Nadia is taking a rare long nap, the 2 hour kind that only happen when I am planning to go somewhere. I need to buy some more bread for lunch, to support our daily PB&J habit. Our ayi is at our home this morning, so I decide to just take the girls. After a few rounds of “put your socks on or else,” we head down the stairs.
The sky is gray – not “factory town” gray but “blustery autumn” gray. Despite the absence of any visible sun, the girls don pink Hello Kitty and racer flame sunglasses. We have good sandwich bread available at our nearby campus shop, so the girls climb on scooters and balance bikes to ride through campus.
People watch us everywhere we go, something I almost forget about it has become so normal. Students kindly dodge out of the way of swerving children with cries of “How cute! The little foreign dolls!” When we walk in the store the shop ladies and shopping students all smile indulgently. They no longer blink when we pile 5 packages of bread onto the counter, (about the equivalent of one loaf). They already know the crazy foreigners apparently live on bread alone.
We need to get back home, but the girls want to stop in the little copse of trees to find some leaves. I often hurry them along, driven by my own relentless internal clock, but today we pause. Maybe it is the crispness in the wind, or the autumn sky, or the sight of yellowing leaves, but I want to stop and soak in this moment when I am actually enjoying life instead of slogging through it.
We delight in yellow leaves in perfect heart shape and shudder at strange wiggly mushrooms. The girls fill the scooter basket with leaves and dandelions. Just as the wind blows the sun clear in the sky we walk and scooter and bike back home.
Nadia has just woken up from her nap and greets us with sleepy eyes. Adalyn grabs her hands and makes silly faces. Juliana finds a play milk bottle for the flowers and sits down to make leaf rubbings. I settle in to nurse Nadia. For this moment, no one is whining or screaming. The world pauses to appreciate the first tastes of Autumn.