Sunday November 22, 2015 I searched the small U shaped parking lot for a spot. My 8 year old is watching the chaos at the door of children spewing in. He wants out of my car, and short of double parking he would have to wait. We drove the parking lot twice with no luck and entered a business complex with every parking spot empty, except for a sign stating if you park here you will be towed. I swiftly pulled into the CVS parking lot, went in and bought a perfume so I could prove I was a customer, and then we proceeded towards the front door of Sky Zone. Children that were once piling in now were inside with their respective birthday parties. We were already 20 minutes late for Cole’s 9th birthday. I entered to smell the putrid smell of burnt cheese, sweaty feet, and vomit somewhere. I was not happy. My son excitedly joined his classmates on a metal bench that reminded me of high school football games.
I was approached by Cole’s mother:
“Hi Courtney, did you pre-register Anthony on line.”
My reply was simple:
She then lead me to a row of computers to begin the 10 minute process before the lady, who obviously hated her job, would take my son’s shoes and give him pretty pink socks to jump in. I hesitated once I saw a consent that kept them from being held legally responsible if any injury were to occur. What kind of injury? As the all too friendly staff was busy dealing with yelling, rambunctious children, I looked at my son on the bench. He was sitting with the birthday boy and another classmate Mia. His face and body language said he was ready to have fun with his friends that he seldom sees outside of school. I signed the damn form and collected my son’s socks in trade of his Air Jordan’s. The next hour and a half was me following my child through endless mazes of trampolines and initiating small talk with other parents who seemed less interested than me. The smell of vomit dissipated the further we moved away from the snack bar, but sweaty feet smell stayed stuck in my nose for two days. Anthony and his group finally settled into dodge ball and begged me to come and play. As I entered a pimply faced teenager said I didn’t have a bracelet to have fun on the trampoline. Our group was ushered up a tall staircase to the party rooms. The kids enjoyed pizza and cupcakes, were given a cheap water bottle and goodie bag while being told their fun had ended. Times up!! We walked towards the door to collect our shoes as a new group of children sat almost patiently waiting for their parties to start. I was pushed, stepped on, and finally out the door we were headed back to see if my car had been towed in the two hours it sat at CVS. The car sat peacefully in the last row untouched or ticketed. I willingly hopped in, my son not so much, and took in the aroma of leather as the day started to get better.
Tip toeing quietly down the hall towards the bathroom, I close the door behind me. Take a peak in the mirror and realize my younger beauty is fading, and the face in front of my eyes now carries signature markings of a woman. Brushing my teeth with only a drip from the faucet quietly trying to not wake the children whose bedrooms reside less than 3 feet away. Creek goes the third floor board that I always try to miss, and slowly curl under the covers of my own restful night’s sleep. A slam hits the floor as the sound of nails go scratching against the same third floor board. Remy greets me at the side of my bed and licks my face. As I was scratching her head she whines in my ear. Headed towards the back door, she slides into walls that hold sleeping babies on the other side.
SHHHHH!!!! Remy!!!! A little louder than I like.
Remy heads out and handles her business, but not before tormenting the neighbors rescue dog. Throwing her 65 lb body in a full reckless run, she crosses the .58 acre in less than 5 seconds and slams into the wire fence. I pace for 2 minutes before calling for her, and 2 minutes later I am still calling for her as I take the first steps off the patio and into the grass. At that moment I hear her heading up strong, but cannot see in the surrounding darkness. Before I blink, the dog is at my feet panting. I escort her inside, and get her some water. I begin my tip toe back down the hallway headed for the covers I left unattended. Remy slams into me as she heads for her boy’s room, knocks me to my knees on that same third floor board. It creeks loud enough that it wakes the baby:
“It’s ok sweetie, goodnight.”
I curl back under the covers and turn on my right side. Kiss the man that shares this queen size. He reciprocates with a kiss on the lips, nose and forehead. Just as routine as any other night, I roll on my left, plug my phone into charge, check the alarm clock and stare at Family Guy until my eyelids close.
Goodnight. Sleep Tight.