Today, my daughter decided it was time to venture out into the world with two children and a stroller. Or a 'buggy,' as it's called over here, a two-seater, one in front of the other. A mother with her two children leading the way while she propels them forward. And a grandmother tagging along.
As we walked to the post office and the library (a Carnegie library, so there you are--the Scotland-U.S. connection in a building) with small stressor after another (was that just me?), she and I had a chance to reminisce about taking multiple children out into the world to do errands. Hers is a small village, so she has become accustomed to doing errands on foot, and more power to her. In my day, we lived way the hell away from everyone, and if I were to go out, I needed a car. I had access to our car for much of that period of our lives, but not always. Also, our cars were sorry affairs some of the time, so you had to factor that in. I remember a period of my life when my persistent nightmare, waking and sleeping, was a car wreck in which one of my children died.
Miriam, the two and a half year old, could not understand why we thought it would be desirable that she keep her shoes on in the library, and had a little tantrum about it. The infant Evie was very patient, with only one small squawking period. We planned for treats for the youngster, bought another treat, and got home fairly tuckered out.
I mentioned--and not in a cautionary way, just a reminiscitory (word? should be--) way--that when I was in her shoes, I tried not to take all the kids out when I had errands to run. What did I do? I suppose I traded kid-minding with neighbors, or waited until the evening, maybe? Or Saturday? My daughter said, 'I have very fond memories of when you would take all of us to Reams--we always got a treat, an ice cream cone or a fruit roll-up . . .'
Well, there you have it. One woman's ordeal is another kid's shangri-la.