Sunday, June 17, 2012

Following in her sister's footsteps

I think it made Brynn a bit mad. Actually I know it did.

You see, Callie spotted this kitty carrier in a neighbor's front yard. It was in a pile of junk headed to the landfill. The carrier was covered in dirt and dust. The inside was lined with a nasty old piece of brown carpet. Some of the screws were rusty. But other than the ick-factor, it was in good shape.

Callie asked me to pull over and pick it up. She said she'd take it apart and clean it and then we could take it to the Humane Society as a donation.

Brynn grimaced. She's set an example and her sister is following. She's feeling a little one-upped.

I (begrudgingly, if I'm being honest) pulled over and climbed out of the car. I gingerly picked up the dirty crate. I cursed the fact that my trunk was full of swimming stuff and this grungy thing would have to go in the front with me.

Callie did not set foot in the house when we arrived home. She grabbed the carrier and went to work on the front lawn while Brynn rode around on a bike watching.

Callie took apart every nut and bolt, removed the door, sprayed the carrier with the hose inside and out, scrubbed it with a brush and dish soap, rinsed it, dried every nook and cranny, and put it all back together.

She did it by herself. One hundred percent by herself.

So off to the Humane Society we went. As we pulled into the parking lot, I coached her a bit.

"You are going to have to tell the worker about this carrier. Tell her what it looked like when you found it and that you cleaned it and want to donate it. PLEASE speak loudly so I don't have to repeat it all."

Callie's public voice is usually a whisper, but she agreed to turn up the volume a few notches for this.

She bounced up to the desk, carrier in hand. She waited patiently while the woman in front of us described her lost dog. Then it was Callie's turn.

In her loudest public voice (which still couldn't compete with the echoing dog barks) she rattled off at full tilt, "I saw this in someone's trash pile and it was really dirty and I made my mom pick it up and when we got home I took it apart and cleaned it and dried it and put it back together and now I want to donate it."

The man who was accepting the carrier looked at her like she was speaking Chinese as he inspected the inside of the carrier, looking for an animal, I think.

And because I can't stand to see two people miscommunicate, I stepped in and re-explained to him what was going on.

His face brightened and he told Callie what a lovely and impressive thing it was that she had done. The people in line behind us told her, "We need more children like you in the world."

Callie beamed. Brynn darkened a little. "That should have been me, Mom," she whispered. I hugged her and told her that Callie is learning generosity because her big sister is modeling it and that she should be proud.

Yes, Callie has been waiting in the wings. She's learned from her sister. And I remembered, again, how lucky I am to be a mother to two girls with such beautiful hearts.

Then we spent two hours looking at bunnies, kitties, and dogs. And came home with none. I consider the whole experience a victory.


Fulton said...

Way to go Callie AND Brynn!!

What was wrong with Callie's explanation? I guess they don't get a lot of donations?

Hillary said...

I think she just spoke too quickly and quietly. And she was too short to see over the counter with the carrier sitting on top, so the person back there could barely see her!