(Please read the following in Rod Serling’s voice)
Imagine if you will, an ordinary Monday morning. It’s fall and cold out. Tanya is a single mom and she doesn’t have her kids this morning. It begins as any other day, quietly, with coffee. But Tanya’s day is about to slip from the ordinary to the massively fucked up. And it begins with her car and a drive….into The Twilight Zone.
(Drop the Rod Serling voice, unless you like reading like him.)
At 8AM I was super excited. I was ready to get to class and be early and correct papers and show the world how Responsible and Together and Dependable I was. I put the key in the ignition and turn it. RRRrrrrruuurruu. Seriously? I tried again. It sounded like a gnome had crawled in there and was having a coughing fit. And then it died! The car died, not the gnome. I sat in my car for a good minute or so and thought “I don’t know what to do.” I had class in a couple of hours and in three hours had to pick up my kids. If my car was broken, how would I get to school? How would I get the kids? Then my mind spiraled: I don’t have enough money to fix the car. If I don’t have enough money, I won’t have a car and I won’t be able to get to school to work and earn money and they’ll fire me and then I’ll have NO money EVER and not be able to take care of my kids and then their dad will get full custody and I AM THE WORST MOTHER EVER.
Hmmm. Anxiety much?
I went inside. Started shaking, picked up the phone, cancelled class. Emailed people until I figured out what to do. Called a tow truck, got it jumped, took it to the shop and found out that it was the battery. That and the tow would cost $200. It could’ve been worse. I waited in the lobby of Fox Honda while golf played on the TV and Aerosmith sang about dudes looking like ladies. Then I got my car.
I picked up the kids. All was well. I was not the worst mother ever. I decided to celebrate by taking the kids to Meijer Gardens. I had a plumber coming to look at the faucet upstairs first though. The upstairs faucet had been leaking (more like streaming) for a couple of months. Biff had fixed it once, but it just insisted on being broken, and I needed to step up and take care of it. The toilet had been making funny noises too so I flushed it just to make sure, and then the funny noises stopped. As did all the water. WTF? Broken car, broken faucet, broken toilet.
The plumber showed up, a handsome man in his later thirties. (I know this because he told me he was in his later thirties.) After a while, I figured out he was hitting on me. After a longer while, I figured out he was flirting with me for his brother who is also a single parent. It was an awkward conversation to say the least. “So you have two kids?”
“I always wanted kids. I thought one but two would be okay. So…you’re a single mom?”
“My mom was a single mom too. Hard, but man, I totally respect her. You doing okay?”
“Yeah, I just can’t fix stuff that needs fixing. It’s frustrating.”
“You can call me anytime. I’m around here all the time…”
After the Friendly Plumber left, I recorded another $176 in my checkbook.
The kids wanted ‘active time’ so we took off for Meijer Garden. My membership was expired. $22 for an hour (we got there at 4; they closed at 5). We began a race through the exhibits looking at art. Louis really liked this creepy glass-headed kid sculpture. Simone was scared of it. Simone said the art was “Weird” and she wanted me to “vote thumbs down on everything”. She was just tired. Come to think of it, a lot of the art was pretty bad and if I could vote, I might’ve voted thumbs down.
Then we came to a fountain. The kids wanted to make wishes. I gave them a nickel. Simone dropped her nickel in. “I wish for an elephant and a dolphin and some Squeekies.”
Louis chucked his nickel in. “I wish for all the Star Wars action figures and Season three of the Clone Wars.”
I silently tossed my nickel in. I made a tiny wish that I could give my kids a life that made them happy.
Louis said, “Mom, you should’ve wished for a husband.”
Some days, I would’ve explained that there are all kinds of families and you don’t need a husband and blah blah blah…but yesterday, I just laughed.
We went home. We had a picnic in the basement and watched Chowder. I tucked Simone in with her Elnono and Dolphiny and Rosabella the Platypus. We sang the Itsy Bitsy Spider. I tucked Louis in and sang the “Mr Sandman” song with new lyrics that ask for Mr. Sandman to “bring Louis a dream” filled with Star Wars action figures. By eight o’clock, the kids were deep asleep and I was watching Dexter with a friend of mine.
The day started out in the Twilight Zone, but ended up somewhere just in the land of happy. Proof that maybe wishes can come true.