Dropped the big one back off at college. It’s about 4 hours round trip. Two days after we took him for the first time, his sister and I made the trip again because he needed socks. He had enough to wait for them to be mailed, but I had to. That time we stayed like 5 minutes, turned around and came right back. Now we get food or something before hitting the highway again.
His brother and sister came with today, rather than sitting home for 4 or 5 hours. It was, by far, the most time we were together, all of us, in a long time. Despite the gap in face to face time with my college guy, we Wordle daily and talk often. He had a crew in the city last night for the St. Patrick’s festivities so the usual quick fire back n forth that generally takes up this trip in the front seats while his sibs do whatever in the back, fizzled after about 20 minutes, understandably. I cranked the music and got to the chain restaurant near school he requested.
It was a typical us dinner. Us anything, actually. By this I mean that within seconds of being seated after our two hour trek, all three of us boys were on our phones and the usual sound machine that is my daughter started up. My baby girl (BG), who has spent a majority of her time, seriously, from the womb on, going to or being at her brothers’ activities. So many games and practices and sitting in parking lots waiting for them to get out of games and practices. So, I get it. There is constant sound emitting from her face. Constant. I get it. One of those awful parent things that I also get? It’s equally heartbreaking and…annoying. But. Like. She knows it. At least at some point.
Its either singing or humming or sound effects or it is what it was at the restaurant today. Literally just her having multiple strings of full blown conversations about random thoughts in her head from out of nowhere to a group of people clearly not listening to her. Hearing her, yes, but not listening. And then she almost always realizes her ploy for just any attention isn’t working so she starts laughing at some punchline that wasn’t a punchline until she decided it was time for the sounds to sound like laughing. It is fake and forced and obvious. But eventually usually either I or her brothers will simply look up and react. Maybe it’s a raised eyebrow. Maybe a sarcastic smirk. But once that happens she explodes. The fake stuff turns into the genuine article. This is exactly how it went at the restaurant today and within seconds she absolutely won, because none of us were looking at our phones, and all four of us were wiping away tears brought on by belly-deep laughing fits.
And the dinner was atrocious. We were obviously forgotten. Admittedly so. And then half of our food was so they just had it sit back there until the rest was incorrectly made and plated. I’m not a complainer. Confrontation makes me ill. But my daughter had paper in her food and it was time to dad up and I did so, free food. And we’re not fancy so the kids ate and I picked, having ordered only to look like I was a normal eating person in front of my children. But the thing is, even with what to some people might be a dreadful experience, as soon as I got back from talking to the manager the entire time we ate, we laughed. Just silly constant laughter. Heartbreaking, needy, contagious, annoying BG set the tone, playing her role to a T. Into the parking lot and back in the car with 10 minutes to campus we were us, and we laughed almost the whole time about one thing or another. Like we knew. We felt that this would be it for who knows how long. I’ve been under more stress in the last week or so than I can remember being under in months. And they all have their various things going on. But we had that little moment and it was magic and it sprung, so naturally, from just who we are as a unit. Sigh. Back to real life. Thankful for the full tank round trip that I definitely didn’t have time to take, but am so glad we did, and that we got to do it together.
“Every time she blinks
She strikes somebody blind
Every time she thinks
She blows her tiny mind”