A few Sundays ago, we had a spontaneous date with my oldest niece Ellie. It was a big deal. Not having children of our own, we became her sole caregivers for the afternoon. Everything was dependent on us; her fun, her safety, her life, basically. It was a responsibility that I did not take lightly, and I treated the day like a mission. Mission, Possible.
After we loaded her up in our vehicle, we drove out to the lake to check on the progress of our new property. As soon as we got there, the skies opened up and it began to pour. That didn’t stop us from grabbing our umbrellas and running up and down the gravel and dirt piles. Ellie called it a mountain. Apparently, we have a mountain on our lot. Aren’t we lucky?
When it begun to come down even harder, we ran back into the vehicle for cover. We drove to the other side of the lake where there happened to be an Open House that day. We planned on stopping in, but before we did so, we wanted to dip our toes in the lake since it had stopped raining and the sun was coming out. Elle and I approached the water, and just as I was telling her that it was slippery and to be careful, she fell in. Oops. With her boots full of water (and snails, she said), we started to dry her off. Then it started to pour, again. Geoffrey picked her up and I ran after them back to the vehicle. So much for our plans. We now had a wet niece sitting in her booster seat, sans pants, and wrapped in a towel. We put her clothes and boots on the vents, and asked her if she wanted to go home. Her response? She was having too much fun, so no. What a brave girl.
On our way back into town, we stopped by a Strawberry Ranch. Geoffrey went to ask if they were open for picking while I began dressing Ellie in the vehicle. When he came back he informed us that they were over-picked the day before, and that it’ll be a few more days until the berries are ready again. This was not the afternoon that I had envisioned. Back into the vehicle we went, and this time, we visited a vegetable and antique market that we knew was open for business. We bought Elle some ice cream, and we took our little (wet) pants party outside to the picnic tables. The sun was definitely out to stay, and it had turned into a perfect August afternoon; hot, but with a cool breeze.
After our niece was successfully hopped up on sugar, we made one last stop at a nearby greenhouse. She picked out two plants, both with amazing plant names. Ellie chose Candy Stripe for herself, and Chocolate Chip for her little sister Isla. We loaded everyone and everything up one last time, and made the 40 minute drive back to my sister and brother-in-law’s home. When we got there, Ellie said that four hours with us was not long enough, and next time, she wants to make it eight.