This tale starts with a night like many other nights. A casual drive home from daycare. A discussion of all highlights of the day: from what was eaten at snack to who fell down or got into trouble.
Then, as we turned a corner in our subdivision, I saw it. A pink dressing table, complete with mirror and stool, stood at the side of the road, beckoning to be saved. No princess would be complete without one. At least that's what my daughter has mentioned from time to time.
Nevermind that her birthday was next month; cost and reality of a child's fickleness meant that a gift of this nature was not in the making. But a freebie was worth the consideration. I pulled to the side of the road.
It was technically free, but it would come at a cost. The thing was covered in grime, smudges I suspect (hope) were simply mommy's makeup, and in a few cases, things I'm just not sure I'd want to know what they were. (To give you a sense, the pictures were after a good hosing off!)
I walk to the car and sigh. And I propose a solution. "It's gross, really gross," I tell my daughter. "If you want it, you're going to have to help clean it up and clean up your room so it can go there."
Yes, my daughter has learned another lesson tonight: How to scrounge at the tender age of four. I guess she's ready for college.
After dinner, I cart the thing to the backyard and hit it with a power wash. Or two. At least half the dirt and the crusty stuff is gone. Then I summon the troops.
Both troopers come outdoors with rags and a small bowl of baking soda, ready to help.
The toddler lasts a few minutes before he turns to the hose, soaking me in the process, cackling enthusiastically. My daughter, to her credit, keeps scrubbing until I announce that with the heat, it's time to quit for the evening.
While it's not quite perfect yet, we're down to small smudges that I can take care of quickly on my own. And as soon as that's accomplished and the bedroom is successfully tackled, this might actually make it indoors.
What you don't see here is the face of a pretty princess, dressed to the nines in her frilly pink swimsuit, perched on a freshly washed stool by her freshly washed dressing table. With the smile of satisfaction and pride on her face.
Because something she waited for and worked for finally came to be.
I hope it's a lesson she'll remember for years to come.