This has been a lovely week, y'all! I've worked hard and also rested, cooked a lot and well, read and written daily, put together a photo book from the holiday, and nearly finished my thank you notes.
Do you write thank you notes? In my humble opinion, you most definitely should. It is not an art or formality that should be lost!
Today, just before 1:30pm, I was talking to a a friend when my call waiting showed the school nurse on the other line. From the moment Oliver sighed forlornly this morning and asked if I'd noticed how much his nose was running, I suspected he would later make his way to he nurse and ask to come home.
Both the nurse and I are on to my boys. In her words, "they really go to great lengths to spend time with you." Um, #truth. So, she does not call unless the kids feel truly lousy, as Mr. O did by 1:30.
Fortunately, he is the easiest, sweetest sick child on earth, and so I scurried to get him. "Bug, we have to go to the market, but it won't take long. Ok?"
We made our way through produce and dairy, and ended up at the fish counter. Tina was working, and while she bagged my shrimp (gorgeous ones fresh from Alabama!), Ol studied the fish.
"Mama, is that a sardine?"
"It sure is, Bug. How'd you know?"
"I just know what they look like, so I thought that might be one. Will you get me two shrimp and one sardine? I like shrimp, and I like to try new things, and I would like to try a sardine."
I'm doing a rapid calculus in my head: aren't sardines awfully oily? And is that the best choice for a kid with a crappy cold? But isn't it great that he wants to try it?!
"Sure, Bug!" And Tina chimes in with, "Do you want me to remove its head and guts?"
Ol replies, "Mama, can I cut his head off at home, and study his eyes and dissect him? And then you can cook him for me?"
Tina and I glance at each other, and I say sure and she tells him to pick the best one, and we walk to the checkout line, Ol holding his packaged sardine proudly in hand.
He hands it to the woman at the register and tells her the plan. She appears excited and puts his sardine in a little bag, just for him. The she asks, "Would you like some plastic gloves too?"
Ol beams beatifically and accepts three.
Once home, he dons his apron, and I set him up at the plastic-placemat-covered table with a cutting board, sharp knife, bowl of water and the sardine.
He is extremely excited. With great care, he slices into the "neck" area, and says, "This sardine has thick skin. Look mama, blood."
The blood doesn't bother me, but damn that sardine is pungent, and the more he cuts, the more oozes out and the fragrance intensifies.
He retrieves the eyes, spine, ribs and a fin. He studies the skull and says, "I don't think this sardine had a very big brain."
He soaks the bones and fin and shiny skin in the water and uses an old toothbrush to scrub the spine. He is so delicate, and I don't help him once. Not a single time.
"Mama, can I keep his head? And also the bones and skin? But I don't think we should cook this sardine. Next time I'll get one just to try."
We carefully slide his keepsakes into a ziploc and tuck it away in the freezer. And I smiled on my little bug, who never asks for the spotlight or much at all really, and I thought, "My how you're growing, and how lucky am I!"