This weekend was one of highs and lows. Such is life I suppose. I’ll share the low and see if this can function as some sort of therapy for me. The small one and I had an episode on the side of Main Street (yes it’s really called that), after a
hellish and painfu l slightly stressful exit from a local Fire and Ice Festival. She was tired, 7 hours into an intense hunger strike, and needless to say, things were not looking good for me. Morale was low and I’m not too proud to admit that I was afraid. We got to my car and she growled at me made it clear she wanted to get out of the stroller without assistance. I stood there for the 7.5 minutes it took for her to flop and hurl herself out of the stroller in full fuchsia snow gear, and then she growled at me again informed me she wanted to walk to her door, “BY MYSELF!!! DON’T HELP ME!!!! MOMMY, DON’T. HELP. MEEEEEEE!!!!” Well, her door was located on the side of the car that was in the midst of heavy traffic so that was clearly not an option. I slowly and quietly slid my hand into my pocket, careful not to make any sudden moves that would tip her off. My plan was laid out and I knew immediate implementation was absolutely necessary. I pushed the button to lift the hatch, knowing I was going to have to do an expert level snatch and toss to keep her from sprinting into the road. As the gate lifted, she immediately bared her teeth looked suspicious, so I knew I had only moments to act. I grabbed for her and the world transformed into a shrieking, flailing mess of hot pink and screams. I tossed gently put her into the back of my car and began to fold my stroller up with one hand like a mom-ninja, using the other hand to block her from the escape she was desperate to make. I felt small thuds against my back as thrown objects flew out of my car in all directions, some of the shrapnel bouncing off of my tired, defeated shoulders. Eventually the debris gave way, but the thuds continued…I could no longer be sure of what was happening, and focused only on the unloading of my gear, and the dismantling of my stroller. From a distant place I thought I could hear a civilized voice calling my name. I told myself it was just the hallucination of a desperate woman, and kept my head down, determined to finish my mission in as little time as possible. But there it was again, my name… clear as a bell. I looked up through snow, sweat, and the familiar sheen of public humiliation, and saw that my very sweet, and always put together friend had pulled up at the stoplight in front of my war zone car. She wore a sunny smile, had her hair done and make up on….nothing appeared to be ricocheting off of her body.
Unable to bother with standard greetings I looked at her and asked through my heavy breathing, “Is she still throwing stuff at me?!” I felt my face flinching in preparation for the potential airstrikes.
She answered back, unable to keep from laughing at me in my sorry state, “Ummmm……no, I think she’s hitting you.”
“Oh…ok!” (attempt smile, level voice, and human mannerisms) “Just checking…..well, ummmm, the festival sure was fun! We went….ice skating!” thump, thump, thump
My attempt at conversation was shameful and skittish. She said some other friendly chit-chatty stuff but it is all a blur in retrospect. I had no time for decency or common interactions and forged on.
Green light. Hatch slammed. Lock button hit. She drove off and I had successfully trapped the small one. Her eyes held the hollow shadow of defeat and she knew there was no way out. I turned to see two pedestrians who quickly averted their gaze. I ignored them, no longer caring about civilians or their ways, and leaned gratefully up against the side of my car to catch my breath and regain my senses.
We drove home in silence….and by silence I mean that my hearing had shut down as an evolutionary defense mechanism, like when certain species play dead in the presence of a predator, and there was milk flying around. That’s my girl….fire and ice…and it feels oddly familiar.