50/52 – Reflect
After my early morning haircut, I promised the Doodle I would take her for a hot apple juice on the first of our four mommy-Doodle Saturdays. For two weekends in December, and another two in January, Otto heads to the university classroom to teach her fellow human resource professionals. The Doodle and I get to hang out.
It was a bitterly cold Saturday, maybe the coldest on record this year. We were bundled up in outer layers to compensate for a decided lack of first layers, or rather, the Doodle had chosen that there was nothing better to wear in the middle of the Canadian winter than a light summer tank top paired with a skirt. I insisted she compensate with snowpants.
I was laden down with hats, mitts and scarfs and soon ran out of pocket space and purse room to store them in. My arms were full of jackets. I was trying to gently guide a toddler to the side of the store where we could get our hot beverages, and then take her to the other far end of the store to the place where the thing I wanted to show her was. Of course, we would take a detour by the bathroom, kids book and toy section. But I wanted the highlight of the visit for her to be to stand in the exact spot where Mommy met Mama for the first time.
The Doodle isn’t quite old enough to appreciate our love story yet. It’s one that can be summed up as follows – girl meets girl on internet, they take notice of one another while pretending to be uninterested, they begin to correspond, and then they end up in the middle of a quirky game of tag. Our first meeting was a planned meeting, but it wasn’t really a meeting. We didn’t say hello or shake hands. We didn’t have a conversation or exchange pleasantries for that matter. It’s a wonder we ended up married raising three kids together given our quirky first encounter of each other are real human beings.
It was important for me to stand in the exact place with the Doodle at my side where I first laid eyes on her Mama. Her Mama had been sitting on a chair in the poetry section.
As all things change with time, the tidy row of chairs that used to reside under the large window are now three chairs separated by two large tables piled high with books. The poetry section is now the science fiction section. And a toddler doesn’t have the patience to stare at an empty chair while you reflect and share with her snippets of your greatest love story.
In true childhood fashion, romantic love is irrelevant and cannot hold a child’s attention for long. The Doodle was enamored by the train set where she could push the tiny wooden trains along the track while making ‘choo-choo’ sounds. She was also fascinated by the buttons in the elevator and quickly pushed one when we got into it.
I’m thankful that she knows to only push one button, but she can’t read, so just pushes the button that’s nearest her reach. My arms were laden with winter outer layers and I couldn’t intercept her in time. Toddlers are speedy and once a button is pressed it cannot be unpressed (which I think is a total design failure). The doors had just closed behind us and we had not yet begun moving down to the floor below. We were stuck in limbo on the slowest elevator ever while the intercom was making an outbound call. The Doodle hadn’t touched the door open or door close button. She hadn’t accidentally selected an incorrect floor.
As it would happen on this particular elevator the lowest pressable button within a child’s reach was the help button. And this particular help button didn’t ring a bell or set off and alarm. It was calling out to someone. I desperately wanted to get off the elevator while reminding the Doodle not to hit buttons until I showed her which ones she should hit. No matter how I searched for an end button or pounded on that button to undo my child’s doing, I was totally shit out of luck. The elevator finally moved, the doors opened, we were about to escape, and that’s when the voice came out from the wall, “911. What’s your emergency?”
Now we have two great stories to reflect upon every time we visit this store. How Mommy met Mama, and the time that the Doodle discovered the ‘help’ button.
I snapped the picture above just after the aforementioned incident. She looks so innocent walking amongst the stacks with her hot apple juice. “Call 911? Who called 911? Not me!”