went through the house with the sweeper, did some quick tidying up. My sister was on call and staying in town.
We all sat in the kitchen and visited while I made up the yogurt for the week.
Is there anything more wonderful than family?
Another miracle is I continue to lose weight. I only lost a pound this week but it is steady progress in the right direction despite the green curry Saturday night and the Mexican food I had delivered Monday night as a special treat before I left.
There is also another miracle. One of the jobs that needed doing when I got home was watering my plants. I moved from room to room removing the dead stuff and watering and much to my surprise, I have another avocado tree growing! Several times throughout the years, I have tried to grow one from the pits, using the toothpicks and the glass of water. I've never been successful. Pondering it, I decided that Mother Nature did things a bit differently. The pits fell on the ground and they either grew or they didn't. So I began just pushing the pits down into soil of my potted plants. Much to my delight, I got an avocado plant growing in with my Christmas cactus. I let it get about two feet tall, and then tried to repot it. It showed its gratitude by promptly dying, and it broke my heart a little. Rushing around getting the house back to rights before Tim got home and my sister got here. I saw, once again, an avocado in the Christmas cactus. It is about 6 inches tall.
Tim's company is continuing with shutdown plans, but the employees began leaving in droves, not waiting for the last minute. The problem is that, upon hearing that the plant was being shut down, the customers who ordered these pipeline compressors have submitted orders to stockpile spare parts. They are busy and don't have enough machinists. They've given the people who stay a $2 an hour raise effective immediately. They've offered a very nice severance package, to include 3 months of insurance to keep the people on the job. Another miracle. It looks as if Tim will make it for another year and 1 month.
I have applied for a job that I really want and I am hoping for just one more miracle.