“Mom this trip would be funner if I had a girl friend with me…” the doll explained “I know doll but flights are expensive and we literally have no place for another person. We are packed in like sardines” I replied. “I know…just saying.” Years ago, my inlaws purchased a 2-bedroom time share in Daytona Beach, Florida, which is large enough for 6 to sleep comfortably. The cast of characters on our adventure this year included my mother in law, brother in law, husband, kids and I. As such, the doll was paired up to sleep with her Grandmother, while the boy slept on a pull out bed and my brother inlaw slept on a blow up mattress. In the past this hasn’t been a problem. But in the last year, the doll has decided all adults are weird and condescending, which unfortunately includes her Grandmother. “Mom, why did she have to order to me bed at 11:00? I know this is my bedtime. Plus, isn’t that your job?” The doll complained. “Well doll, she’s looking out for Daddy and uncle E. You know you don’t stop being a mother at any age” I tried to explain. “I know, but she’s driving me nuts!” She replied. “Doll, you need to be nicer to your Grandmother” I told her, which she relunctanly agreed. Then a short time later I’d catch her rolling her eyes at something Grammy uttered or said in her direction and all bets were off.
As such, her prickliness toward her grandmother made me her new best friend, which I have to admit, I relished. One night we took a long walk along the ocean, just after sunset. Off in the distance we watched a thunderstorm roll across the ocean. The doll turned on her IPod and explained, “I can make some really cools screenshots from the lightening bolts”. I smiled at how creative my daughter had become and asked her to email me a few of them too. We walked a little farther when I decided to broach a subject she usually doesn’t want to talk about: her brother. “Doll, you need to be nicer to your brother” I began. “UGH Mom, way to ruin a perfectly good walk.” She replied. Laughing I said, “I know baby, yes he’s annoying and can smell really bad. But could you please cut him some slack? He’s got feelings too and you yell at him about everything.” “BECAUSE HE’S ANNOYING ME!” She replied. “Be that as it may….he’s different than a lot of kids… you kow that… it’s hard for him to make friends… and you understand he’s socially awkward while trying to make friends. But you don’t need to demonstrate to others how to dislike him as well” I tried to explain.
Not wanting to listen she bolted about 15 yards up the beach, ahead of me. I continued walking along, picking up my stride until I was almost even with her. Tapping her on the opposite shoulder, making her look the wrong way, I laughed and then ran on ahead. “UGH!!” She screamed and then quickly ran past me putting more distance between us. This time I walked behind, watching her walk along the shore line, stopping to take pictures of something that interested her. We both came across three giggly tween girls who had caught a small crab and didn’t know what to do with it. I smiled at the memory of my once small children doing the same thing. When we finally reached the time share and were safely on the elevator she turned to me and said, “Mom, that poor crab” and smiled.
Smiling back I said,”Yeah….” thinking not about the beach animal, but rather the redheaded crab across from me.