Bee and I went to the library yesterday, the big one downtown where I have to parallel park the minivan (my gosh, what an adult-sounding sentence). I picked the spot with the broken meter, but it was OK because then I realized I don’t keep any spare change for the meter anyway. When Ken and I lived in L.A., I kept a coin purse in the glove compartment and it would clink-clink-clink when I hit the speed bump in the grocery store.
It’s funny, the things you remember.
So we pulled into the parking garage and I had to mentally walk myself through how validated parking works, because it’s been years since I’ve had to validate anything other than my own emotional stability. I stuffed the ticket into my pocket and scooped Bee out of her car seat and into my arms, reminding her that cars can be fast and dangerous and to stick with mom.
“Cars go splat!” she said.
We rode the elevator to the children’s play center and Bee twirled in the lobby, a thing she’s been doing lately. If we’re in a big open space – the church sanctuary is a fave – she twirls with her hands in the air, eyes closed, head back. And she smiles and giggles and tells me to “‘Pin, ‘Pin, Mommy!” and I do, sometimes, but only sometimes. Other times, like this time, I think about the parking ticket in my pocket and how the first hour is free, but the second hour is a dollar and how I don’t have a dollar and “Should I use my credit card? Is there a fee?” and then the moment has passed. She spins away, on to the children’s center.
Life has been spinning away a lot lately. This morning I spotted the rice cereal we used to feed her, tucked in a back corner of the pantry (spin). And two weeks ago I made a run to the store for big girl undies (spin spin). Just moments ago Bee started counting to 14, lining up her bath toys for splash duty (spin spin spin).
I used to get car sick, mostly from looking out of the side window instead of straight ahead, in our own lane (hello metaphor). And I’d always heard that if I closed my eyes it would make everything better, but it never did. I’d get sicker and dizzier and the only thing that would help, I eventually realized, was to focus really hard on that gray pavement in front of our car. The yellow double lines, then white dotted lines, the tiny speckled road that blended and swirled into a solid gray as our speed grew faster. Nothing ahead, just what’s right.in.front.of.me.
And maybe that’s why I need to write it all down, to stare ahead at this road – our road – and focus in on the now and the present and the very near future, but not the far away, and certainly not the side window, and even more certainly not with closed eyes.
Because when my eyes are closed, I get dizzy. Especially when we’re spinning, you know?