Literally just needed three lemons.
It's about 5:15pm, driving home with my two kids strapped in their respective carseats, at the daily time where exhaustion and hunger between my kids is at it's absolute peak. While I drive, I can feel the tense irritability leave its containment within my kids' little emotionally volatile bodies and begin to wrap its grasp around my throat and swirl around my head. I know I've got myself a couple of ticking time bombs, and still I am contemplating a run to the store.
I'm making Troy and myself each a small piece of salmon and wilted spinach for dinner. Mexico is three weeks away and Troy and I want to look as much like hot, carefree, twenty-seven-year-olds as humanly possible despite the exhaustion-induced black circles under our eyes, Troy's cute new lil beer (Beer?) belly, and my I-might-as-well-get-it-tattooed-across-my-mom-forehead stretch marks. We're proud to be parents and all, but if all goes according to plan, people will be shocked when we inform them of our young children because we look rested and vibrant and our bodies are tight and glistening in the sun. That's the goal.
Maybe a week ago, I would have known I needed the lemons but not risked the imminent dramatic explosion. I would have driven straight home and thrown an apologetic, "Gee, Troy. This dish would have really shined with a touch of lemon juice, but, you know, whatever", if it had not been for a conversation between my dad and husband the Saturday prior that went like this:
My Dad: "... and isn't Sofia a great cook?!"
Troy: "hm." (::Crickets::)
So, off to the store we went.
I prep Avery while parked in the parking lot. While she polishes off my water bottle from the gym earlier that day, I explain that I need one thing only. I ask, beg, and plead for her help. I promise all sorts of rewards and gifts and later bedtimes if she just help me get to the lemons, to the register, and back to the car without a hitch. In response I get absolutely no recognition of what I just proposed, but an, "I WANT MORE WATER!!!" instead. I calmly smile, grit my teeth, and inform her that we are out of water at the moment, but she can have all the water she wants when we return home. At that, she reaches down, scowl-faced, picks up a second empty bottle, and threateningly clutches the two empty water bottles so tightly that they crinkle and pop under the pressure. I imagine if those plastic containers could talk they'd say something like, "Shit bitch! What we do?!" And I don't know why my water bottles are so hostile and inappropriate but, you know, they are.
Anyway, I carry a shoeless two-year-old on my hip and stupidly pass up the shopping carts which would otherwise constrain Landon. I think our venture will be so short, it would be a waste of time. Avery stomps closely behind still clutching those two gangster-ass water bottles, desperately searching for water as if we are in the fucking Sahara desert and she's actually dying of thirst.
Walking into the store, I can see the lemons. At that moment, she spots the germ-infested water fountain which is in the opposite direction. Time stops. We each furrow our brows and shoot a don't-you-dare glare at one another, then the kid darts off. I don't even kinda chase her. Instead, I decide I can get to the lemons and back before she even notices I'm gone. And as always, this plan backfires ,and she instead decides to go for the Oscar with the leading role in the dramatic film, "My Mommy Left Me and Someone Call CPS Now."
Regardless, I'm still going for the lemons. I can see her behind me starting to turn green and about to Hulk smash, but fuck it, I've already made it so far. At this point I'm literally raising a pointed index finger to my head, gesturing a gun, repeatedly fake shooting myself in the head and muttering a colorful array of curse words under my breath. (Best supporting actress nod, anyone?)
I reach the lemons, while furiously swinging my two-year-old back and forth in an attempt to get there as fast as possible. This is the point where Avery starts WAILINGGGGG, " YOU'RE A BAD MOMMY!!! YOU'RE THE WORST MOMMY!!!!!!! IIIIIII DDDOOONNNTTT LLIIIKKKEEE YYOOOUUUU!!!!" across the vast grocery store, filled with what appears to be all the best behaved children and mothers who ever lived on the planet earth.
I snatch the lemons, snap around, potentially whip lashing my floppy son, and seeing red, march over to Avery and grab her little bratty arm and drag her towards toward the self-checkout line, all the while enduring threats such as, "I'm going to Brooklyn's house and I'm not going to let you pick me up ever," and the like.
The lemons cost $two-something. I begin to insert my three, dollar bills into the cash collecting machine, and it absolutely will not accept my perfectly flat dollars. I'll gently push the dollar into the slot and it will take it, then spit it out, then flip me off, then sleep with my husband, then ruin my life every time. Avery is still flinging all sorts of insults at me and Landon is losing his mind reaching for the bouncy ball vending machines which some mom-hating asshole put at the far end of the self checkout line.
Anyway. I finally collected my two sour kids and my three sour lemons and eventually made it home after threatening Avery's life if she ever speak like that to me in public ever again. And as abusive boyfriends always do, she apologized and told me she'd never do it again and told me she loved me and I was her boo for always, or something.
Dinner was delish, and Troy honored my commitment to keeping him healthy by devouring the lemon-soaked (I was getting the most out of those suckers...) meal and plopping himself on the couch where he polished off an entire bag of sour Skittles and drank a lot of beer.
I ate my dinner and used the remaining couple squeezes of lemon in my vodka-soda.