Thursdays are hard days.  Thursdays are hard days because it’s the day I volunteer at the hospital, and the day I’m pulled by the people I visit and by my family who wait for my return.  I’m pulled by the dinner I didn’t prepare while I was being pulled by the people I visit and by the family that waits for my return.  I’m pulled by all the assorted things I didn’t do around the house while I tend to the children I didn’t spend time with during the afternoon I was pulled by the people I visit.  There was an old lady who swallowed a fly… It’s  not bad, it’s just full, full in that way I will be empty without it and overflowing with it.  Perhaps that’s simply life with small children.  Perhaps it’s simply life.

I said goodbye to someone today, but it in that rare good way that means he is getting well and will go somewhere where he will get even better.  We have spent several months getting to know one another and as happy as I am that this is a joyous time in his life, the city he will go to is far from here, and I know we will never see each other again.  He cannot move his body, (the plan is to remedy that) so I couldn’t even hug him when I left.  I held his hand, but the intimacy was wrong and our parting felt unfinished.  Stupid Thursday.

This Thursday is particularly hard because Marc is going straight from work to a Christmas party so I can’t collapse for ten minutes on my own while Kate and Simon jump on him instead of me.  I haven’t been home all day, the kids are a mess, I’m exhausted and alone, and for me there’s really only one thing to do on days like this – let the mall make dinner.  Off we went to the mediocre mall with the great parking (underground, free parking south of Bloor, um, yes please), to eat nutrionless, high calorie food. *cheers from small people*

To our great shock as we emerged from the depths of P2, the pay-per-ride-up-and-down-thingys were all new.  Instead of the boat, safari truck, pelican (I don’t get it either) and another, forgotten wheeled machine, there were four, spanking new, 1-dollar-per-15-seconds, rides.

Simon immediately claimed the bulldozer and climbed inside without waiting to see if I planned to stick around.

blurry, iPhone photo. simon's in there somewhere.

While Simon banged on the floor(?) of the bulldozer and yelled some nonsense about doing his “good work” Kate jumped on the train.

trust me, it's a train. pictures lie.

Next stop – falling down in the fire engine.

like any good mother i took a photo while simon struggled to stand up.

Don’t worry, Simon got up right away and declared: “This is my favourite, I want it for my birthday.”  Entitled much.

Finally, er, the… what the fuck is that anyway?

fucked-up-rainbow-bear-bird-with-a-mohawk

Kate adored that thing, like a lot.  So much so she insisted on this:

high-fiving the fucked-up-rainbow-bear-bird-with-a-mohawk

I cannot tell you how badly I wish I was part of the meeting where this mall rider thing was presented.  I’m trying really hard to come up with the dialogue that might have taken place between the designer of this odd, fantasy animal, but I can’t (and it’s killing me).  I suppose the joke’s on me though: my kid’s in love with it and some crazy person just pocketed my loonie.   Rainbows sell.

After about ten minutes of this I’d had enough and had to pry them off the various whatever-you-call-ems, but not before Simon tried to convince me that he and Kate could stay while I got their dinner.   Apparently they wanted to kick it all Agatha Christie style and have a boxed lunch on the train.  I’m not sure how he did this, but once I managed to force inspire them to come along happily, Simon figured out a way to let me know that he merely condescended to join us in the food court.  Without saying a word.  This is definitely my genes.  Shit.

Off we went to load up on good-for-nothing food and enjoy the live piano (the mediocre mall is trying to improve its image).  There we sat, gorging,  listening to Christmas carols and having a grand time, when a group of boisterous teenagers took up residence beside us.  Whatever, they’re just like my kids but bigger and unsupervised.  Mostly they want you to look at them and be jealous you’re not as young as they are, you know, harmless stuff.  There were braces and backpacks, short Catholic school skirts and general good times being had, so I will admit my surprise when the youngest-looking braced one shouted to a departing twosome “remember, safe sex is good sex.”  Wha?  Really? where did that come from?  Perhaps this was all part of the “look at me and how young I am” scheme, and I relaxed when I saw one of her friends shake her head in what I assumed was a “don’t be stupid and shout that out” admonishment.  Then I realised she was shaking her head and mouthing something.  The something: “No it’s not, no it’s totally not.”  That’s right folks, the braced girl, the one who was smart (but stupid) and knows that “safe sex is good sex” was being told IT’S NOT.  Apparently she’s easily convinced because she replied with “yeah, you’re probably right.”  I wanted to walk over and bang their heads together. 

While I silently (and invisibly) poked needles in my eyes to distract me from the pain of what I just witnessed, the know-it-all stood up and teetered away.  Perched on heels no less than 4 inches high (for serious), this grade ten student did her best to walk without looking like she was about to fall over.  She did poorly, and I can’t blame her on those togs, but then I can- she wore shoes she didn’t know how to walk in.  It was just so tragic to see her stumbling around, her confusion about sex and her own sexuality blazing across her cheap clothes and painful looking shoes.  You know the girls, the ones who mis-read all the fashion cues and instead of looking trendy they look like they’re for sale.   She’s young and new to this, it’s hardly her fault she’s not quite getting it all right all the time.  I mean her brain is growing as fast as a toddler’s right now, and look at Simon, he suffocates his sister.  Let’s not even speak of the encouragement she’s obviously getting from somewhere- the girl barely stands a chance (sort of).  The worst part: sex at 16 is crappy sex.  Fast sex.  Unsatisfying sex.  Selfish sex (sorry boys, I’m looking at you).  Do-it-during-the-commercial-while-the-parents-are-upstairs humiliating sex.  Being safe is the only thing that makes it okay.  Being safe means you won’t get a disease, have a baby, or die, because the break between Heroes segments was longer than expected.  Abstinence?  No one practices abstinence, which makes it just about the least effective birth control going. 

Please mall-girl, I’m sure you’re plenty smart and have a lot to offer and a few years will make all the difference, but in the meantime, use one of these so you’re all grown up when you have a baby and are less likely to find this a meaningful product.  Oh yeah and you won’t get sick.  Or die. 

That’s when the pianist switched from Christmas carols to The Girl From Ipanema and I got the hell out of the there. 

To add to the day’s mall headache, Marc and I texted about tonight’s Christmas bash.  Did I mention that Marc has pneumonia?  No?  Well he does.  Marc has pneumonia (the x-ray confirmed, not self diagnosed kind) and is at a work Christmas party.  A Christmas party he claims he will leave by 11, and will have a couple of drinks at.  I will direct you here to the last work Christmas party Marc attended. This is what he said about tonight’s:

stupid marc

You should focus on the bottom two bubbles.  The top two refer to some minor thing about which Marc was correct.  I was responding accordingly. 

So Marc, the lawyer-engineer, is going to an office party (and we all know how responsible those are), with pneumonia, a free taxi, and had to be encouraged not to walk home.

Yeah, Thursdays are hard days.

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