Tuesday, June 24, 2008


About a year ago Margaret and I were in the car alone. I'm not sure why, but I might have been rewarding her for good behavior and letting her ride with me to the dump down the road.

Why the children enjoy riding in a van loaded with sometimes drippy and often stinky trash bags is a mystery to me. Nevertheless they consider themselves honored above all men if I select one or two of them to accompany me to this fly-infested location to dump our trash.

I used to keep our van stocked with necessities of every kind: diapers, wipes, bibs, bottled water, lotion, ointments, saline solution, nose spray, ibuprofen, liquid acetaminophen, cough drops, eye drops, Kleenex, paper towels and--of course, band aids.

On the occasion I was riding with Margaret I happened to have a striped band aid lying in the bottom of the cup tray. Margaret must have noticed this as she entered the car because after getting only a little ways down the road she asked, "Mom, can I have that thing in the cup tray?"

I looked down, "You mean this?" I held it up for her to see.


It was stripy and colorful. I imagined she could find some part of her body to stick it to so I handed it to her. No doubt I mused that these are the little perks the children look forward to when they get their individual "mommy-time" on the way to the dump.

Often the children quietly look out the window. LMark is the quietest. Max points out unique cars or large construction vehicles. Ella never stops talking. She goes from one topic to the next, usually without finishing her previous thought, and begins the next idea with, "Oh, guess what?" Since she rarely finishes one tale before starting the next, I am often left "guessing what."

Margaret, on this occasion was more quiet than usual. I often look back on these few quiet moments and wonder what she was thinking as she unwrapped the band aid and sat in the back seat thoughtfully chewing it.

Perhaps it was, "Where is the jungle fruit flavor?"

Instead, she asked:

"Mom, are you sure this is gum?"