written the last week of december in 1999 at st. teresa beach... this is my friend dina's favorite of the st. teresa sentiments. she still remembers my tirade against candyland....

I sat on a stool in the kitchen and watched Rosie take a bath in the sink for about 45 minutes last night. This was highly unusual for a couple of reasons. Number one because Rosie very rarely gets a bath (read on before you call Family Services). Remember she is child #3, and typically child #3 gets bathed as often as a full solar eclipse (or less depending on the hygiene requirements of the parents). Also, there is no tub down here, and the showering experience with a naked soapy squirming baby is only for the brave of heart (i.e., Evil Knievel). 

In reality, the shower experience down here is not that fun for anyone. The tiles are falling off of the shower wall, and one wall is completely covered in lovely Hefty Bag Decor (not a look I saw on the show "Bathrooms of Distinction" on the Home and Garden Channel) with duct tape holding it all together (you might be a redneck if...) And there is no portable heater in the bathroom so it tends to be a little chilly in there so I afraid that Rosie might catch a cold if I shower with her (see I told you not to call Family Services).

So tonight, she got a bath in the kitchen sink. This involves moving everything in a 20-foot radius off of the counter (she has quite a reach for little bitty thing). I put her in the sink with a plastic cup to play with and settled down on the kitchen stool that I used to sit on to watch my mom and grandmother in this very same kitchen. I couldn't go anywhere since she would certainly stand up and fall, or slip down into the water, or reach across the room and open the knife drawer and begin to juggle knives with the aplomb of a circus performer. There was absolutely nothing else to do in the kitchen with the sink full of wet soapy baby. So I just watched her. And here is what transpired...

Rosie filled the cup with water, drank from it, choked on the water, and then repeated the process at least a thousand times (not quite ready to take her SATs yet is she)? She splashed, laughed, and said mama and dada a lot. And that was basically a play by play recap of 45 minutes. Except that somewhere during that time I realized that I had never watched her for this long before without doing something else at the same time. When she bathed in our Dacula house, she sat in a bathing ring and Millie was in the tub to take charge. I could sit in our bedroom and fold laundry and keep an ear out for problems whilst watching exciting and educational programming such as Entertainment Tonight (where those lucky slobs most likely paid someone else to bathe their children, and they just breezed in wearing an attractive evening gown for a final good night kiss). But in my faded sweats I realized that maybe I was the lucky slob tonight (slob being the operative word). I got to watch Rosie swallow big gulps of water and spit them out only to try it again in 39 seconds, I got to hear her laugh as she splashed, I got to hear her say mama and dada. And maybe this was the most important thing in the world for me to be doing at 7:30 on the last Monday night in 1999. This was my world in the kitchen sink all 18 pounds of it soaking wet and spitting our water like a sieve and maybe just maybe I am learning the lessons that I am here to learn.

Now onto more unpleasant matters, the board game "Candyland," to be exact. The BORED game is more appropriate. I am convinced that there is a special section in hell reserved for the creator(s) of this game and for the sadistic guys at Milton Bradley who peddle it like it was well, a land filled with candy.

There is really no benefit to young children from playing Candyland, and certainly it must be detrimental to any adult who is suckered into shuffling those old color cards and drawing from the top. The only skill it teaches is color matching and when has that ever been a college entrance exam question? Sure they learn to take turns and become good winners and losers. Not that those are skills that I have seen develop in our home. Because whoever loses the game runs to their rooms in tears every time we play. Except for me, I just praise God that the game is over for another 10 minutes until they are begging me and making promises of putting me in the best rest home money can buy when I am old and feeble (which is rapidly approaching) if I will just play the game with them just one more time. 

Maxx received the game for Christmas and he, Millie and I have been playing it for three days now. Three very long days indeed. I have to play with them, or they both cheat like drunken sailors, and that just is not attractive in young children. I swear that if I was playing "Candyland" with Charles Manson and if his winning meant that he got to get out of prison free and he was rounding Queen Frostine's Sea of Ice Cream and I was stuck way back at Mr. Mint's
Peppermint Forest, I would cheer him on with all that is within me to win just so the game would be over! It is truly that painful for me to play (though the children think I love it). I really should win an Oscar award for my performance in the full-length movie "Princess Lolly Strikes Again" (and the sequel "The Revenge of Lord Licorice.")

Then again since this is the first time that I have ever had the time (and the total lack of any other exciting activity) to play Candyland or any other game more that 3 times in a day with my children, maybe just maybe, this too is the most important thing that I could be doing for the last week in the millennium. Multimillion dollar deals are being made around the world, the vastness of space is being explored, people are creating incredible virtual empires, and I am trying to draw a blue card to get out of molasses swamp. Somehow it just seems fitting.

So wherever you are, whatever you are doing on this last week of the millennium, I hope you are doing the most important thing that you can be doing. Whether it involves one on one time with the ones you love without any interruptions, or just sitting and taking the time to think about your many blessings, I hope that you find the time and the space to do it. And I do hope with all that is within me that you are not stuck in the Molasses swamp like I am. But hey I'll draw a blue card soon, or if I don't someone else will win and someone else will go crying to their room, and it will be over for a while. Praise God and pass me another card.