The Best Day Ever
It did not start out the best day ever. Although sorry that Miss P has been presenting with some unmentionable gastric symptoms (that worry me more than they do her), I was not sorry to have an excuse to haul everybody over to the Children’s Hospital to drop off a “sample”. Everyone is just so nice over there. The staff is all crispy and smiling. They don’t seem to mind children in pajamas or children running in the halls or children singing in the cafeteria.
Well, we weren’t in the car two minutes before the kids asked what was in that container there. I explained about Miss P’s sample. They were understandably intrigued.
Charlie: “Can we see it?”
Me: “I can’t show it to you right now because I am driving, but you can see it at the clinic.”
Charlie: “Just throw it on back here mom, I’ll catch it!”
Confident as he was that he could “catch it”, I could not bring myself to throw it on back there, and they just had to wait.
The suspense was just about to kill them as we pulled into the parking ramp. We glided smoothly in without so much as a scratch to the van. And it was not until Level 2 that a sickening scraping, crunching sound reminded me that we had neglected to take the car-top luggage carrier (from our recent month long trip to Birmingham) off the top of the van. Apparently the ceiling of the ramp is lower on Level 2. There was no way to back out and no way to go forward, as closer inspection revealed that the next ceiling beam was even lower. So, I pulled into a parking space and sent an emergency text to Dan.
Fortunately, he works only a block from the hospital. Unfortunately, upon checking his schedule he found that he would not be able to work us in for another 3.5 hours. He suggested I try my hand at the removal, but he reinforced it so well with a labyrinth of bungee chords and ties and the car top carrier is heavy and it was -11 degrees and I had all these short people with me, so I decided to wait until Dan could come.
We were a little late for Miss P’s appointment, so I grabbed everybody and pulled them along at a brisk trot. “Oh! oh!” Miss P panted, “Why are we running? Do they need me to do something on a stage?”
It is kind of a let down to know that not only are you not wanted on a stage, but all they really care about is your poop.
We finished the appointment and had only three hours left to wait for help to arrive. Fortunately, the hospital has a beautiful child care center for siblings of children with appointments. Unfortunately, you are supposed to leave your children there while you attend an appointment (not drink coffee in the lounge), and we had no more appointments scheduled.
I decided to march in confidently, figuring that since Miss P operates under an assumed name the teacher might not notice that she had already had her appointment for the day.
“Hello, Charlie, and Elizabeth, and Miss P,” she greeted her old friends warmly.
And to me (nodding at Annie): “And the name of the child with the appointment?”
“Mary.” Technically I was telling the truth. Miss P’s name is “Mary” and she was the child with the appointment. But I know what she thought. She thought I was taking Annie to an appointment, not out for coffee.
And of course Elizabeth had to pipe up: “But why are we here when her appointment is already over?”
There was nothing to be done but gasp, “Look over there!” And then sneak away with Annie before questions could be asked.
I felt so guilty, knowing I was living a lie, I could not even enjoy my coffee or my magazine one bit. It was all I could do to wait an appropriate amount of time before I could snatch them back out of child care and get my life back on track.
My plan was to wait the remaining 2.5 hours in the cafeteria, but on our way we noticed a bluegrass concert happening in the Starz Studio where they broadcast live on the Children’s Hospital channel. Would you believe that the live studio audience section was empty? Not for long. We took the front row, and clapped along all by ourselves. The emcee was so grateful to have us that he produced stuffed animals for each of the children. The music was really great. Miss P could not help but jump up on her chair for a little hip shaking. Annie followed suit, and Elizabeth joined in with shoulder action. Even Charlie engaged in some subtle toe tapping.
After the concert we swung by the cafeteria for pizza and giant cookies.
Where Charlie said, “This is even better than Lifetime Fitness*”.
And Elizabeth said, “This is the best day I have ever had at Children’s Hospital.”
And then Charlie said, “This is the best day I have ever had in my life.”
About that time, Dan called from the ramp, to inform us that he had successfully transferred the luggage carrier to the top of his little grey Honda Civic, where it easily cleared the roof.
And then we went home to nap. And all agreed, it was the best day ever.
*While in Birmingham I found out that at Lifetime Fitness, where my mother has a membership, members can deposit their children free of charge for three hours of classes that include Karate, Gymnastics, Zumba, and Spanish. For the remainder of our stay I availed myself of this resource for the allotted three hours every single day.
**What Miss P would have done if they had wanted her on a stage: