And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

Last March, when it was stupid-cold and several feet of snow obliterated my third floor deck (my second favorite “room” in our home), I was wantonly seduced by a Wayfair ad. While their catchy theme song caressed me with the words, “Wayfair, you have just what I need…”, I watched as a woman immersed in springtime grasped the back of what looked like a plain wooden bench and pulled it with one hand. Sproing! The bench became a picnic table capable of seating a family.

Ohmygod. They DID have just what I needed! And I didn’t know it, because I didn’t know something like this existed! So I ordered it (on sale! because it’s March and it’s a freaking picnic bench!) and for a couple months, this huge gigantic box sat at the bottom of our stairs, just inside the front door. Every day, as I went in and out, trudging through snow, and ice, and slush, and wearing a winter jacket and gloves, I stroked the box and sighed.

The seduction continued. I saw the commercial again and again and knew springtime waited in my entryway, hiding in a brown cardboard box, taller than I was.

So last weekend was our first really warm, really sunny weekend. My son hauled the huge gigantic box up to the third floor and my husband went out on the deck and prepared to build spring for me. He was joined by our grandbaby, Maya Mae, all of five years old.

Soon, the air was filled with the sounds of springtime. Birds tweeted their mating songs. New leaves rustled in the gentle breeze. Motorcycles, freed from garages. Music drifted out of open car windows. And there was ratcheting as bolts were put in place. Not to mention the choked-off, guttural swearing of a grandfather who wanted to swear, but knew he shouldn’t in front of the grandchild (but Grandma, however…).

And what a grandchild. Without being told, she threw herself into helping. She fetched tiny plastic bags of parts, even when the instructions were, “Can you hand me the bag of those little shiny circle things?” She picked up loose parts that scattered and nearly got away. She ran after the directions when the wind tried to steal them. She picked up the garbage, including all the little Styrofoam pieces that threatened to make my deck look like crunchy snowfall again. And she did it while she sang and chattered and told us stories of little boys who gave her flowers (a dandelion, I learned later) and her best friend who gave her a marijuana sticker (WHAT? I shrieked. And then found out it was a sticker for the Disney movie, Moana, pronounced, apparently, Mo-wa-na, or like a five-year old’s pronunciation of marijuana.

But she helped. And helped and helped and helped.

Now this little girl wants to be a princess. She wears hairbands and calls them crowns. She wears dresses, by choice (though she did inform me that she was SICK of PINK, and so I bought her a green and black dress, which she loved). She loves the Disney princesses. She plays with dolls and dollhouses. She also plays with Legos and building blocks and trucks. And at no time during this entire afternoon did we marvel that a girl was helping with building a bench/picnic table. Not once. It was just…everyday.

How cool is that.

When she and my husband were done, we took a little video of what that table can do. It sproinged into spring on my own deck. Michael was a great Vanna White. And Maya Mae, when it was her turn, raised her hand high in triumph.

She did it!

A few days later, she was at my house again. The first thing she did was come upstairs and look out my open deck door. She perched both hands on her hips, thrust out her chest and said, “WOW!”

Indeed. Maya Mae built that, with her grandfather. Maya Mae built that without being told, without wondering if she should, and she did it without complaining. And Maya Mae built that without once questioning if this was an appropriate thing for a girl to do. Or if it was an amazing thing for a girl to do. It was just something that she did. Everyday. Because she wanted to. And the smile, the stance, the tossed-back hair and the superstar elbows just shouted her accomplishment. And it wasn’t because she was a girl. It was just because she did it.

I have to echo her. WOW!

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

Grandpa and Maya have just what I need.

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