We're at a lunch date, just she and I, all part of what we've dubbed her Special Day. We've been building up this day for a long time. This date, and the exciting activities that will follow it, they're all a bait-and-switch that we didn't know we wouldn't need. Today was really about what we've already done, and that was take E for the first time to see the kindergarten she'll attend next year.
"It's so that she can serve you your drink with the straw already inside, without touching the part that goes in your mouth. I guess you could think of it as a way of being respectful."
I think it's a way of being fancy.
We're at a brewpub that sits in an old building that used to be a hardware store. The windows are floor-to-ceiling, and show the first real snowfall of the season hushing the busy street. The ceilings are high. The walls are gold and the booths are blue and the struts are painted purple. Royal purple.
"What did you like best about the school?"
Our waitress passes by and hears the question. "Oh, it's her birthday tomorrow. But really, she just likes to wear crowns. Sometimes you need a little bling, right?" She winks at E. E nods solemnly.
I like this restaurant. It really is very fancy.
"I'm glad you're happy, love."
I am. I like it here.
We're here because this brewpub has a general store attached filled with toys. She's never been here before but her friends have spoken so highly of it that this was a specific request for inclusion in her Special Day. We just bought a paper castle that comes with a bazillion little stickers. It'll keep her busy for hours, and it's royal, and fancy. She holds her chocolate milk in one hand and the castle box in the other.
"Well, I liked the part where you raised your hand even though we were just sitting in the back, and the teacher called on you instead of someone in the class, and you gave the right answer."
Well, that was a good part. Mama, do you think I should do the purple brick stickers first, or the red heart ones?
"I don't know, love. Either way."
Remember the library?
I do. It was larger than the children's section of our public library. By a lot.
Mama! She lowers her voice to an excited whisper. I saw PRINCESS books there!
Kindergarten: I think it's going to be okay.