Every day, I spend my lunch hour visiting Carter at his daycare. It's right down the street, a mere five-minute drive from my office, which is a huge part of the reason I chose it in the first place. When I walk in the door, he turns around from his perch at the circle table, or lifts his head from whatever corner of the room he has rolled/crawled into, and when he sees me his whole face lights up.
At that moment, there is nothing but us - me, grinning like an idiot and rushing like a crazy person toward my little boy, and him smiling and waving his arms up and down, as if to say "Pick me up, Mama! UP UP UP!" In these first few moments of eye contact, I am so concentrated on him that I simply will not look away, will not break our gaze - so much so that I once almost bulldozed a little girl from the preschool next door who happened to be standing in the path between me and my son. This was during the evening pick-up, and let me tell you that her mother did not seem pleased. She was there picking up Carter's classmate, the preschooler's sister, and probably didn't enjoy witnessing a wild-eyed blonde run headlong into her daughter. However, this is the same mother whom I overheard saying "No more breastfeeding! I want my body back!" about her 6-month-old, so we clearly weren't destined to be buddies regardless.
At these visits, some days we read, some days we roll around on the floor, and some days we just cuddle and bounce around. Today, however, the weather was so glorious that I decided we had to go for a walk. Never mind the fact that a quick search of my car revealed neither appropriate footwear (I usually keep flip-flops on hand for the impromptu lunchtime walk) nor a hat to protect me from the evil sun. The lack of a hat may seem trivial to some, but to them I say HAVE YOU MET ME? Because if you have, you know that I am pretty much the palest person you have ever seen, your albino friends notwithstanding. Sure, I may slather the world's greatest sunblock on every morning of my life, but I am certainly not foolish enough to scoff in the face of sun damage/skin cancer/premature aging/certain death with deliberate, wayward hatless roaming.
I was fine with traipsing about in my heels (a very old, very comfortable, very broken-in pair, fortunately), but I wouldn't dare to wander far without adequate sun protection. The ancient, decrepit, hugely tacky visor I usually keep in my car for such occasions was nowhere to be found - what was a super-pale mommy to do, I ask you?
Just when I was seriously considering tossing a reusable Whole Foods shopping bag over my head to fashion a makeshift fedora of sorts, I saw it. A long-forgotten umbrella, rolling around in the backseat! Woop!
So there we went - Carter in his Snap n' Go and me in my 3+-inch wedges, tottering along the streets of Burbank beneath a black umbrella with "Suddenly Susan" splashed across it in bold while letters. It was quite the picture.
Incidentally, my husband and I are both mystified as to how we ended up with said umbrella, given that neither of us has ever worked on that show or know anyone who has, but I wasn't about to argue. Carter fell fast asleep and I enjoyed the warm afternoon, smiling at passers-by from beneath my unattractive-yet-functional sunshade.
Perhaps I can bring back the parasol. Hot damn! Maybe that will be the million-dollar business idea that will subsequently land my little family on easy street! Then again, with only redheads, our aforementioned albino friends and little Asian ladies in the market for parasols, perhaps I shouldn't quit my day job.