(A My Life Stories Installment – featuring the Drama Queen)
The Girl and I are planning a trip at the end of this month during her Spring Break. We will be taking a road trip from Northern California up to Washington State. The purpose is to visit family and to visit some college campuses along the way.
As we look forward to this trip I can’t help but think back on the many times I’ve made this road trip in the past. Both my husband and I grew up in Washington and have a lot of family still there who we would try to visit every summer when the kids were younger. Most times it was only me and the three children making the trip. My husband usually had projects around the house which he would focus on while I was gone. That was always a bonus for me as I got to come home to something new in my house after each trip.
This time will definitely be different though as the Boys are both staying home with dad. And the Girl has her license and can help me with the driving! It is usually about an 11 – 12 hour trip which I used to make during the night while the kids were in the back sleeping after being fed a steady stream of McNuggets and Veggie Tales movies.
My kids are always an adventure and these trips were no exception. So today as I walk down memory lane I thought I would share one story with you. This one stars my middle child/eldest son – Drama Queen (refer to my Cast of Characters). I know I have a few followers who are not from the U.S. and may not be familiar with Rest Areas. So let me fill you in – a Rest Area is a public facility along a main highway/freeway where drivers can stop without getting off at a normal exit. The Rest Areas have toilet facilities and sometimes vending machines where you can get snacks. They are a good place to let the kids out to run and stretch their legs. They usually have an area for your pets to relieve themselves. And when driving at night – it is a place you can stop and catch some sleep in your car so you don’t drive yourself off the road. You probably have these too and just call them by another name. They are better than just finding a tree to hide behind off the side of the road and hoping you have a roll of toilet paper handy in your vehicle (oh yes! I HAVE done this before!).
At this time Drama Queen was not old enough yet that I felt comfortable letting him use the men’s restroom on his own at a Rest Area. However, he was old enough I no longer needed to take him into one of the larger stalls with me – or so I thought. I directed him to a stall and made sure he locked the door and then I stepped into the stall next to him to relieve myself.
“Mom! Someone left a bag of fruit loops in here!”
I could hear the excitement in his voice. This is a child who just the week before had spotted a Skittles candy under a park bench and bolted off the slides to grab it and stuff it into his mouth before I could even begin to comprehend what was happening and stop him.
“Don’t touch the fruit loops, please.” I’m trying to be calm at this point, while finishing my business as fast as possible.
“Mom, they look totally dry! The baggie kept them safe. They are totally fine!”
“Do NOT touch the fruit loops!”
Now I’m frantically trying to get toilet paper off the roll. Of course I have one of those rolls where you spin it around and around and can never find the darn end. I’m contemplating not even bothering to wipe. It’s not really that big of a deal, right?
“Mom, they really look like they are good! I think someone just forgot them!”
“Do NOT touch the FRUIT LOOPS!” I scream as I unlock my stall door and stumble out into the main area with my pants barely pulled up all the way. I’m trying to decide if it is faster to try to unlock his stall door from the outside or just crawl under the door. Maybe I can wiggle under on my stomach, grab his legs and pull him out. Rest Area floors are nasty, but at this point extreme measures are required.
“They look really yummy Mom!” I can hear him finish his business now and I am just imagining in my mind him bending over to pick up the bag of fruit loops from the floor and popping some in his mouth.
“Open this DOOR RIGHT NOW!! And do NOT touch those FUCKING FRUIT LOOPS!”
I shake the door while trying to use my finger nails to turn the lock from the outside. My face is pressed against the gap next to the door so I can see what he is up to. (I am WAY too short to be able to actually look over the stall doors at all!)
At this point I hear a woman in the stall on the other side of me burst into laughter. I swear if the stalls were not so small she would have fallen off her throne! I wanted to yell at her that she was not helping at all! But I was still too focused on my son and those damn fruit loops. Who in the hell takes a bag of fruit loops into a restroom stall, drops them on the floor and then just leaves them!?
I’ve now given up on unlocking the door. I’m on my knees trying to reach under the door when it opens. I come face to face with Drama Queen standing there smiling at me with that cute little dimple in his cheek.
“Ok mom! But they do look fine. See!” And he points to a Ziploc bag of fruit loops sitting on the floor. I breath a huge sigh of relief as I note they do look totally fine, but I don’t share this with him.
I grab him and walk out without even bothering to wash our hands. I have some hand sanitizer in the car, I reason. No sense in tempting fate anymore by sticking around in that restroom. As I drag Drama Queen out we are followed by the hearty guffaws still coming from the other stall. They only get louder as Drama Queen sweetly says, “They did look perfectly fine Mom. Why were you so upset? I would have shared them with you.”