I’m generally a pain in the ass. I get scared all the time. I hate to be cold, I hate to be tired. I hate being lost, detest being late. I don’t like to lose, I don’t like to wait. (I’m writing a Dr. Seuss story, apparently?) I like order and clean lines and I’m not even sure I notice most of the time because I’m too busy organizing the remotes and making sure the Brita is filled. (As I write this I’m like, wait? How do I have friends?)
But whenever I’m with these kids, I’m brave. I’m more concerned with their cold fingers and their tired eyes to ever think of my own. Too busy telling them what an adventure we’re on, to focus on how lost we are. (OMG so lost.) Too busy with tissues and goldfish and shoelaces and runny noses and caught zippers to be bothered with something so silly as time. With children, you’ll always be late, you’ll always be messy, you’ll always be relying on that last minute magic that only comes from sheer chaos. Nothing will ever go perfectly when little ones are involved, and perhaps that’s the reason the role suits me so well. Like a sweater specially-sewn for me, I slip it on, time and time again, and no matter how long it’s been since I last wore it, it always fits just right.
We had a DAY. One filled with more traffic, more lines, more waiting, more madness, more messes, more ohhhh shit’s, than any of my days before or after. And yet, it was my favorite day. It fit just like all the days fit when I was just their nanny and they were just babies and we were just a couple of small-town kids.
Today, we were city kids.
We spent the day at the Boston Museum of Science and it was, without a doubt, one of my favorite adventures of life. Everything felt chaotic and memorable and worth noting, worth holding onto, because they’ll be so old soon and I wish I could freeze them this way. They were patient and well-behaved. They were happy and thankful and told me every chance they got. And even though every plan fell through today: from GPS failure, to a full parking garage to a last-minute “GUESS WHAT! SURPRISE! We’re going to park over here and take the TRAIN! Doesn’t that sound so fun?” to 40 minute lines that one should always expect during February vacation to there’s no place to sit and I only have two hands to the moment we’re all settled and someone has to pee and someone needs a drink and someone is cold and someone is hot.
But at four o’clock when I piled them back into the car, handed them juice boxes and blankets, turned the music on low, the sun got really golden and we cruised back over the Rhode Island border just as Gabriel fell asleep and Grace asked to wear my sunglasses and try on my lipstick and tell me little stories about lost teeth and past adventures, I could only think one thing: of course, this was the plan all along, this is my old sweater, the one I love so much, the one I’m always so grateful to be able to pull on, this fits just right.