Thursday, April 1, 2010
The Most Fun I've Ever Had
There was a time when I was sane, rational and capable of logical thought. That was before I became a mom. Proof of this occurs one day in February, several years ago. For some odd reason I decided that a Saturday afternoon at the mall shopping for my mother-in-law's birthday sounded like a perfect way to pass the time with a two and half year old. While I was on board the delusional express I also left the stroller at home figureing that he would simply walk next to me and wait patiently while I looked at sweaters and perfume.
In no time at all I was kneeling on the floor, whispering furiously into the crotches of jeans hanging on a circular rack. Whispering so as not to draw attention to myself.
"No, we are not playing hide and seek. Get out here now!"
He giggled delightedly and took off for the next hide out. I, who once won ribbons during track and field day at school, had no hope of catching up. I bided my time and snagged him while he was climbing up a mannequin's leg. We fled that store under the glare of an angry sales lady. You would think that I would have learned my lesson, but no. We sped circles around browsing shoppers, racks of clothes and shook hands with every manniquin we passed. He stole the hat off a display in mens and I tossed it onto a pile of purses in womens as we beat a hasty exit. Somehow, along the way I did manage to purchase a birthday gift. And as I walked through the mall hauling our coats, shopping bag and squirming toddler I came across my salvation. The cookie kiosk. No, he certainly didn't deserve any treats, but I desperately needed one. So, I bought us some brownies and sank onto a nearby bench.
"Mommy, this fun!" he smiled up at me. A smile not quite enough he dragged himself over our coat pile and wrapped tiny hands around my neck. "Squeeze hug!" he says into my ear.
Only, I'm looking at the chocolate hand prints on my new wool coat. And I'm thinking there are matching stains on my blouse now, also. And I'm thinking that somedays I'd like to just sit in peace and quiet for ten minutes. I'd be thrilled with five.
That's when I see her. The lady walking by and looking at me and my little cookie monster. She has such a look on her face that I can't look away. Such sadness mingled with sweetness. Then she looks away from us and casts a quick glance over her shoulder. That's when I see him. He's about fifteen, swinging a Macy's bag and looking up at the ceiling. If he moved any slower he would be standing still. It's obvious that he's trying to distance himself from the lady in front of him. A teenager trying to pretend he hatched upon the earth spontaneously free of parents. The lady gives me one last look. A look that clearly says "enjoy it while it lasts".
The chocolate stains are forgotten. There will be a day when I don't have to worry about sticky, little fingers and what they touch. One day I will have all the time in the world to spend at the mall peacefully window shopping. That day will be here much to soon.
"Squeeze hug back. This is fun." I say.
Because it is. The most fun I've ever had.