Traveling With Kids

Nothing looks familiar, so the right stop comes as a surprise. Hadn’t you been watching? Did you read the map wrong, again? Not now. Pay attention.

Let’ go, for God’s sake.

There’s so much baggage to get together. Their snacks are spread out all over the place. This is stuck to the seat now. Where’s his shoe? The other one.

Do you have the tickets? No, you didn’t give them to me. Well, I sure don’t have them.

I don’t care if he doesn’t want to leave. This is our stop. If we miss it, we’ll miss our transfer, then we’ll be to the other end before we can get off and change back.

Pulling the little one by the arm, baggage tucked tightly under the other one. It’s falling out – everything’s falling out all over the place. Why in hell did we pack so many t-shirts? Well, there’s his shoe, at least.

The little one is squirming to get out, to be free. To do what? Stay on the train? Run faster out the open door than I can? Bending over to scoop the floor for the last time, then, a quick look over the shoulder at the rest of the brood and out we go at a dead run.

Running. Sweat running down my back and the smells of a tightly closed-up gym.

But then, suddenly and as if by magic, we escape into the bright light of day in a new place. The unfamiliar becomes alive. Buildings I’ve never seen before pushing upward into the sky. Sounds in a language I don’t understand. Smells of food, as yet to be discovered.

And my little one is smiling, pointing downward, toward the sidewalk, noticing something only he would: a flowering weed that has managed to squeeze its yellow-orange self into this glorious scene.

I hug him and kiss my little one on the cheek.

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