These are the happy days, I get the kids and we get to have the kind of fantastical conversations that only children get to have. We’ve even got a soundtrack for these days. Ladysmith Black Mombazo, especially track 11, or as we liked to call it, The Tap Dance Song. The Mancub asked for Justin Timberlake. I said no, and I meant it. We also listened to some opera (they didn’t like, mostly) some U2 (they did like), Christmas music and some other stuff.
There was a special order to who got picked up first too, I had to alternate which child I got first or I would hear it from them, everything had to be fair.
We also had special ways to get home:
- The Fast Way – Route 50, highway, it was quick and they liked this best in the dark. I never liked it because I just didn’t like taking them on the highway.
- Bumpy Bridge Way – This way includes Cry Baby Bridge on Govenor’s Bridge Road, renamed to Bumpy Bridge by me because of the bumpy effect of the corrugated steel surface and because I don’t want to explain why on earth some grown up would name it Cry Baby Bridge. Someday I’ll tell them about the Goat Man, who is said to haunt these parts. The best thing about this road is that we were usually the only ones on it. It’s a very picturesque two lane road with cows and horses and some geese.
- Lost Way – Once Bumpy Bridge Way was flooded and I just made a left. Patuxent River Road is another one of those lovely, winding two lane roads with farms, flowers and cows. The kids freaked until we came out onto 214. Such the fun road though. The first time we drove it I had to stop so that Princess Sweetpea could stop and be nauseous. After they got over being afraid, they loved it.
- Long Way – Just 424, another 2 lane road, but much busier and not nearly the charm of the other two.
Somedays we would stop and pick up fruit or flowers at a roadside stand. Once we watched a Med-Evac chopper land. We stopped and waited for the passenger, then for the chopper to take off again.
The best part about these days were the conversations, like the one about the injured man. They asked the best questions, mostly unanswerable (what happened? did he die? does his mother know?), and we prayed for him. Other conversations went something like this:
The Mancub: Guess what happened in class today?
Me: I don’t know, tell me.
The Mancub: My butt farted all by itself, and it was stinky!
And so on. Sometimes we would talk about God, I’d tell them Bible stories. They especially loved the stories about David and Daniel and their encounters with wild animals. One story didn’t go as planned. At least as I planned it. I told them about Noah, the Ark, God’s promise and the Flood. After I finished explaining that the Rainbow is God’s visible promise that he won’t destroy the world in a flood again, The Mancub says “That mean’s I’ll never drown!” Stupidly I respond to this with “Not really, honey, what that means is…”
I never got to finish. The Mancub burst into tears and started wailing “I don’t want to die!!!!!” “I want my MOM!!!!!” Both Princess Sweetpea and I are trying to calm him down, but it’s not working. Part of my problem is that I won’t lie to the kids, especially not about God. That’s why I don’t tell them Santa Clause is real, when the time comes I don’t want to have to explain elaborate lies about an unseen magical man. If I need to tell them about anyone unseen I wanna make sure that I actually believe what I’m saying, so I limit my mystical conversations to Jesus and God. It’s not that I don’t tell them stories, I do, but I make sure they understand that I’m telling stories.
Well, The Mancub finally calmed down. Okay, it wasn’t me, it was his Mamma. She yelled at me not to tell them anymore scary stories, so we haven’t talked about Noah again.
Princess Sweetpea loves to hear stories, The Mancub too, but Princess Sweetpea thirsts for them. I tell her about battles long ago, about the Dark Ages, Rome, Greece, about brave people who stood up for what they believed in. I can’t wait to tell her more.