Unfortunately, Jessica did not come with us down to Ann’s house. She woke up with an awful cough, so she stayed home to rest.
Before Namine and I headed down, though, we went to church. Being Easter Sunday, it was crowded. Crowded isn’t even sufficient to convey how little space there was to navigate the sanctuary, especially with a bulky wheelchair. An usher helped us out, though, and we managed to get seated. (Well, I sat in a fold-up chair. Namine stayed in her wheelchair.)
I am more impressed every time we go to church by how well Namine pays attention to the service. She follows along with the responsive readings and hymns, and she can usually tell me in summary what the sermon was about. I am just so proud of my daughter.
After church was over, we waited until the parking lot had cleared somewhat and started our drive down to Ann’s house. When we got there, I changed Namine into something a little more suitable for scooting. (Easter dresses are not ideal for hand-based locomotion, after all, and we couldn’t bring Namine’s wheelchair in the house. Well, we could have, but then Namine would not have been able to play with her cousin.)
In the time before everyone else would arrive, Namine and Olivia had a chance to play by themselves. They almost always play nicely together.
Ann had laid out a blanket for the two girls to have a picnic in the living room. Namine ate almost all of her lunch, with the one exception of ham. She’s never been a big meat girl — she’ll eat it if she wants, but there’s no forcing her. That was fine by me; I didn’t have any meat either.
The funny thing is that Namine did protest to one thing on her plate: the carrots. She’s never been a big fan of them raw, but these were cooked and buttered.
“Just try one,” I said.
“I already know what carrots taste like,” my sassy daughter replied.
“That’s not what I meant. Just eat one. You don’t have to eat all of them” (I had given her four) “but you have to eat at least one.”
Little Miss Attitude ended up eating all four.
As Namine was finishing up her lunch, a bunch of us guys went outside to hide the plastic eggs for the Easter egg hunt. Last year, we had hidden them well before the hunt began; as a result, the sun melted all the chocolates inside. But there was little danger of that happening this year — it was sunny, but still a cool 50 degrees.
As we were walking out the door, I reminded the other guys that one child (namely, mine) could not reach very high off the ground. The other guys spread the eggs around on one half of the yard — the side with the swing set — and I spread eggs around on the grass and by the fence on the other side.
There are plenty of jokes where adults will participate in a children’s Easter egg hunt, rubbing it in the children’s faces while they’re at it. As unfair as this is for children, it is equally unfair between the other, able-bodied kids and Namine.
I make no pretense that everything needs to be fair. Everything is not fair. I know it, and Namine knows it. Namine herself knows full well that I am putting the eggs where she can reach them, that there is a lowered standard for her. But fairness is not the point; having fun is. It’s not about winning, or finding the most eggs. I want my daughter to have fun with other kids, and sometimes that means tipping the scales in her favor a bit.
Not everyone shares my opinion, though, especially competitive boys. A couple of them wandered over to Namine’s side of the yard (or to be more precise, the side where all the eggs were in plain view to someone who can stand on their feet unaided), looking for more eggs.
I reminded them to keep it in mind that Namine could not move as fast, having to crawl on uneven terrain. One boy, Namine’s cousin, nodded and turned right around. I loved him for that simple, wordless understanding. The other boy glared at me. He trounced right over to the next egg that Namine was headed for, plucked it up, and stared right at her as he put it in his bucket. Then he tromped off to the other side of the yard again.
Namine stared at me in shock. “Well that wasn’t nice,” she said.
“No, it wasn’t,” I agreed. I walked over to the fence, on top of which an egg was balanced carefully. I picked it up and put it where the boy had taken the egg. “So we’ll take one of his.” Namine grinned at me.
Shortly after the kids finished their egg hunt, Namine and I had to leave. We had dinner to get ready, so it was time to go. But not before Namine finished surveying her spoils and gave her goodbyes to everyone.