Leo and I received an invitation to a holiday gathering with some people that his company serves. It is an African American affiliation and one of the guys is trying to help Leo gain some contacts and build a relationship with the people there, so this was a good opportunity for him. The gentleman that invited us said that it would be a casual family fellowship. Sure. Leo even asked him several times, reminding him that we had small children to ensure that this was actually a family event that the boys would be welcome. So, last night, we dressed the boys, I actually showered and we headed out the door. I threw some pretzels in my bag, but we were going to dinner, so I didn’t feed anyone.
Zeb cried the entire way there. Forty-five minutes.
Aside from the crying baby, the trip was without drama.
We arrived to a room full of men in suits. White table cloths. Silver. Glasses. Napkins folded into elegant towers. Cake on the table. Cake that shouldn’t be eaten until dessert. Cake that we had to sit our three year old in front of and explain that he couldn’t eat it until dessert. There were no other children.
I suddenly had visions of the drink being spilled on the lap of the beautiful woman in the ornate hat in front of me. I imagine cake being splattered on the wall. I imagined screaming Zeb and Simeon hiding under the floor length table cloths. I wanted to hide under the floor length table cloths. I began to sweat. I couldn’t handle the visions of impending doom.
So we took our seats on white covered chairs with beautiful satin bows and were greeted by several people. The boys grew wiggly, My armpits gushed. Just as I was explaining to Leo through a strained grin that it would be best if I took the boys to the closest Chick-fil-A, an older gentleman came and sat with us. He was trying to convince me to stay, and he really was kind. I explained to him that I had seen the damage my children can cause and I didn’t think it would be nice to ruin their lovely dinner party. Then my hip began to feel warm. Then my leg began to feel warm. I reached down to find that both had also grown very wet.
Zeb’s diaper began to leak. Leo had just changed him an hour ago and it was a new pack of diapers! I’ve used this brand for a long time now, and it’s never leaked before. Sure enough, though, that was my out.
Just as I was walking out the door, Leo called out that he had no signal on his phone. Well there’s nothing we can do about it now, I’ve got to go!
The boys and I walked quickly through the blessed cold (my armpits screamed a thank you) to the car. As we approached, Simeon began to drag his steps. When I opened the car door, he refused to get in. “Come on darling, get in please. I’ll give you a sucker. No? We’ll go get a fun dinner treat. No? I’ll let you bundle up in my nice jacket. No? Just get in the freakin’ car already or I’ll put you there myself!!!!” In he went.
Then he refused to sit down in his seat. I settled Zeb in his seat, then went back to my own little General Custer and tried to coax him into his seat. I was cold. It was starting to sprinkle. It was dark. He would not back down. So I climbed into the car, closed the door and wrestled my screaming, kicking, stiff as a board three year old into his car seat. Then I twisted myself around. Did the splits and got my heel caught in the steering wheel trying to get into the front seat.
Simeon settled into a full on rage. He began banging his head on the window. I put the car in drive before someone called protective services on the crazy white lady who must be kidnapping those two screaming black babies (by this point, Zeb had joined in the mayhem).
I tried to find my way out of the parking lot, only to find that all of the exits had been gated shut. So I was stuck. I was stuck in my car with two screaming boys, one who was now punching the window and yelling help me!!!, and stuck in the parking lot with nary a soul in sight. Oh yeah, and Leo got no signal in the nice warm building, with fancy dinner party less than 100 yards away.
Finally, someone came and opened the gate, but I didn’t see who, or I would have sent for Leo. I drove. Breathing deeply, trying to block out all the screaming, I plugged Chick-fil-A into our GPS. There was one 1.1 mile away. We were off. Surely when the boys saw their beloved red sign, we would have peace. We headed to a fairly well lit and busy street. It looked promising, but then we turned off the main strip and onto a very dark road. We drove just a ways when my GPS announced that we had arrived at our destination. Ummm…. it was an abandoned movie theatre. Seriously.
The boys continued to scream. I began to cry. I felt jittery in my bones. We went back to the place we started. Finally, a woman came out of the building and I stopped her. My make-up smeared, my hair ruffled, my babies screaming, I called out for help. She came running over, looking very concerned. I explained that my husband was in a dinner party and that I couldn’t get him, could she help me. His name is Leo. “What does he look like?” Really?! I told her he was the only white guy in the building, she’d know.
Minutes later, Leo came out and found three sobbing, soaked, mussed masses clamoring for him. He looked shocked as I sobbed “I was trapped in the parking lot..sob, sob… Simeon, fit… sob, sob… no phone…. sob, sob… Chick-fil-A, sob, theatre, sob… nice woman… sob, sob, sob… I wanna go home… waaaahhhhh!!!!”
And with as much composure as he could muster for us, he got everyone safely back into the car and pointed us in the direction of home. Both boys screamed the entire way (Simeon’s rage lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes).
When we got home, I climbed into the bath tub, underwear and all, with Zeb who was crying and shaking and clinging to me. Leo made peanut butter sandwiches for the boys, it was 10:00 at night. Then we put Simeon to bed and Leo went to Wendy’s and got me a frosty. Frostys (or is it frosties?) really do make things better. Then he let me go to bed, while he wrestled Zeb down for the night. Then he let me sleep in this morning.
Both boys have recovered nicely. You can expect more blogging because I don’t plan to leave the house again… for a very long time.