Something happened this time around though. The place we were eating was fun and loud with TVs everywhere and sports...and pool tables.
Gathering the kids, we walked to find the restrooms and I noticed a young 20 something year old girl giggling and tucking her hair behind her ear in the midst of three guys around a pool table.
Inwardly smiling, I couldn't help but remember the carefree days of being literally unconscious of the demands of life, or how things were about to change. Take for instance, the simple act of going to the bathroom...
Now to a 40 something year old with four kids, it goes a little something like this. (hit it)
"Okay, guys, come with me and don't touch anything."
"MOoooooooooom! That's the GIRL'S bathroom! We're not going in there!"
Praying there were no creepy creepsters in the men's bathroom, I reluctantly let the three boys go together. "Use the buddy system! And DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!"
"Mom, how do we not touch anything?!"
"Just don't TOUCH ANYTHING!"
Pulling our daughter's hand, she and I make our way to the women's.
Meanwhile, 20 something year old girl is still flirting with the guys, and dancing her way backwards to the bathroom door. I hold it open for her and she saunters by, giggling.
My boys in the bathroom next door are on my mind and I'm hoping they're alright. Hearing them yell at each other through the wall reassures me that they are.
My daughter begins her routine of wanting to look into every stall to see if they are different. "Come on honey, we need to hurry."
20 something is leaning forward against the bathroom sink, looking into the mirror and fixing her eyeliner with her ring finger.
"This one mommy!"
"Okay, good, let's go." As we shuffle our way into the stall together, I begin the dance of turning my daughter and holding her body over the toilet, hovering her above so she won't touch the seat. This leads to the habitual spraying of my feet and legs.
"I think I have to poopy."
"Okay baby. Go ahead."
My arms begin to shake as I hold the free weight of a child, dangling over a toilet. I realize how much I have to go and wonder how much it would even matter since I'm already covered in urine.
Hoping the boys are okay in their bathroom, I try to hurry our daughter along.
"Are you good honey?"
We shuffle around each other so I can have a turn and seeing through the crack of the door, I notice that carefree Barbie is still at the sink, fixing her hair and putting on lipgloss.
My daughter decides she wants to open the door as she reaches for the latch. Not wanting to display myself to the world, I stop her, "No honey. Wait a minute."
She somehow interrupts this as, don't open the door, I'd rather you crawl under the stall to get out.
As she gets on all fours and bumps me backwards, I cringe at the petri dish that I'm sure she's wading through.
"Baby, get UP! Don't go under there."
Finishing before I'm ready, I open the door to let her out, only to find the 20 something now leaning against the wall and smiling at some text she's reading. Is she even going to use the bathroom?
I scurry my daughter to the sink and scrub her hands well enough to make a surgeon proud, as I pull a paper towel out to use in shutting the faucet off like every kindergarten teacher has taught them to do.
Not having time to look in the mirror, I rush after our daughter who is already heading for the door. I hope the boys will be done and waiting as I realize the 20 something is moving towards the door while now typing a text. She hasn't looked up, she's just walking slowly in our direction.
Holding the door so she doesn't run into it, my daughter flies by to meet up with her brothers who are pushing each other outside of our bathroom. As the 20 something floats by, immune to it all, she sees her guy friends still at the pool table and begins her mating ritual again of head tilts and giggling hair tucks.
The kids and I find our way back to our table where my husband has all the drinks and says he's placed our order.
I sit with the realization of it all and smile at the fact that I used to be 20 something without a care in the world. I had no idea of how the simple act of going to the bathroom would ever become such a madhouse.
Looking across the restaurant and seeing her have fun was a reminder of those days. Fast forwarding 20 years later though, as our kids fought over the blue crayon, I sank back and smiled at my husband. Returning my smile, he had the unspoken mix of confusion and understanding that we've come to know all too well.
I'm glad we used to have those days, of worry free fun and carefree lives. As nice as those years were though, I wouldn't trade these days for anything in the world. (giggle, hair tuck.)
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