The Real Thing

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Yesterday Scott and T and I were driving (no, crawling) home from a 5pm doctor’s appointment in Santa Monica, where we had just learned that I have bronchitis and a double ear infection.

Along with the bronchitis/ear infection thing, I also have in-laws coming to town and novel edits due soon and a baby who thinks that sleep is for losers. When T looms wakefully over me at five in the morning, I could swear he’s holding his fingers in the shape of an L on his forehead. But, I digress.

So I gave T his beloved little die-cast metal school bus to pass the time, but he wouldn’t stop banging (no, smashing) it against the window of the car and I had to take it away from him. As we drove down one of the hills near the Getty Center, my ears ringing and my head swimming, T had a meltdown of Wagnerian proportions. I mean screaming, non-stop screaming, for a full twenty minutes.

Have you ever had the feeling that you were in a movie? Complete with clever camera angles and a killer soundtrack? This was the exact opposite experience. I felt like I was categorically not in a movie right then and might not be ever again. The movie had ended and the credits had rolled and someone had forgotten to tell me.

Scott’s jaw was twitching and my chest felt like it was going to cave in. I was ready to climb out the window, claw my way to the side of the freeway and hurl myself off an overpass into the deep San Fernando Valley. And then the weirdest thing happened. It was as if my chest actually did cave in, as if every piece of resistance inside me crumbled. I put my hands over my face and started laughing. We were walking this hard road that a trillion parents before us had walked and I know it sounds dramatic, but I felt a sense of belonging- as in to the human race. Maybe my newfound sense of belonging was just a feverish hallucination, but if hallucinatory revelations were good enough for the Beatles, they’re good enough for me.

When we got home, the same Daddy who had been silently grinding his teeth an hour before threw a wicked Black Eyed Peas dance party, and you haven’t truly lived until you’ve seen Scott and Tariku dance to “My Humps.”

It was the worst day. But it was the sweetest moment.

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4 Responses to 'The Real Thing'

  1. Karin says:

    Yep, that’s parenting: the highs are so high, the lows, so low. Welcome to the fold (and I hope you feel better soon).

  2. Steve Calde says:

    This reminds me of T’s first epic poop in ET, remember that? I loved how your reactions were not horrified freakout but uncontrolled laughter. ‘Cause you could really go either way on something like that. Get well soon!

  3. Kerri says:

    hope you feel better very soon.

  4. Clare says:

    Oh man!! So sorry to hear about the double ear infection/bronchitis nightmare. This story reminds me of the ones my mom tells about my sister and I, when we were going through our terrible 2s. We’d run in opposite directions, yelling “NO NO NO NO NO NO!” as she (desperately and fruitlessly) chased us. I’m sure I’ll pay for that one of these days…

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