My sister Lindsay’s family stopped in Utah for a while on the way to their new home in Texas. It was children and giggles and shopping and movies. The Conley Sisters Three had a lovely time. Littlest sister Jaimie is childless and in college (she always seems so well rested), which meant that Lindsay and I were left to our own devices during the day. Every morning the first one up would call the other. The conversation was always the same.
Sister One or, The Instigator: What are we doing today?
Sister Two or, The One Who Should Have Known Better: Shopping? Salt Lake? Library? Park? (All of which really meant, Let’s drag the toddlers around until they are screaming and the two of us are hysterically laughing, but not in a good way.)
Sister One: Sure. Let’s do it.
One of the last weeks she was here we went to the Dinosaur Museum. It was a lovely hour and half. We only lost her one year old, Grant, twice and Margaret only permanently damaged the remains of one prehistoric creature. Viola slept the entire, blessed time. By the time we hit the “Humans are the Reason More Animals Aren’t Alive, Happy and Eating Humans” exhibit, the babies and the mamas were beginning to wilt. Time for sustenance. Time for burgers.
The drive to In-n-Out was uneventful. Unless of course, screaming, crying and MAMA! I LEFT MY BRACELET AT THE DINOSAUR MUUUUUSEEEEUUUUM, are considered events. If they are, then it was the freaking Olympics of the Carpool Lane. We pulled into the parking lot and rushed our kids into the crowded restaurant. Fifteen minutes of food ordering and table snagging later, we were ready for a salt and ketchup kind of good time.
It went as these things usually do. Margaret spilled half the fries and wanted the rest. I bottle fed Viola while flinging food over her and into my mouth. The top of her head looked like a Secret Sauce Jackson Pollock. Grant was only interested in food that was not his own. The Sister and I ate quickly.
But not quickly enough.
It is really my fault. I, as the older sister, lover of food and mother of two, should have seen it coming. Grant stood up on his chair, smiled his buck tooth smile, picked up his mama’s burger and...threw it down onto the floor. Lindsay looked at the remains of her lunch and then looked at her smiling, sticky baby. The poor girl was stricken.
“Grant, that was my last bite.”
We have all been there and not just those of us that have taken on motherhood. As women, our days are busy. There is always more to create, more to do, more ways we can help. It is beautiful and bright and hard and exhausting. Often the day ends and that last bite has been given away, forgotten or thrown to the floor. Sometimes I think we know we are living our lives fully when we are stretched and tired and just a little bit hungry (A metaphorical hunger. Please eat. Preferably bacon.). I don’t know that there are any easy answers. I do know that we can help one another.
I threw away the dearly departed burger, gave Grant a fry and waited in line one more time.
"Hi. I need to order my sister another burger. This time let’s make it a double double."