Monday, May 11, 2009

To My Fellow Holders of the Coats

Audrey likes to travel in style, which usually means sippy cup in hand. Today was no exception. But unlike other days, today when she finished she leaned forward with the cup and said, "you hold it." As I found a safe place to nestle the cup in the passenger seat (next to purse, small cooler, camera, and snack - the items deemed necessary for a trip to the museum), I thought of my mother and our family trips to Kings Island.

Every couple of years, my dad would load up the car with all the gear a family of five requires for a trip across state lines for a weekend of amusement park adventuring. Once at the park, we'd spend as much of the day there as possible, beginning in the morning when the sun hadn't quite warmed the pavement and staying to see the night capped off with fireworks. Of course, going before the sun was in full force meant layers or coats, which we shed as soon as they started to make us sweat, or as soon as they were wet from the log ride. My mother, not a fan of roller coasters since 1982 when she unknowingly rode one while pregnant, waited at the side of each ride as the rest of us paired up and stood in line, tossing unwanted items into her once-free arms. Of course, it didn't stop at the coats or long-sleeved shirts. There were the items we were afraid we'd lose to the rides: cameras, sunglasses, and jewelry (the earrings that we didn't realize would make our ears hurt as our heads rattled against the safety bars pulled down and around our heads). Then, there were the items we picked up along the way, most notably, the animal-shaped water bottles containing fruit juice that we had to have (that probably cost $5 each) once the day warmed up and we got thirsty. All of these things went to my mother, patiently waiting for us to as we stood in line and got our thrills. We were too enthralled with the park to think that if we were too hot to wear our jackets, our mother must be sweating loaded down with three of them and anything else we threw her way. We never stopped to marvel at her ability to find an extra hand to wave to us at the slower rides that went around more than once. And she never asked us to. She came along happily, knowing before the day ever began that she would be the bearer of all discarded things while we found better things to do.

Today, with that one phrase, "you hold it," I entered the phase of the mom coat closet and thought of my mother, who we never thanked as much as we should have. So to all of my fellow coat closets (especially you, Mom) who ever held jackets, hands, and hearts, I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend - and found some time to spend with your hands free.

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