We are devoted skiers. We are incredibly fortunate that my mother-in-law lives twenty minutes from Okemo Mountain. We’ve had the opportunity to ski a lot, and we’ve gone up almost every weekend this year since New Year’s. I’ve become very impressed with the way we’ve got our routine down: dinner at Gordie’s office (a.k.a. Daddy’s Diner), followed by an abbreviated bedtime routine. After that, we’re in the car by about 7 and in Vermont by 9:45 or so. This past weekend was no exception, and we really enjoyed great spring-like conditions on the slopes. By the time we left Vermont on Sunday afternoon, I really didn’t think it was possible to have a more perfect family weekend.
The trouble began shortly before our departure when Tom announced that he was “very thirsty”. This was coming from a child who reminds me of a camel. He seems to be able to go hours without a drink. I am always on him to drink more, so I lept up and gave him a full water bottle (I’d guess about 10 ounces), thinking he would have a few sips and call it a day. Nope, think again. The water went down so fast it looked as if he’d just done a funnel. Not thinking twice, I said, “make sure you go potty before we leave, Tom.” to which he naturally replied, “I wheely don’t have to mummy.”
Twenty minutes into the ride the fiasco began. A meek, panicky voice from the back seat says, “I wheely need to go to the bathroom badly.” First stop: gas station. We needed gas, so not a problem. “Don’t touch ANYTHING!” I am yelling at Gordie and Tom as they stroll off to filthdom (yes, I have become my mother in this department). I would’ve much rather seen them duck around the back of the building than even touch the doorknob to the restroom. They return in once piece and we set off again, with Gordie telling me he is doubtful that this will be the last stop.
Half an hour later I hear: “I need to go again, I need to go again. Wheeeeely badly. I can’t hold it.” We are in a small town, but there is local traffic. I see Gordie tightening his grip on the wheel of the van like we are at the Indy 500 (that car would so not even make it around 1 lap of that course, but that is another issue altogether). His eyes are focused, and he’s looking for a place to stop. I was my usual terse and overly-anxious self in these situations: “TOM, Do NOT go. We will stop as SOON as we can. You must hold it another minute.” Gordie glared at me, as Tom was peeing in his pants and starting to cry. As he pulled into the lot of some foreclosed business, he says to me: “You were not supportive. You could’ve coached him through that a little more.” Coached him? Since when am I an expert on how the penis works? How the hell do I know what it feels like when a little boy is going to pee in his pants?” This coming from a man who practically falls over with anxiety every time he has had to shove a wipe up and around in all those cracks when changing a poop on one of the girls.
I know you are thinking that must have been the end of the story, but the poor little thing had to go once more a few minutes later, this time on the side of the road next to some school. His cute, little, and very white bum made me smile, and I laughed out loud at the whole episode. He finally settled back in, and we were on our way.
Some time after that, Hadley began hacking up a lung behind me. It seriously sounded like she had emphysema. The cough came from nowhere, and would not let up. I kept offering her a drink, and she barely drank anything. Finally, she took my bottle, only to spill it all over herself and start bawling: “Mommy, my tirt is wheely wet.” Gordie started glaring at me as if I were Houdini and he was waiting for me to wave my wand. I swear sometimes the man thinks all 3 umbilical cords are still connected to me. As if I could just swallow a sleeping pill and the whole car would be out. I was beginning to feel like we should just keep driving to drop me off at McLean hospital for a short-term stay (a prominent mental hospital in our area).
We finally made it home in 3 hours 30 minutes (45 minutes later than usual), and it will remain on record as one of our more interesting rides home. It’s the stuff that memories are made of though, right? Peace, love, and roadside peeing. On the road, and still smiling.