Thursday, February 4, 2010

Once Upon A Time

On Thursday, May 15, 2003 I had a rather eventful evening. I wrote a short story about it the next day. Read on to enjoy.

It was quite a day after work yesterday.

I went rushing out of the office at 4:35 pm (five minutes late) during a phone call from my ex who wanted to meet me for a break. I had to turn him down since I was on a schedule and needed to be at the elementary school by 6:00 or 6:30 pm. The time was never clarified regardless the many phone conversations with my daughter, Taylor, and even a flier from the school. We had to be there for a play in the 2nd grade classroom in which Taylor is a member. I ran to the parking garage just as I remembered I had parked on the fifth floor! I proceeded to climb the flights in a hurried panic and then drive in huge circles to the bottom until I was dizzy and then wait for what seemed like a full 10 minutes at the stop light a quarter block down the street.

Finally, I was on my way to pick up my two year old, Tristan who was, I discovered upon arrival, very tired, grumpy, coughing and cold. He had no coat (my ex forgot) or socks (Tristan had refused), and was just not himself. I had to scoop him up full of tears and runny nose which were soon blown to the next town in the wind, only to strap him down in the car seat so that we could drive in horrific traffic for the next hour and some minutes with the heater blasting away and causing my eyelids to stick to the orbs underneath. All this so the small boy with apparently very strong lungs in the middle of the back seat would be warm while wearing a T-shirt in the middle of a May which was feeling very much like the middle of a March.

The small boy was very unhappy until it started to rain cats and dogs and I started singing, "It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring.” Then I was required to sing it continuously for the next several miles, and as each verse came to a close, a very loud and demanding voice in the back seat would drum up with "Again!, Again!, Again!" until I was well into the next.

Eventually, we got home to a very thoughtful 10 year old boy (my son Jordan) who came rushing out with a raincoat and helped me unload the car (my bag and a travel tea cup) while I wrestled the screaming two year old boy out of the car seat. He had now decided this was his most favorite spot in the world and did not want to leave it for fear it might disappear while he was upstairs changing into a long sleeve shirt. I unsuccessfully explained that this change of attire was so his mother could worry less about his phlegmy cough at the school book fair and 2nd grade play in which (as mentioned above) a 7 and eleven-and-a-half-twelfths year old girl (there really is such a thing when you are precisely this age) was a star (well actually a cow).

It was now exactly 4 minutes after 6:00 and I feared we were late, but the long sleeve shirt just had to get over the head of the small boy who had somehow become a fantastic contortionist since the last time I completed this task (yesterday).

After much herding and hollering (if you have ever attempted to move a child from one place to the next you know what I mean), we finally got into the car and off to the school, arriving just before 6:30 pm, and finding that the play didn't start until 7:00 (whew!).

We sauntered into the Library to check out the book fair and immediately Taylor brought over the book I was planning to purchase for her Birthday. She asked if she could have $1.50 to add to the money she had so she could buy it. Yes, this was a good sign that I had chosen the right book, but horribly heart breaking when I had to tell her that she needed to find something she could afford on her own just so that I could make her feel depressed now and surprise her in two weeks. See what we mothers go through to let our children suffer for a present! I set Tristan down next to me so he could look at a book Jordan pulled off the shelf for him. Not two seconds later, he ran for the door and out into the sopping grass to smell a tulip (adorable, yes, but I had a stack of books in my arms already and was unable to bolt after him). Luckily, Jordan did bolt and caught up to him in less than 50 feet, which is quite remarkable given Tristan has broken the sound barrier on more than one occasion while escaping a watchful eye.

The chase for Tristan commenced at least five more times while I browsed the book fair searching for the remaining books on my list. Then, at the moment I arrived at the cashier, juggling a squirmy toddler and my stack of books which were at a 45 degree angle between me and the counter, Taylor waltzed up to inquire about my pending purchase. Amazingly, beyond normal human capabilities, I was able to reassemble the stack and clutch it to my chest concealing every single title while at the same time setting down the squirming toddler and ushering all three children into the sopping grass to sniff the tulips. All three children were slightly drenched at this point from previous high-speed toddler chases, so one more sniff was not going to make any difference and I just had to get them away from glimpsing the titles I was clutching while still holding my space in the growing line of equally anxious parents.

The purchase went off without another folly, and we were off to the 2nd grade classroom to watch the much-anticipated play. Jordan wanted to visit his classroom for a moment and we planned to meet up during the play, which apparently he thought was in the gymnasium. He spent the next thirty minutes searching the school grounds for his "lost" family.

The play started 5 minutes late while all the children assumed their places and Tristan began to howl. The two of us exited the classroom and watched the first half of the play through the classroom window while I tried to convince him that howling during a performance was exceptionally rude and unacceptable. Apparently, this approach was not the one to take with a tired, hungry two year old screeching "I want to run in the grass!" until every ear within forty-five feet was covered in apparent pain. Finally, for no apparent reason whatsoever, which I am sure had absolutely nothing to do with my tactics of attempted consoling, Tristan decided he wanted to go inside and see "Taylor's show". We walked in just in time to see the part Taylor played as a cow and were able to stay long enough for the play to end and Taylor to explain to every single person in the room that it was her little brother who had been screaming outside.

We then walked over to Jordan's classroom, assuming (never assume), that he would be there since that was where we last saw him go. The substitute teacher who was there said that Jordan had just been in the classroom using the phone to try to call me since he thought we had possibly left without him. Finally, we spotted him coming up the walk and I decided it was time to go over to my ex’s house to try to catch the total lunar eclipse that was supposed to be at its prime in about 20 minutes.

We arrived just in time to see that the entire sky was covered with what seemed to be one very thick rain cloud and the moon was nowhere in sight! We hung around just long enough for everyone to be longing for nourishment so much that if we didn't eat we were bound to explode on each other if someone breathed wrong. I got the two oldest children into the car and headed off to a fast food Mexican restaurant for a cheap, quick meal to bring back for everyone.

The meal (amazingly) was very uneventful and afterward I realized that my ex was so tired he was nearly incomprehensible. I told him I would watch the kids while he laid down for a rest and 45 minutes later, it was meltdown time for Tristan. We got him ready for bed and Jordan and Taylor were sent to the other room to read. Another 45 minutes and Taylor had fallen asleep and it was time to go home.

My ex and Tristan were both asleep when we drove down the street toward my apartment 20 minutes away at 10:00 pm when I saw the most beautiful full moon peeking through large holes in the once seemingly single cloud! If only the holes had been there 2 hours earlier! Oh, well.

What a day!

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