After arriving at the home front, Shannon told me that once she compiled a list of the materials she would need for Bible school, we would have to make another foray to acquire these supplies. She looked at the children and shook her head. “I just hope I don’t have to kill the girls while we’re out; they’ve been climbing all over my nerves for the past three days.”
I had a prophetic vision of the shopping trip ahead of us, along with the yellow police tape that would follow, and knew what needed to be done. “I’ll stay with the girls and you can go shopping alone, or you can send me out with a shopping list.” In one of life’s odd little mysteries, she chose to go by herself.
For the first 30 minutes we were fine, but as always happens among siblings and politicians, bickering arose.
“Traci! Savannah’s coloring the paper that goes on the starburst background, and that one’s mine! Tell her she has to hand it over!”
“But I’ve already started the first letter in blue, so I should be allowed to finish it!”
I stepped in to referee, but it was obvious that this was only the trailer for a full length film. Thinking that the lack of an audience might put a damper on all the yelling and theatrics, I stepped around the corner to help Sadie create more monstrous bead necklaces. That lasted about six Mississippi’s.
“Traci! Savannah pinched my leg!”
“Traci! Sydney took the purple marker I was using!”
“Traci! Savannah said ‘Stew’!”
I didn’t even understand that last one. Maybe this household had some strange taboo about synonyms for soup, but what I really wanted to say was, “So? Aunt Traci doesn’t give a …” and teach them a real word off the No No S list. But of course I kept these impulses under wraps and managed to outlast them until their father and Shannon pulled in soon after.
Supper was a concoction that Nathan had made that Shannon and I loved and the girls hated. It was a summertime chicken salad with various fruits and nuts, and the girls began a boycott as soon as it hit their plates. Sydney moaned and twisted in her chair and finally asked for the ingredients of what she considered to be cuisine in need of a skull and crossbones label.
Nathan fired off the list in rapid succession, and Sydney did her best to identify what she heard. But the word nectarine really threw her for a loop.
“Cola-recta-me? What’s that?”
We started snorting, but I did manage to say, “That’s a horrible medical test they make you endure once you turn 50.” She just shrugged and smiled her sweet smile before moving onto her backup jelly sandwich.
Shannon brought a blueberry dessert to the table, but Sadie slipped away. As I was halfway through my cream cheese ambrosia, I heard an imperious, little voice ring out from a nearby bathroom.
“Traci! I want you to come wipe me!”
I turned to Shannon, who was shaking her head. “Please don’t tell me I have to do that during dessert.”
Shannon took a spoonful of blueberries and replied, “Nah. She knows how to do it herself.”
Strangely enough, I dropped my fork.
© 2012 – Traci Carver