This afternoon was a hot one at our house. Lots of tears, screaming, whining, throwing things. We clearly needed to get away. We needed air conditioning. We needed a change of scenery. We needed to not be close to toys/projectiles.
I picked a museum that wasn’t too far away, might hold the boys’ attention, and that we could get in free to, and off we went. I mentioned to Simon that there was a playground close to the museum and he insisted we go there first, then hit the museum. I caved. We went to the playground, which had a little pool for the kids to play in. Both boys got soaked, and I didn’t bring anything to dry them off with. Just as I was persuading them to leave the playground and walk around with me for a while so they could dry off enough to go to the museum, a storm rolled in. No kidding. It poured and thundered and lightning-ed and we huddled under an umbrella, listening as the park staff blew their whistles whenever anyone wandered close to the pool and chatted about tomorrow’s headlines if anyone got electrocuted. Simon wanted me to hold him tight while Oliver wanted to run away. I just wished I’d stayed home and taken a nap.
When the storm cleared, we decided to forget the museum and go home. As we walked to the train station, several fire trucks passed us. The closer we got to the station, the clearer it became that there was something wrong. Sure enough, our train wasn’t running. And there I was, with two boys, sopping wet, hungry, tired, without any snacks, and possibly stranded in Manhattan for who knows how long.
But wait! Even while some people were saying we might as well start walking towards the bridge because no trains were running, others were saying it was just a few trains that were out. There was hope. I needed to find the magic train that would get us home. So we took a walking tour of lower Manhattan while trying to find a station with a train that would spirit us away to Brooklyn. I found one, sort of. “Spirit” is not the right verb for what the train did. “Slogged” is more like it. Yes, we’ll say it “slogged” us away to Brooklyn, taking its sweet time making its way from station to station. But we made it. We got off the train and rejoiced that it was only an hour and half after we left the playground.
And then I did something really silly. I took Oliver off my back and let him walk. I was tired. My feet were tired. The sun and the rain and the small children rattled my brain. So I let Oliver walk. And it took us roughly three times longer than it should have to get to our apartment. We were all tired and hungry. I finally lured Oliver into the apartment with promises of popcorn. As I was heating the oil, Oliver spilled half the kernels onto the floor. And then after it was popped, he almost grabbed the bowl off the counter and spilled it on the floor. I don’t know who was more surprised at the volume of the “NO!” that came out of my mouth, him or me, but that is when I decided he might be better off sitting on the curb with a sign that said, “Free to a Good Home” on it. Because, really, what kind of mother am I? No snacks? No towels? No sunscreen? Making/letting him walk home? Really?
He’d be better off without me.