It’s icky outside. A dark drizzle mists the world and we need to drive through it at the height of rush hour to get Daniel to his Nana’s. There’s a buildup on the I-290 extension that’s really a slowdown before you get to the real mess on I-55. Visibility is poor and tempers are high. I decide, Nuts to this–it’s quicker to take side streets. But the weather messes with my sense of direction. All I want to do is get to York Rd and take that to 294, which I know is nice and clear. But my windowshield is not. We make a couple turns through unfamiliar streets, and before I know it, we’re back on 290, but going the opposite way. Ironically, as I shout “Oh, no!”, They Might Be Giants “No!” starts playing on the CD player. Daniel is taking great delight in my frustration. “No, Mommy! No!”
It takes us 2 hours to get to my mother’s place whereas it normally takes 45 minutes.
Daniel loves his Nana. Dropping him off is easy. It’s like daycare. “Goodbye, Daniel!”
“Briana! (garbled) Nana…Auntie Krissee….(something, something) T.T!” Translation: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Beat it already. I’m gonna hang with Briana for a bit, then let Nana spoil me good and rotten. If I can work my charms on Auntie Krissee, I got it made. Then tomorrow, Auntie T.T. comes and it’s gonna be nothin’ but fun! fun! fun! It’s late, I don’t plan to go to sleep until 2am, and I don’t want you around because you’ll start crimpin’ my style, so get lost. Take your time comin’ back, here?
By the time we leave my Mother’s, sans Daniel, fog has rolled in and cut visibility down to a small patch in front and behind us. My hubby this time takes the wheel while I pass out for a bit in the passenger seat. I wake up later on to see the exit we should’ve taken pass right by us.
“Yeah. I think we missed our exit.”
Seeing that the next exit is not for ten miles, we wind up taking a huuuge detour. I’m in a waking dream, watching signs and cars emerge out of nothingness, a reverse dissolving, growing real until dematerializing back into misty gray. There are no landmarks; the fog has gobbled it up.
Behind us, the back seat is empty. The booster seat that normally takes up the center space is gone, currently squatting in my mother’s car. The emptiness that replaces it is a bit disturbing.
When I had arranged this weekend for Daniel to go to his grandmother’s, my mind was rife with possibilities, most of them on the romantic side. We were going to go to a wedding reception that evening, so we would spend the full day taking advantage of us being a couple again. Lounging on the couch, watching movies, eating strawberries and cream, catching up on my reading, snuggling, sleeping. Sleeping. Sleeping…
My hubby had other plans.
We cleaned out Daniel’s room. Stripped his crib and washed his sheets. Picked up the books off the floor. Collected all the “Voyagers” lying around the house and put them in the dishwasher and/or silverware drawer. Got an oil change for the car.
We did manage to get a few romantic things in. But I ain’t gonna tell. It’s cloudy outside, but at least it’s a little warmer.
The wedding reception is small, hosted by a band of Lithuanian women. I eat kugelis for the first time, as well as shredded beets and lots of pastries. There is lots of food, lots of wine and lots of drama. Everything that’s needed for a wedding reception. I’m glad we left Daniel at my mother’s. We would’ve spend the entire evening chasing him down, keeping him from getting obnoxious. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on other things.
Driving to and from the reception, I got Phil Keaggy’s Sunday’s Child playing on the CD player. One of my favorite songs is “Blessed be the Ties”:
“Out of the single life into the family way,
So many scripted lines, so many roles to play.
Ever a pressure pressing, ever an undertow.
Why do the ties you’ve chosen slowly pull you low?
Over the things we love into the still unknown.
I had a dream last night I was finally left alone.
Nothing to tie me down, no one to kiss goodnight,
Never again to feel your whisper pull me to your side.
And oh, an emotion cries….
Oh, sing blessed be the ties….”
I want to play it over and over, making it into a prayer for for a friend of mine who had it rough tonight.
It’s late when we get back home, but I still want to catch up on a movie, so hubby and I watch “Sideways”. I loved being in wine country when I was in California, and I wanted an idyllic movie to put that feeling of driving past vineyards and picnicking and cruising into artistic context.
This movie is not that. It’s not idyllic. It’s not artistic. It sucks. Whoever said it was the best comedy of the year should get their own clothes robbed and they get dumped in the middle of the street, in broad daylight. Yuck.
At church, a friend brings her 3-month-old cousin. I had looked forward to spending the morning trying to experience how life was pee-Daniel. But I can’t remember. Then my eyes fall upon this little girl, and all my maternal instincts rise up enforce, startling me with their intensity. I spend the time after church holding the girl, sitting crosslegged on the floor, watching her suck on a bottle while her slate eyes regard me. I remember that gaze from two years ago.
I keenly want to experience it again. Which is strange. Have I forgotten how miserable I was? The late nights? The little sleep? The feelings of inadequacy and absolute uselessness? Am I nuts for wanting it again? The girl sighs in my arms. Her fist grips my finger tightly. She won’t let go.
The weather is gorgeous. Blue skies. Low 70s. We go out afterwards to eat at Noodles & Company. We sit outside for the first time this year. The breeze is gentle–it keeps tugging a loc of hair into my eyes. I brush aside, then realize that this is the first time I had to do that with my hair for the longest time, ever since I went natural. It feels wonderful, that I can shake my head and feel my locs bounce about. I wonder how long they will be by this time next year.
I’m already planning my day for tomorrow, where it supposed to be in the upper 70s. Going without Daniel for the weekend is nice, but I want to see him run around in the grass. Take him to a park. Let him yell and scream.
He screams, all right, when we drive back to my mother’s. What? The fun is over?! NOOOOOOOOO!!!
Later, we drive back. The expressways are clear. The night is dark. I’m driving, since hubby needs to get up in the morning. Daniel is knocked out in the back seat–all the fun he had finally caught up with him. But then, my hubby puts on Dr. Demento, and Daniel’s head pops up. “Bridge!” he says as he points to an overpass. I glance behind me to see his dark eyes shining, wide awake and amused. It’s nice to see him back there again.
Yeah, it’s nice to have him back. Even when we finally get home and he starts shrieking in rage because he has to go to bed.