Today I made my first trek to Trader Joe’s. Mapquested it. Studied a proper map to make sense of the directions. Never figured out where I was going, but set off anyway. Bright eyed, confident, tail bushy and strapped into the driver’s seat of Harlan’s cranky Honda. Two minutes out and boo was snoozing in his car seat. I personally never wake a sleeping baby, especially when I know for this one it would mean no nap today, so the trip was a bust. I went anyway, drove all the way there, just so I’d know where it was. Stopped the car in a space in the lot to see if by some miracle he’d be roused by the stop in motion, knowing by then he’d been sleeping for ten minutes and the rumbling of wild elephants wouldn’t wake him, but what the hell. Turned the car back on and drove home.
This seems to be the story of my life these days.
This weekend we went to visit my friend Jenny in Sag Harbor. We had an amazing trip down. Sunshine with a crisp breeze. Trees with their first fall blush. Aidan’s first ferry (and second and third). He entertained himself first looking at the shore, then the water all around. Later he came inside and stole a guy’s rolling suitcase and pulled it up and down the aisles, met a boy names Sawyer and rolled his race cars up and down the rows of seats. On the smaller ferries, where we were allowed to stay with our car, Harlan stood him up on the hood and he was brave and then panicked, jumping suddenly on his dad for protection and a hug. Harlan said it was as much fun as he’d had with his son. When we got to Jenny’s Harlan charged Aidan on the front lawn, like some crazed four-legged beast and Aidan ran shrieking with joy. He was exhausted, practically falling over, but he kept going back, again and again, to face his father charging him on the lawn under the Japanese maple.
Harlan went to New York for a cinematography conference and my sister met us out in the Hamptons. On rainy Saturday we walked into town to get burgers and a beer at the cool corner bar. I’d like to say I relaxed and had prime bonding time with my friend, but in fact I swallowed my burger in two gulps, washed it down with Bass ale and chased a one and a half year old around and around the restaurant, through the bar, “no, you can’t go into the kitchen!” The staff was cool with it until he started bumping into customers and dragging this yellow plastic cone around. I had to take him out into the rain and the ice cream store and the dry cleaner’s. Got home exhausted and convinced my sister to watch him for a while so I could crash.
The trip home wasn’t as idyllic as the way there. Aidan was exhausted from brunch, a trip to the beach, no nap, and he understandably became a little monster. We couldn’t keep him in a seat, even with his favorite Richard Scarry car book, couldn’t interest him in food, took turns chasing him on deck. By the time we hit the road, he was melting down. He’d slept the minute his butt hit the carseat, but woke up an hour later, so he was tired, hungry (even though he’d rejected my snacks) and cranky. He cried relentlessly in a way I hadn’t seen since he was little. Harlan and I got in a fight because he missed a turnoff for a dozen eating establishments and I’d become convinced Aidan just needed to eat. At the next exit, we pulled off the freeway and found a supermarket. Fed him a turkey sandwich and a yogurt. Let him jump around the car. Changed him into pajamas and watched him fall asleep rocked by the motion of the car.
This is my life. Sometimes I love it. Sometimes I don’t. But in any case, this is my life.