Monday, May 23

Life Without You: The next three days

Continued from 


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dear N-to-the-oah,

I’m exhausted. I’ll just put it out there right now. There’s not a lot to report in the way of what we did: went to Epcot, rode Spaceship Earth (and heard it in English this time—Dame Judy Dench narrates, incidentally), rode the Nemo ride, went to Cirque du Soleil.

What I would like to revisit (literally and figuratively) is La Nouba.

It was weird. I get that it’s supposed to be a dream, and in that sense, it’s pretty cool. But it’s weird. Ethan handled it pretty well, though, and luckily we were surrounded by understanding women who didn’t mind a little noise (not that it was a quiet theatergoing experience by any means).  With about 15 minutes to go, he had had enough.

I whisked him out into the lobby—I didn’t want to be the person whose kid was responsible for causing one of the swinging acrobats to fall because of his repeated screams, “Lets get outta here”—where we ran into another mom and her 3-year-old daughter. They turned out to be from Liverpool, her brother- and sister-in-law were performers in the show, and she was a completely lovely woman. One of those people I instantly connect and feel comfortable with, which is rare. On reflection, I wish I had exchanged contact information with her.

Her daughter, Isabella, needed to use the bathroom. After a minute or two, Ethan wanted to go find them. He of course charged ahead and began peeking under stalls to find their shoes. Suddenly he exclaimed, “Oh, there ya are!” as I caught up to him. Out from the stall came not Isabella, but Nancy Carell, Steve Carell’s wife, aka Carol Stills on The Office.

I didn’t panic like I normally do when encountering celebrities. Maybe it’s because I was in Mom Mode. But I knew I had to confirm that it was her, so I could tell everyone with certainty that I had a bona fide Celebrity Sighting. After she washed her hands and as she was walking past me, I touched her lightly on the arm and said, “I’m sorry to bother, but did you play Carol Stills?” She smiled and affirmed. I then said, “I’ll let you get back to the show, but I just wanted to say I love[d] you[r character].”

That’s where my recollection gets a little hazy, and I want to remember that I complimented her acting instead of declaring my personal adoration, but nevertheless. She got the point. She then sort of laughed, and I think said thanks, and then—I remember this clearly—she said, “That’s so funny!”

Upon reflection I’m not sure what she meant. Was it just a spur-of-the-moment response tossed out by the relatively limelight-free spouse of a very famous comic actor? Or was it something else? Something more along the lines of, “That’s so funny…that’s you’d approach me at a completely inappropriate time, i.e. during a toileting experience.” Or, “That’s so funny…that you have the nerve to talk to me after your son tried to spy my lady bits.” Or, “That’s so funny…I was about to say that I love you too, because I’m a regular reader of your blog.” Probably the second one.

Oh well. If Ethan’s behavior hadn’t been horrific, I never would have met Carol Stills. The things I wish I could have said, if there had been more time and a better venue, like say a preplanned meeting in a coffee shop. I would have told her how much the show has helped me get through, as silly as it might sound. I’d tell her how much I appreciate her husband’s roles on TV and film, but how I also understand his need to step away from it. After that we’d dish about being moms and talk about our careers and become best friends. Then we’d finish our coffee and go win the Tour de France as the first tandem team in history.

Alas, that’s my own personal La Nouba. I guess I’ll just have to settle for saying that I met her, that she was lovely, and quite tall.

Love to thee,


Friday, April 8, 2011

Noah darling,

So this is it. Our last night not spent directly en route to home. Ethan had three tantrums today, 2/3 transportation related. Getting on the bus this morning to Magic Kingdom, when he didn’t want to leave Tom Sawyer Island (because he wanted to get all the bad guys), and getting on the boat at Old Key West to Raglan Road. Thankfully there were kind people in both the transportation situations who helped me manage the stroller while I managed the Tasmanian devil.

He’s just tired. So am I. I’m actually getting better at being numb to bad behavior, and handling it accordingly. It is what it is, as I always say. I wouldn’t say I’m bad at single parenting. I will say I prefer tag-teaming it. My only consolation for thinking about your time in boot camp and training is that we’ll be in familiar territory at home.

As much as he’s frustrated me on this trip, I’m in love with the kid. His facial expressions, the inflection and accent in his voice, his cleverness, his affectionate little spirit. He has a memory like an elephant (that being said, I was still shocked and impressed that he recognized our stop from the last trip at Old Key West). He’s precious. The challenging bits never last very long, and they’re always easier when there are other understanding people around to help, even if they’re strangers. Once, on one of our many trips to the playground, I thought that the truth of the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child,” outweighs the cliché of it.

Our time alone together, though, was largely rewarding. As we made our way around Tomorrowland looking for things to do, he kept saying, “Let’s go have some more fun!” He also peed in many bushes throughout DisneyWorld, because he’s afraid of the toilet flushing sound and it’s pretty much constant in women’s bathrooms. I kept expecting to get caught and reprimanded, but if anyone saw us, nobody said anything.

I can’t wait to see you, and not just because you can take Ethan to the bathroom.

Love to thee,


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dear Noah,

This is the letter for Saturday, but by now it’s already Sunday. From past experience I know it’s rarely a good idea to write after midnight (it’s five past one) because I’m typically so tired that the usual scaffolding of rationality has fallen from my Tower of Emotion. Yep, and based on the drama in that last sentence, that’s exactly where I’m at right now.

I am so very happy that this time tomorrow night I’ll be in my own bed, with you. I honestly have nothing left emotionally at this point in our week apart. All I can really do is recount what happened.

We were literally 10 minutes away from arriving at the hotel when your mom hit the other car. I was actually texting you at the time, so I didn’t see it coming. All I know is that we hit the car, hard, and something was dragging under your mom’s car. 

Ethan was absolutely fine in every way. He wasn’t even crying. I got him, Bunny, and my backpack (with the laptop and camera) out of the car and moved a safe distance away, into the center of the wide, grassy median. 

The people we hit were from Indiana, and they were very gracious. The police officers were very kind and calm and drove us and our essential luggage to a nearby McDonald’s, where we awaited a cab. (They couldn’t drive us to our hotel, because it was outside the city limits.)

It took the cab driver awhile to find us due to some miscommunications, but that was fine. While your mom was filling out the paperwork, I had called our hotel and had the concierge get me in touch with the cab service (once again, they couldn’t send their shuttle because we were just outside the city limits). I got Ethan an ice cream cone, then at the attached gas station we bought some mints and butterscotches (which Ethan has trouble remembering the name of; at one point he called them “buttercups”).

When we finally made it to the hotel, I immediately took Ethan down to the pool. A couple families who were apparently vacationing together had some kids around his age that he played with. They then offered us half a pepperoni pizza they had bought, which was wonderful since it was almost 7. When I texted my mom and told her about the pizza, she wrote back: “That’s nice. They will be blessed.” I laughed out loud. I was doing a lot of it at that point (hysteria, I suppose), and I can only imagine what the people at the pool thought.

As I lie here, somewhat achy and certainly exhausted, his little sleeping self next to me, I also can’t help but feel a little sorry that the intimacy we’ve shared this past week is about to be over. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ready for normalcy. He’s a windmill when he sleeps. And he’s a bear to get to sleep without his own bed and familiar surroundings, especially in one-room hotel situations.

Tonight, though, after I’d turned out the light and we were lying cuddling, he wanted me to tell him about “his dreams.” I told him how we were at our house, and he was in his room with Daddy (and Adam, he said), having a rabbit fight. At some point, we also went outside to play with the soccer ball and the baseball, and I think even to shoot some hooks [ed. note: For Ethan, shooting hoops is "shooting hooks"]. I told him that Cody and Bonnie wanted to come into his room, but we said, "No way stinky buns." He, however, wanted them to come in. He must be feeling charitable. I also said that maybe a kitty cat was hiding in his bed again. And then the doorbell rang, and it was Nana and Poppy coming over to see him. He said he’d hide, and I said that Poppy would come sit on the couch to wait for him, and he’d sit on him thinking he was squishy pillows. Then the doorbell would ring again, and Bonnie and Cody would go barking, and we’d tell them to shush, and it would be KyKy at the door, saying he was home from Oklahoma because he missed us. We’d tell him to come on in, we’re having a party. I made cupcakes, but this time Ethan said the cupcakes should be yellow.

Then he turned over (sideways, really), and went to sleep.

For all the difficult things about this week, I am so glad I was here with our boy.

I love you,



Kyle Townsley said...

good read. would read again

Erin said...

Kyle Townsley—Thanks for saying that, random commenter who I do not know and am not related to in any way.

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