I admit. I sometimes delve a little deep into the sea of emotions. And I take you with me; I’ve heard. I appreciate all of your feedback from the bottom of my digital inkwell.
But ya know, sometimes you gotta keep things light. So today I write about yesterday’s walk from hell. The hike from Hades. The promenade from pandemonium.
It began flawlessly. A beautiful, dry, sunny winter day. A rare December 29th. The trails near Nanny and Poppy’s pad in the Pearl begged to be traipsed; days like these must be savoured. So we all got ready to hit the path – Poppy, Auntie Kim (visiting from Montreal), Uncle Chris (visiting from Vancouver), cousin Aidan, mama (moi), Splash (ruff ruff) and my muse, Mad Max Murphy, who was about to live up to this nickname.
Max held Aunt Kim’s hand and marched along beside her, so happy to be in this magical place they call the outdoors. I thought, okay, we can do this. But I felt a slight twinge of fear as I watched Andrew drive off moments earlier with the stroller peeking out the window of the hatchback. Gulp. Dear, sweet stroller with glorious seatbelt that securely contains ornery offspring in safe and trouble-free confines.
The first three minutes of our excursion went splendidly. Cool breeze. Bright sun. Well-behaved son.
Max’s independence kicked in. He didn’t need to hold anybody’s hand. Holding hands was for babies! I mean, come on, he had been walking now for like nine whole months; he had this walking shit down pat yo. He was the envy of crawlers everywhere. Booyah.
Okay, fine, so no hand-holding. But he insisted on walking off the pavement of the trails, into the grass beside it, which just so happens to be where every piece of broken glass and dog turd is hiding, waiting for an unsuspecting shoe.
We tried to redirect him to the beaten path, but then he decided he would try out the other side of the trail – the downward sloping side that tumbles into a babbling brook full of jagged rocks and green slime. Excellent.
I’m all for letting him do his thing and acquire a couple bumps and bruises which my grandfather would have affectionately called “larnin’”, but we simply couldn’t let the little frolicker out of our grasp here. If he tumbled over the slope, with no control of his momentum, he’d end up face-first in the stream with a rock in one nostril and a tiny fish in the other, and his two front teeth in his back pocket.
I had started out chilly, wishing I had brought along my hat and mittens. By now, just 10 minutes in, I was sweating, and cursing Andrew for driving off with the sacred stroller; someone must be blamed! But I mustered up my courage and trudged on, this time holding the hood of Max’s coat to try and steer him in the direction of the rest of the Murphy pack, or just away from certain death. But no go; if we were walking that way, Max was walking – no, running – this way. And I swear, if I stood there and let him go, waving my hand and saying “bye-bye, Max”, he’d just keep on going. I tried it, several times. Does he look back? Sure. And then he chuckles, flashing every little tooth in that gorgeous head of his, and keeps on motoring. If I could read his mind, he’d be shouting Freeeeeeedom!, Braveheart style. My little rogue warrior. My little reason to drink wine straight from the bottle.
Then things took a turn for the worse. Puddles. It had rained – a lot – a couple of days earlier, depositing pools of water in every darn dent in the asphalt. Max’s socks and shoes were wet within seconds. That’s all we need – to start the new year off with pneumonia. We tried everything to divert his attention. But as soon as I’d attempt to guide him in another direction, he’d fall to the ground in a wiry heap. Next thing he’d be face and eyes into a big, cold puddle, and that would just be gross. The only way to drag him away? Body and bones.
Between myself and Chris, we made our way back to the house with Max kicking and screaming in our arms. He flicked off his sneakers, snatched my sunglasses off my face, and grabbed at my earrings. Big-time ginger spite. There was no going back now. I just needed to get him inside and into his cage.
When we finally reached the house, I ripped off his soaking shoes, socks and pants, and released him into the living room, still crying and flailing his arms. Within seconds, the diapered demon had snatched the remote controls off the coffee table and hurled them, one by one, over the stairs into the porch.
So. That was an enjoyable walk. Perhaps similar to the walk to the electric chair. Or a walk on red-hot coals en route to a cannibal feast where you are the main course. Or the walk toward a room with a door that reads “drug-free childbirth”.
One day he’ll be able to walk sensibly beside me as I point out trees – “Look, that’s a fir, like a Christmas tree!” And birds – “That’s a Blue Jay, like the baseball team!” And other items in nature – “That’s not a furry white rock, honey. Put that down.”
But that day was not yesterday, and it probably won’t be tomorrow either. So, unless there’s a chariot (i.e. stroller) awaiting us, we’ll just stay put right here where it’s warm and safe, and where mommy is perfectly sane. Max will play with his trains, and I’ll finish writing about the time we took that crazy-ass walk on the trails near Nanny and Poppy Murphy’s house. One day, we’ll read this together and laugh, maybe while he’s holding my old, withered hand as we slowly walk along some trails somewhere.