Yesterday at 4pm, the dreaded call came in from school: "Hudson has a fever. You have to come pick him up and he can't come in tomorrow." Well, there goes another day of work, I thought. As if it were possible to feel more behind... So this morning, as I emailed everyone to let them know I wouldn't be in the office, I knew I had a choice to make. Half-ass both work and taking care of my kid, or pick one and do it as well as I could.
I opted to shut down my computer and join Logan and Hudson on a great adventure. We took a walk through the village, dropped a load of cash at the Zoning Office, and landed at the park. "I SWING!" "I SLIDE!" "I RUN!" Who said this little boy was sick??
When Logan headed back home to get the car (extraction from the park takes serious planning and logistics), Huddy and I headed down to the river with two big cups filled with rocks. One by one, he launched the rocks into the water, reveling at every PLOP. We were having the grandest of times, when two slightly older, amazingly annoying boys showed up, running straight into the water, grabbing fistfuls of mud and throwing them all over the place.
Minutes later, a woman showed up behind them and the showdown began. Clearly a mom used to ruling the roost, she copped a major attitude implying that she owned the park and that, really, there was no room for a rock-throwing toddler on her riverbank. Before I even had a chance to properly rebut, Hudson went barreling down toward the water to play with the big boys. I sprung into action, scooping him up and saying, "No, Huddy, you can't play near the water just yet. It's dangerous." He, of course, burst into tears and started thrashing about with all his might. Hudson was still bawling as I walked up the hill, away from the river and that MOTHER. I felt so bad for him. How was he supposed to understand why other people could ruin his fun, and turn an awesome, chill moment with mom into total chaos and frustration?
I did the only thing I know how to do. I gave him a big hug to help calm him down and I told it to him like it is. "Sometimes, Hudson, no matter what you want or what you do, life just throws stuff like that at you, and you know what? It totally sucks. It sucks that we were having fun and they ruined it for us. It's not fair and I'm really, really sorry."
Dammit if that amazing son of mine didn't stop crying, look up at me, and smile. "What does life do sometimes, Huddy?" He looked me straight in the eye and said, "SUCK!" I hugged him so tight he started thrashing again, laughing this time rather than crying. I took his hand and he mine, and we walked up to the bridge, from which the rocks fly farther and plop louder anyway.
It occurred to me then that sometimes things that suck in the moment can actually lead to something even better than what you might expect. Kind of like being forced to skip a day of work, only to have a wonderful day with your son.
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