Our father in Heaven, why have you forsaken me? My legs felt like they were going to fall off as well as my arms. I’m waiting for an answer from God, but all I can hear is the sound of Henry above everything, the cars, the people, the screaming drunk college student, everything. He’s having a stage eleven temper tantrum in my arms and we still have a full mile left to walk.
It seems like you’ve found me about a few months back on one of my outings with Henry. Through out this story, seasoned parents will be able to identify, clearly, the rookie mistakes and circle them with a big red marker. But let’s go back to how this whole thing started. It started all the way inside my feeble pregnant brain, or maybe just my regular brain.
On Fridays, Henry and I have pancake and bus ride day. It’s exactly how it sounds, I make pancakes for breakfast and then we hop the bus and head downtown for window shopping, sometimes we catch up with Andy for lunch. But on this day, I got off the bus with Henry only to realize that I had left my cellphone all the way at the car, which was about three miles away at Andy’s work. I was supposed to use that cellphone to tell Andy where we were for lunch. I now have no cellphone and no more cash to take the bus back up to WCAX, where Andy works.
Big deal, I tell myself, it can’t be that far of a walk and I don’t want to spoil our plans. So we walk all around the Church Street Marketplace and then right around 11:30, we start to walk to the station. It should be noted right here that I have a wallet containing a debit card that could have been used to get more cash, it’s almost Henry’s lunchtime and I didn’t bring any snacks and thirdly, fellow detectives, he’s already rubbing his eyes from all the walking.
So off we go and for a while it’s really fun as our usual walks are; we’re singing songs and making inside jokes. Then, about mile 1.5 it happens. For no apparent reason, although we can all clearly see the mired of reasons, Henry comes down with a sudden attack of toddler jelly legs. He falls like a man suddenly hit by a lightening bolt. Ah, the toddler jelly legs, I want to make little rubber bracelets for us all to wear until they find a cure. What would the color be? Most likely red.
I pick Henry up, thinking that it’s only because he’s tired and once he’s off the ground it will all stop. Nope, wrong-o, not only does it not stop, but it gets worse… way worse. He’s screaming and failing, tiny hands are flying as well as booted feet. My son has turned from a fully functional human being into a mental patient. I wonder if they sell mini-straight jackets at Walgreens? I try to set him down, jelly legs. I pick him up and I’m left to bob and weave like Sugar Ray Leonard, while trying to calmly say,
“Henry, don’t hit. No kicking Mommy. You need to calm down, buddy.” My words fall on deaf angry ears. And this is where you found me, right here, in the middle of the sidewalk with a two foot crazy person and one mile left to go.
There’s only one thing for me to do, keep walking and ride it out. I’m supposed to ignore it. It’ll pass. Oh God, that boot was almost in my side, hold it down with your arm and keep going. People in cars are watching me at stop lights, girls are rushing into convenience stores to stock up on condoms as I have now become a walking bill board for contraception use. Ignore it. Ignore it. Ignore it. It’s not working. It’s never going to work. I swear somewhere there’s a painter depicting the seven stages of Henry, instead of the cross. I don’t think that a Subway would translate well into a stain glass window though.
Ignore it. Ignore it. Suddenly, my mind leaves my body and I’m on the North Carolina beach that Andy and I sat on during our honeymoon. Henry’s screams turn into waves and seagulls. It’s October, but I swear that I can smell suntan lotion and feel sand on my feet. It’s wonderful. I could hang out here until this passes. Why yes, Mr. Beach Bartender, I will have another margarita. How nice of you to ask. I think I’ll take a strawberry one this… suddenly the waves, seagulls and Mr. Bartender are gone. I hear cars. I hear the drunk college student. I hear…
“Stop sign!” Henry, with tear streaked face, is smiling and pointing to a bright red octagon of hope! We made it through! It passed! My arms are falling off my shoulders and my legs are aching, but there’s a sudden strength that finds its way in. In five more minutes, we are back to singing and joking, as if nothing ever happened. Henry even starts walking on his own, a miracle. We got to the station, a little late, but both alive, which was a debatable outcome before this point.
It will pass. It will all pass. Just when you think this is the longest temper tantrum on the face of the earth, just remember, it will pass. I want you to take that bit of advice with you and this, newbies out there, snacks and timing. Those two things will get you through any situation. Also, remembering your stupid cell phone!