Clare was an arrestingly beautiful child who had a personality to match. She loved everybody, and everybody loved her. Except her big sister, but we won't get into that now.
It's hard to look at that angelic face and imagine that she could be anything other than perfect.
But I just have to share this little story for my blog-friend Nicolle.
In 2004, my oldest son was chosen for a little-league All-Star baseball team. What this really translates to = several EXTRA weeks added onto the end of a long, hot, slow baseball season. One Saturday in September, we drove about an hour to where the games were being held, and I dropped my son off to warm up with his team. We had to wait for a game or two (and who knows how long they can last), so I took the kids to a small pizza joint for lunch to kill some time.
That day I had with me Brian (8), Conor (6), Clare(3) & Theresa (11 months). Keeping them happy, occupied and quiet for who knows how long was a real chore. We ordered our pizza, and then I bought the kids chocolate milk and chips to snack on until the pie was ready.
The pizza joint was really rather small, and there was an older gentleman there, eating alone. He had to be in his late sixties at the youngest. I don't know if he was just a grumpy old man in general, or if he was gruff because my kids were misbehaving, or if he just wanted to eat alone at his local pizza place in peace. . I was trying my best to keep them contained and quiet, but hey, they were four little kids being held hostage by a baseball game. Heck, I wanted to misbehave, too.
Now go look at Clare's sweet face again. Then picture her slipping away from our booth for a moment - just a moment, mind you, while my guard was down - easing over to the old man's booth, and beaming at him with that angelic smile, just before deliberately spraying a mouthful of chocolate milk right onto his table, the floor, and down the front of her dress.
"Getouttahere!" he snarled at her, gruffly. I remember apologizing to him, wiping off his table and wiping up the floor, and wishing I could just disappear. I'm certain I was trying not to cry, but probably not succeeding very well. That's all I remember, though.
I still count it among one of my worst Mommy moments.
So Nicolle, please don't cry over spilled milk unless Boyd spits it at somebody.