I could tell by the looks on their faces that something had
gone awry, but I had absolutely no idea.
It was the first beautiful day after a long winter and my
friend and I set our kids loose at the park on a Sunday afternoon. As long as we caught the occasional
visual and saw no blood, everything else was fair game. Stealing other kids’ toys? Whatever-
it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Work it out.
Eating rocks (again)? Maybe they’d fill up on them and take a great
nap. Approaching the street with
oncoming traffic? Great running practice.
We all were happy to be out of our houses and into the great wide open.
I’d clearly had too much fresh air when I sauntered up to a
family having a picnic nearby.
“Sorry our kids keep hijacking your toys,” I said jovially. I wasn’t sorry. I was just geeked out on sunshine and
out of my head with unusual friendliness.
We struck up a conversation and it was all going well.
My son had wandered up at this point and asked to be held as
the families swapped adoption stories.
“I LOOVEEE LIIFFFEEEEE” I thought in my head as I wondered why I didn’t
get out more/talk to people on a regular basis.
I noticed one by one that each of the husband-wife pair began to look less
amused. I immediately began doing
a mental playback of the things I’d said, searching for a possible
offender. I didn’t know how to
gracefully exit the conversation, so I just kept talking. With the baby on my hip, I distractedly
obliged as he pretended to feed me.
He is super in to pretending
As I tilted my head slightly towards one of the men, I saw
each expression shift to horror in a ripple effect. Out of nervous energy, I began over animatedly interacting
with my son’s game. “Mmmmm! Yummy!
(smacking noises and ridiculous carrying on). But this time, I noticed there was actually something in my
mouth. And it was salty.
I froze for a moment, then slowly, ever so slowly, turned to
see my toddler with his finger up his nose heading back for more of what the
all American family had been watching for who knows how long now. Surely not.
I looked back at the pristine families on their precious
worn out quilt, all slack jawed and shaken up from the trauma thinking to
myself, “they’ve just witnessed the most horrific scene of their life. How do I
get out of this? What’s my exit
So, with a cheek full of, well, you know, I smiled a talked
about, well, I have no idea, and my face burned crimson. I turned on my heels and headed to the car, looked at my
baby and said, “We do NOT put our boogers in Mama’s mouth!”
And also, that’s why we don’t get out anymore.
Now I remember.