Monday, August 30, 2010

the car

Today we celebrated a friend's birthday at a local diner at the end of a pier. We parked near the beach, walked ten minutes down a gorgeous boardwalk, and enjoyed our burgers and cupcakes. Lucy gave her friend a homemade card and present, and got a little cardboard pink Cadillac from the restaurant to take home.
She was distracted when I gathered our things, but I made sure to grab the pink car. "You know as soon as you forget it that they'll need it and have a meltdown about it," I said to the other people there.
We said our goodbyes, and Lucy happily took my hand as we made our way outside.

A minute or two later, I said, "I got your car,"
She stopped still. Her face crumpled. "No, Mama! That belonged to my friend!" And just like that, she was wailing.
You're kidding me, I thought. A meltdown for remembering the car?
We have to go in and give it baaaack", she said.
We had only minutes left on our meter. I knew it would take longer to navigate back upstairs, give back the car, go back out, and make it to our car. "We can give it to her next time we see her," I said.
"Noooooooooooo!" More melting down.

I was already carrying Julia, so there was no picking up Lucy. There was nothing else to do. I grabbed her hand, as gently as I could, I helped her walk down the pier.

Oh, is there any walk so endless than one with a screaming child? Every so often, I'd bend down and try to get her to calm down, but my one solution--giving the car to the friend later--was met with more screams. The fishermen, swimsuited tourists, the walkers and the restaurant-goers all stared at us as we walked down the boardwalk. We were much more entertaining than the fish.

Finally, we were almost to the end of the pier. Lucy fell to her knees and howled. "Noooo, Mamaaaaa! We have to give her her caaard!!!!!!"

Wait. Excuse me? The card?

I bent over. "Honey, she has your card. The card. I brought your car." I opened my bag, and pulled out the Caddy. "See?"

She looked in the bag, verified that there was, indeed, no birthday card in there, and said in a perfectly normal voice, "That's so silly!" Then she started skipping down the boardwalk as if she didn't have a tear-streaked face.

Ah, misunderstandings. Next time, I hope to have one on land.

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