Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Sunday, March 8, 2015

'Meet' me in Saint Louie

I slopped out of bed  yesterday and dragged myself to the closet to get dressed.  The Littles and Middles were already up because on Saturdays they set an alarm to get up at 6:30 AM to watch cartoons.  It is a throwback to my childhood, this whole allowing them to watch 'junk-food TV', as I call it.  Every kid should get to have some "me" time on Saturday morning.  Okay, I really don't feel that way.  What I really feel is that I want sleep on Saturday more than I want food and, if it weren't for that whole asphyxiation thing, air.  I would sell my firstborn for 2 more snoozes.  Don't judge me.  Before we caught them, the kids had been getting up at 4:30 AM.  We set a limit... no earlier than 6:30.  See what good parenting?

Anyway, I bumbled out to the studio and told them to hustle, we had to get to the meet. "The.  Meet."  Two words I think I will be saying often from now on.  It's track season, and Adam had his first track meet.  Let me explain this to you if you have never been to one before.  Those of you who have, sit back and knowingly nod your heads.

You get up at 0-dark-thirty, pack like you are going to Antarctica, then pack more like you are going to the Sahara.  Now, pack food for 25 people.  And water.  Lots and lots of heavy water.  Yell at slowpokes 12 times, because, hey, it's early, and nice mommy doesn't get up for 2 more hours.  Get in the car and drive to Saint Louis, Missouri.  When you are 5 blocks from there, stop and use the lovely bathroom at the grange hall during an AA meeting, because apparently it cannot possibly wait 5 more blocks.  Thank the nice sober people, and drive the 5 blocks to Saint Louis.  When you get there, park, and walk to Michigan.

Now see if you can find a bench made of pure stone.  Okay, I guess metal will do.  Make sure it is 4 inches narrower than your booty so said-booty will hang off the back real nice-like.  Okay, now unpack, because someone is already starving and may whither and die.  Snacks, coloring books, cray... oops, no crayons.  Here's a pencil, kid.  All settled?  Great!  It's starting!

Now... wait.

Do that a lot.  Like, for two hours.  Tell yourself that you are doing this to show your darling offspring how much you love and support him.  Yah, keep telling yourself that.

Oh! Wait, your kid is up!!! On the OTHER side of Lake Michigan.  RUN around the outside of the track.  Okay, actually, start out running, get 50 "meters" (because when you are at a track meet we are suddenly British, and we no longer use 'feet' ).  Now, stop and  limpingly pant, trying not to look totally out of shape as a pack of healthy teenagers flies past.  Arrive at the other side of the Lake just in time to watch your beloved child, fruit of your loins run for 5 seconds and jump.  Did you blink?  No worries, you still get two more tries to watch him scratch (for those of you who don't speak track, to scratch means to cross an imperceptible line that only the guy with the measuring tape can see, with the tippy-tip of your child's very expensive spiky shoes (that he will outgrow in a week), thereby losing claim to the awesome jump he just did).

Watch him do that two more times.

Fabulous.  Most thrilling 15 seconds of your life.

Now walk back to the other side of the lake.  Sit on pins and needles waiting for the next event.  After an hour or two, get off the pins and needles, the bench is already cozy enough.

For the next four and a half hours:

 ~ feed small, squawky humans sundry snacks while trying not to eat them yourself out of desperate boredom.

~  take 37 trips to the oh-so tidy 100 year old bathrooms.  On the last 3 trips, help small people use toilet seat covers because there are no tiny toilet paper squares left.  Wash your hands in the sink that wasn't being thrown-up into when you walked in.  Dry them on... oh, never mind,  Drip.

~  see how many ways you can roll a sweater under your tushy to kill the pain,

~  realize the smallest person in your group used your water bottle straw to color on the very clean bleacher seat.  Also, rescue her cookie from her mouth a split second too late when she mistakes the ground for something not riddled with Ebola.

~  rescue that same person 7 times from flying head first down the bleachers.

~  break up 8 small tiffs, 'cuz that's fun that travels anywhere.

~  realize you forgot the sunblock.  Watch as that becomes burningly obvious on your family's faces.

~  forget why you are here, and the name of the kid you are here to cheer on.

~  decide you might as well cheer for some other kid.  It's something to do (oh!  Hey!  I just figured out why all those other people were cheering for Adam!).

~  become lifelong friends with the nice ladies sitting two rows back (honestly, I loved them.  They were chipper and positive, and they kept flirting with my kids and calling them 'cute'.  They are now on my Christmas card list.)

~  give up entirely that this thing will ever happen, and go find a cool bench in the shade with 6 other defeated parents.  Try to keep the smallest people in your group from running away down the non-bleacher filled slope of  skin-grinding asphalt.  Fail several times.

Now here is the important part.  This is what it has all been hanging on.  Your event, the one that the whole day has led up to, is finally here.  You muster the will to care again, and leave the shade.  A gun goes off (by the way, why a gun, of all things?  Hello!  Guns in school!  I mean, I know they shoot blanks, and they are loud enough to get the point across, but seriously?  Must we?  What is this, the olden days?  They can put a man on the moon...)

Oh, yeah, the gun went off.

Watch as the little bug wearing red way-the-heck-down-there gets closer and closer until it becomes the sunburned version of a child you once cared about before this whole day sucked you dry of your will to live.

Now watch as he suddenly starts to pull ahead.

And as he starts jumping over long metal thingies that some moron left at even intervals on the track  right in your precious child's way.

Hold your breath.

Feel dizzy.

(oh!  gotta breathe!)

See him gain the lead!

See him fly like he wasn't even related to you!

Cheer!!! Include embarrassing pet names!!!


See his foot get, oh no! ... caught!  ...hurdle tipping!  ...limbs wonky! GASP!!!!!!!

See him recover.


See him lose his lead, but finish the race.

Worry a little about his heart, now that you know you won't be spending the evening in the ER having a hurdle-ectomy.

See him smile.

See that all is well in his cute heart (whew again!  Hate the drive home with a sad athlete.  If you've been there, you know).

Make mental note to slap beloved son in the head when you see him for scaring the bless-ed crap out of you and making you think you might never have grand children because of how it looked like he might straddle that dang metal hurdle at 300 miles an hour (for gosh sakes! We put helmets on kids when they are frolicking on padded playgrounds, but we tell young people to go running wild-willy-nilly down a track full of metal DEATH TRAPS with all their important bits exposed.  Please, call me later and explain this to me.  No,  never mind.  I will be argumentative and it will damage our friendship.

Four seconds after you see that your awesome son is okay, head for the van in Missouri, only it feels like it got moved to Wisconsin.

Enjoy the lovely Saturday evening traffic for the first time ever, because; - you have AC, and -your tushy is finally happy on the padded seats.

Hear the small people snoring.

Repeat next week in Kansas.


jstme said...

oh, Laine! you outdid yourself this time!!

Jeannie T

rebekahmott said...

This was a great great story!!! It made me laugh out loud and hang on to every word. I loved it!!! I will probably be reading it again in a couple days because it was that good, or is it because??? Just kidding it was so good!!

julean said...

Awesome Laine. I laughed so hard! What a wonderful post. xoxo