The things that we do for our kids. This is a phrase you hear often once you join the not so exclusive Club Parenthood. Usually upon hearing it you smirk and nod your head in agreement, and if you are anything like me you are silently asking yourself….WHY???
On a whim CJ thought it would be a great idea to partake in a fun family outing. To coin a phrase a good friend uses, it turned out to be a complete and utter ”s#it show” At 10 a.m. it seemed like a good idea when he text me;
him: I can get tickets to tonight’s hockey game, you interested?
me: sure, ya got one for E?
Me: Ok cool, that’ll be fun.
The downhill slope of a good idea gone bad began at 6pm when while still at the office, having just wrapped up what turned out to be a marathon meeting I returned to my desk to find that my phone had nearly imploded with activity, I had missed texts, missed calls, and a pile of emails. Without even looking at any of them I picked up the phone and called CJ. I was met with a testy “hello” I explained why I’d been MIA, and he griped that the game started in an hour and it would take me 45 minutes just to get home. I was quick to tell him hoping it would improve his sour mood that I was actually in the office that is just a hop skip and a jump from our house so I’d be home in 10, I just needed to pack up. He grumbled something I didn’t catch, which was probably just as well. I raced home and pull into the driveway to see him perched on the lawnmower with E on his lap making circles around the house. E was not dressed for an ice hockey game in a strappy sun dress and sandals, and he was still in his work clothes. I thought he was in a rush. Hmmph. I run inside, change into jeans and a sweater, and run to E’s room to grab her some warm clothes. A few minutes later in they trudge.
As we are gathering our stuff to leave, CJ turns to me and says “you got cash” “Not much” I reply. “It’s only $5 to park we’ll be fine” he says. “Well we are going to need more than that, I skipped lunch and am starving.” As we make our way to the car I had to explain how my lunch was sitting in the fridge at the office downtown. Being the kind soul and big spender that he is, he pulls into McDonald’s which is right before the entrance ramp onto the highway. At that point I’d of eaten just about anything. I said a silent prayer that my stomach would not declare a civil war on my digestive tract, and inhaled the food as we made our way to the arena. As we are getting off the exit CJ remarks how the traffic is awful light, and reaching for the tickets says “the game is tonight right?” A quick check and yes the date was right, but the game actually started at 7:30 not 7:00. It was 6:45. Keeping a squirmy 3-year-old occupied and in her seat for 3 full periods and 2 intermissions is tough enough, now add 45 minutes of staring at a blank sheet of ice. Normally at this point my filter would have malfunctioned and I would have mentioned this hiccup to CJ, but miraculously the lacks-a-filter seemed to have been in remission for the moment, and I smartly say nothing. Must be the grease from the burgers and fries I’d just inhaled lubed up the filter, allowing it to function normally.
The team we were watching is a minor league team who is part of the ECHL. The arena is intimate, it seats less than 10k fans. I tell you this because killing 45 minutes is a challenge, there is not much to do or see. We walked several laps before looking at each other and silently agreeing to head to our seats. It was during this time that I am texting my girlfriend who is a season ticket holder and die-hard hockey fanatic. Her daughter S and E are two weeks apart in age. Unlike me AL left the baby’s sex a surprise, needless to say, when she had a girl I was thrilled, and we have done our best to get the girls together as often as possible. They love each other and E refers to S as her best friend. I had a feeling they would be in attendance, and sure enough they were. AL however, smartly arrived with just a few minutes to spare before they dropped the puck. Knowing where they sit, I was watching for their arrival. Once they got there I made what in hindsight was the mistake of telling E that S was there. Trying to direct a 3 year olds eye to a certain spot in a crowd is challenging. Anything that was worthy of a landmark would require her ability to read, or fully grasp direction, like to the left of the Comcast sign. After what felt like forever somehow we muddled through it and she saw S standing frantically waving at her. Finally the buzzer buzzed the puck was dropped and the game began. Sadly, we didn’t see much of the game. We were involved too heavily in the game of entertain an over excited 3-year-old who wants to go see S, and asks to do so over and over and over again. That first 20 minutes felt like 2 hours.
With a little over a minute before the intermission I caved to E’s millionth “can we go see S now” and made our way down to the concession area where we met our friends. After 15 minutes of small talk in a high traffic area, and 2 over excited playmates I’d had enough of the annoyed glances of passerby’s who’d been unfortunate enough to step into S and E’s tag zone, and get hit head on in the thigh by E or S who had been told at least twenty times to quit chasing each other. AL announced that there were empty seats next to her and we could sit with them. Perfect I thought! We can watch the game, and the girls can entertain each other.
Well I was half right. Entertain each other they did. Watch the game….. there wasn’t much of that going on. S had to go to the bathroom. Suddenly E had to go too. So off AL marched with the girls in tow. She returned a few minutes later with two smiley girls. Clappers and a mini cow bell made an appearance. E was waving it frantically with a wide grin. As she turned to say Mommy look she nearly clobbered me in the face with it. I gently reminded her she needed to be careful. You’d of thought the girls had ants in their pants. It was up and down, down and up. At one point, E got the stiff leg stance that for me is the tell-tale sign that she has to poop. We were in big girl panties so I scooped her up and rushed her to the bathroom. We are making progress in the pooping on the potty, but it is an event. She is like a man. She has to get comfortable on the top of her throne. The pants must be around the ankles. And she must have the use of a smart phone with access to angry birds and fruit ninja. Without those creature comforts there is no poopage happening. I made sure I had my phone, so we had the angry birds portion covered. I didn’t spend too much time freaking out with the toilet paper on the seat, I have never heard of anyone dying from sitting on a dirty toilet seat. Maybe if she licked it that would pose a problem, but sitting on one, I was willing to take my chances. I think we were on the way to poopage when suddenly in the stall beside us arrive AL and S. E being the nosy Nelly that she is doesn’t miss a beat, and the arrival of her pal meant the end of any potential poopage.
We wash our hands which is a production in and of itself, and back to our seats we go. This time E informs me she is thirsty. In an effort to avoid taking out a second mortgage to cover the cost of overpriced stadium treats I had packed several snacks in my purse. These she had mown through in the first period. In our haste to leave the house, I had neglected to grab the sippy cup of juice that I had filled with every intention of bringing. Not wanting to make another trip I nodded and said we’ll get something soon. It was only a matter of minutes and the stiff-legged pose was back, and off to the bathroom we went again. This time I got the drink on the way back. There was a final bathroom trip this time overseen by CJ. When he returned he said “I’m ready to go, this is painful.” Agreeing I nodded, we said rushed goodbyes and just as the 2nd period was completed, we departed.
We exited into the parking lot full with a sea of cars. At least we are beating the rush of the mass exodus I thought. We headed in the direction of our car. Only we’d headed in the wrong direction, we stood and spun several complete 360′s before debating on which direction the car was in. CJ was jamming on the lock button of the key fob over and over and there we stood like idiots looking and listening for the tell-tale beep beep and flashing lights. Nothing. So we walked around, CJ holding the key high in the air as if holding it up was going to improve its signal. Still nothing. I don’t know how long we spent walking in circles, it felt like forever. At some point I wandered with E in tow leaving CJ to look in the other direction. We met back in the middle, still carless. I really began wondering if we were on some Punk’d or Candid Camera like show, or maybe our car had been stolen. I had to laugh at that though, they wouldn’t steal my 7-year-old Jeep in a parking lot full of foreign luxury cars, no it wasn’t stolen and no, we weren’t on a tv show. We were just two overworked, over tired parents who thought a spur of the moment family function would be a good thing to do. Make memories, and expose our daughter to new life experiences. In reality at 3 she won’t remember a minute of anything that happened. We likely won’t forget it, not because it was an enjoyable evening that went off without a hitch, but because it was just the opposite, and I am ok with that. Though I may ask myself why, I know the answer, because that’s what we do for our kids. By the way the Jeep was eventually found, right where we left it. Imagine that!
Til next time……peace out! KP