Four Little Girls

[Writing 101, Day Six: A Character-Building Experience. Today’s prompt: Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?]

Four little girls. They go together as siblings do, fussing and loving at the same time. This summer we are learning the three-part apology: I’m sorry I [blank], next time I will [blank], will you forgive me? [yes.]

The youngest wants to take naps in a box with her silky blankie, while the oldest protects us all from the dead frogs in the swimming pool. The second youngest has the best pouty expressions and “I’m going to see how far you will let me take this” face. And the second oldest is mysterious and intense. She can be found in dark corners playing Minecraft on her iPad.

Their profiles in a nutshell. On my first or second day with them, the story of how baby sister’s finger had to be sewn back on was recounted to me with great fervor. “She was getting out of the car and then Hannah slammed the door shut, and Evie’s finger fell on the ground! Wasn’t it scary Evie, weren’t you scared? Show us your finger!”

They are selfish, inclined to use physical force to manipulate each other. And then they are angels, the most polite and thoughtful girls you’ve ever heard chattering in the back seats of a minivan. “Could you please hand me a gummy bear, Libby? Thank you, Libby, you are so beautiful, you are the most beautiful Libby.”

Four is a big number to me. I’ve nannied siblings in groups of one, two and three, but four – four is big. They swirl around me in flurries of motion and I do the best I can to pay attention. I’m adjusting every day.

Oh, the grocery cart has fallen on top of one of them. Let’s pick it up now, and the little girl. Thank you, kind old lady at Aldi for gathering items spilled out of my purse and for patting the child’s leg.

Life is an adventure with four.



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