Sometimes it’s a wonder that I’m still alive. That I haven’t guilted myself into the ground. Three months ago ONE and I received an evite to “Rock the Mall,” a Girl Scout event where troops from around the country would gather together to sing songs on the National Mall in celebration of the organization’s 100th anniversary. Hmmmm…I’d rather shoot myself.
But I hadn’t been able to involve myself in Daisies this year because the gatherings were on a night when my husband wasn’t home. And the guilt of being somewhat relieved about missing the meetings caused me to sign up for “Rock the Mall.” It was a Saturday event, and only a metro ride away. Plus it would be something ONE and I could do together, just the two of us.
The day arrived, and as it turned out, I had to bring TWO.
9:01 – I checked the weather. It was going to be a 90 degree day.
10:13 – The other moms looked surprised to see TWO with us. “You’re brave,” someone commented. “No,” I thought. “I’m an idiot.”
10:30 – A packed metro train arrived. We pushed on. The door closed on my backpack and didn’t reopen. ONE gasped. TWO started to cry. A nearby man helped me get my bag inside the train. Another gasp. This time it was a mother. Turns out I stepped between she and her 7YO daughter while trying to keep my family together. Her daughter was on the platform. The train left without her.
10:33 – The mother got off at the next stop.
10:35 – The train picked up more passengers than it could handle. There was literally no where to move. TWO is like me. Introverted and claustrophobic. She couldn’t handle it. So I picked her up and realized that I’d be holding her for the rest of the day.
10:37 – “I wish I’d known,” another mom yelled over the din. “You could’ve left her at our house. My husband was looking for something to keep our 4YO busy this morning.” I smiled, feeling a muscle tear in my arm.
10:50 – We finally arrived at the Smithsonian stop. So did several hundred of our closest friends. It was very possible that we wouldn’t make it out in time for the sing-a-long at 1pm.
11:14 – We got out and walked approximately 20 steps when TWO cried, “It feels like the desert out here!” I must have put her down at some point, because I had to pick her up again.
11:30 – We made it to the National Mall. There was a line for the sidewalk.
11:35 – The mother and daughter who had been separated were reunited.
11:41 – TWO cried out, “Look, Mama! It’s a circus!” It’s not a circus. The only clown there is me. (More tears.)
11:45 – There was an estimated 250,000 people in attendance; more manners than DC has ever boasted before.
11:49 – ONE took my hand and whispered, “Mama? I don’t care about singing the songs. Can we leave, please? This is the worst.” My heart soared. Really? But then I worried she was saying it because of me. Maybe she could sense how much I wanted to die. “Let’s just give it a few more minutes, Pea. Then we can leave.”
11:52 – Just as I turned to make our good-byes, ONE received her first “swap.” A handmade token from a Girl Scout in another troop. We looked up. The Mall was covered in “swap” opportunities. I hoped that since we didn’t make any that no one will give us any. But no. Someone even gave us a grocery bag to collect them. Again with the politeness. It was like trick-or-treating for sunstroke. Shoot me.
12:12 – We sat down to eat. A man on the table cloth next to us may or may not have been alive.
12:27 – There were 1 hour lines everywhere. 1 hour to enter a tent and make a bracelet. 1 hour to buy a water. 1 hour to use the Johnny-on-the-Spot. The idea of taking my girls in one of those inspired me to promote dehydration.
12:35 – More whining. We could sing from the air-conditioned train. It was time to GO.
12:55 – We were shoulder-to-shoulder trying to get out. People were everywhere. There were finally too many of them to form lines. I couldn’t find TWO. What color was she wearing? How had I done her hair? Who would I tell this to? TWO reappeared. I picked her up. The singing started. Or maybe I was hallucinating.
1:40 – We were finally back on the metro. I closed my eyes as ONE picked through her Swaps. She poked my arm. “I have the best idea for a swap we can make for the encampment in September!”
Encampment. Riiiiiiiiight. I signed up for that during a moment of guilt a few weeks before. Oh well, it couldn’t be worse than this. And we had at least three months before I really needed to think about it…
©2012 CEK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.