Having a 5 year old and now a 1 year, it is inevitable that I will some how ruin their lives. Let’s face it, no matter how good of a parent we try to be, certain things that we do have the power to throw the entire world sideways, like making the carrots too soft, or accidentally stepping on an ant that they had been tracking in the backyard for the past several hours…none of those compared to my most recent, future therapy inducing actions.
The kid and I have developed a bit of a routine on her karate days. I pick her up from school, we go get some caffeine for mom, then we go to karate. The routine is so down pat that the other day she asked if it was a karate day, and I said yes, she said “okay, time to get caffeine.” Amused by the comment I asked her what caffeine was. She thought about it for a moment, then confidently answered that it was a kind of drink. Fair enough, the majority of the time I did consume it in drink form…but to be honest, I was just content she didn’t call it mommy juice…which it kind of is.
Anyway, on our way to my regular caffeine run, the kid usually busts open whatever she had leftover from lunch to refuel for karate. This particular day, she had a small pack of nerds that she had gotten out of whatever bag from a whatever party. As we were at the stop line waiting to go, she glanced over at the drive thru and yelled, “Mom, we can’t get caffeine the line is too long!” Then as I proceeded on track toward the parking lot, she entered the early stages of meltdown, whining ” we’re going to be late, the line up is too long.” The despair in her voice was just hilarious, but nearly as predictable as how quickly she changed moods back when I advised I would simply go inside. She immediately stop her fake, whine cry thing that they do, and declared her intent to escort me on this journey. Uh, nope, you take too long, just stay in the car and finish your treat. “But I want to come inside,” she said with that same whine being reignited by the thought of her missing out on the opportunity to go into a coffee shop she has seen so many times before. I told her I would be quick and it was important that she finished her treats before karate.
By the time I backed into the parking spot, little W. had put her nerds container in the cup holder and was undoing her seatbelt. I repeated my instruction for her to stay in the car and finish her candies, but she said she was done. I reached back and picked up the tiny little box, and after realizing it was still half full, I lifted it up and confirmed with her that she was done. She said yes and she hurriedly undid her buckles and made her way to the door to await her servant, I mean mom, to open it for her.
It had been a quick minute since I had some nerds. They were a favorite as a kid, and there was no way I was going to let such a tasty treat go to waste. I got out of the car and walked around to let the younging out. As I hit mid hood area, I threw back the remaining nerds in the box of yumminess only to hear a simultaneous scream, that was audibly muted as it originated from inside the vehicle. Like a natural mom reflex, a grin came across my face because I had a sneaky suspicion what had caused the commotion.
I opened the door to a full blown meltdown. She was in such a state that you would have thought I burned down her doll house, ran over her hatchimal and gave away her Stormfly stuffy all in one go. Oh the horror on her face. After a few moments to catch her breath, she wiped the ugly cry snot away from her nose and looked at me with tear soaked cheeks, “why did you do that to me?” Naturally, I reacted the way that any mother would…
After I picked myself off the ground from laughing so hard, I realized she was not laughing with me. For some reason I thought that bringing logic into the conversation would help smooth things over. “You said you were done.”
She stopped sobbing enough to look me square in the eye as she processed…you could just picture her little brain saying what the f*** she just say? Trying not to laugh anymore than I already did, I asked her if she was coming inside. With an equally disgusted look, she scampered out of the car, briefly looking up at me wondering how such a horrible person could be related to her. Apparently that thought was too much because there was another burst of sobbing and another futile attempt by me to hold back my laughter.
Here I was dragging a screaming, sobbing child across the parking lot, thinking that I was lucky we lived in such a small town or someone might think I was abducting her or something. To be fair, if someone were to abduct her, I probably would suggest they take the time to get a coffee, because she can be exhausting! Going in through two sets of doors to get into the cafe area was excruciating. Two doors! Each time I stopped and let go of her hand to open it for her, she watched her hand fall limp to her side and then threw her head back with another cry of anguish.
After such an incredibly difficult journey through the gateway of two doors, she took a couple steps forward, staring at her feet and hanging her head in a final display of total despair. Her heart had been ripped out and left in the garbage with that now empty box of nerds, and she was feeling the loneliness of that empty box. She slowly lifted her head to look toward me, but although her head continued on the upward journey, her eyes were taken elsewhere. Right before her eyes, was a shining beacon of hope. Just like that she stepped forward out of the gloom of her grayscale life, toward the glowing utopic world in front of her. She reached out slowly, unsure if it was really real. Her fingertips made contact and she let out a quiet gasp as if it surprised her. She was in a bubble of happiness, harps playing in the background, lights glowing to emphasize her new found happiness.
She heard a mumble come from outside her bubble, but was fighting to ignore it. She wanted to hold onto this moment as long as she could. The mumble got louder and she shook her head trying to keep it out. It wasnt until I took her hand was she released from her trance.
“Take your face off of the pastry case!” She frowned as she realized that the mumble was actually me, telling her not to put her fingerprints all over the glass. Feeling bad for clearly ruining her life over half a box of nerds, I asked her if she wanted a treat for after karate. That frown immediately turned upside down and I walked out of there with a much different child than I walked in with. More importantly, I had my caffeine, so I was prepared for whatever other spirits felt like possessing her that day…at least until my tea was done.
For the record…that half box of nerds was totally worth it.😂