Drawing the line – where?

Hell’s parking lot (a representation)

After getting away on my own for a fantabulous gal pal weekend, I had a lovely night with Lily (and Joe) at a winter-themed library storytime on a recent Monday night. We all danced to songs, made marshmallow/pretzel/chocolate chip snowmen, cut out paper snowflakes, and made snowy pictures with glue and instant potato flakes. We all enjoyed ourselves, and Lily couldn’t have been happier as we headed back down the block, through the snow, to our house.

So here I was, thinking, “Wow, things are really going great.” And when Joe reminded me that I’d be flying solo with Lily the following night, because he needed to go to an evening board meeting for the brass band he used to play for. No problem, right? He’d just been on his own with Lily all weekend, and she’d been an angel throughout. This should be a cake walk.

By now, when I think such things, I should automatically assume the worst. Yet I never do. Despite my generally cynical persona, I have an irrepressible optimistic streak when it comes to my own life. So I couldn’t possibly see the dark night of the parenting soul that lay before me. Continue reading

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First a Broadway baby, then hell on wheels

Though I’d planned on Lily being at least four or five years old when she saw her first live stage musical, some extraordinary circumstances led to her getting a crash course in theater etiquette on a recent Sunday.

Rarely do I have to see a show on Sunday afternoon for a review, but in this case, I needed to get to Dexter to see “Damn Yankees” at the Encore Theatre. Because Joe and I had gone to the U-M/MSU game the day before, leaving Lily with her grandparents for a few hours; and because I’d had to cover a local movie premiere on Friday night; I was loathe to miss a four hour chunk of my Sunday with Lily, too. It seemed there were no other options, though, unless she and Joe came with me to the show. And because Joe had never seen “Yankees,” despite knowing its songs, and because he really wanted to check it out, we decided to go ahead and give Lily a chance at being a Broadway musical baby.

I’ll confess I was utterly stressed on the drive to the theater. Lily hadn’t had her nap, so we expected her to konk out for the duration of the ride, but she didn’t fall asleep until about 10-15 minutes before we arrived; because toddlers are impossible to rush, and because of packing, we were going to be cutting it close, time-wise; we’d planned for Joe to take Lily out to the park and a nearby Dairy Queen if/when she got restless during the show, but I couldn’t find my phone in my backpack, and Joe’s new phone was rendered unusable because it was “locked”; and because we didn’t make the final call on taking Lily until just before leaving, I needed to try to purchase an additional ticket for her next to us, yet I couldn’t call (see phone disaster above) to make the potentially-tricky arrangements ahead of time.

These are not good signs, I thought, trying to keep from having a full-on anxiety attack while sitting in the back seat next to Lily. But we were all in now. No turning back. Continue reading