JR was in a great mood, having spent the day in total freedom and then getting to stay up past his bedtime. That’s why instead of an instant rock-solid rejection, he halfway considered coming with me on some errands. I was so charmed by the display of goodwill I didn’t remind him that it wasn’t really a choice because he was seven.
No records were broken, but we did manage to put on pants, shoes, and jacket and choose the right train, book, and water bottle to take with us without too much argument about the order of operations. Then we were off, out into the grown-up mystery of night. He was in a car and it was dark. We drove for about ten minutes, stopping at a house that he had never seen before. We went inside the house. And it was nighttime. AND a strange woman was baking cookies. Dozens of them on her counter and more in the oven. She tried to give JR a baggie full but I had to draw the line at half a dozen, which is about how many I give him in six months.
He munched on the giant plate of diabetes while I try to talk to the woman with one eye on him as he attempted to wield the heavy glass of milk she had dropped on him like he was twelve. Crumbs tumbled from his mouth.
He interrupted to volunteer a hoarse and breathless, “Thank you.” She smiled and kept talking. I had come to purchase something from her, but hadn’t realized that she ran a business out of her house buying and reselling sundry items through local ads. She had moved out most of the furniture to make room for the goods. There was so much stuff it was difficult for me to maneuver, let alone a small kid with neurological challenges. In the living room, there was a space cleared for her husband’s armchair. He sat in it, reading the paper as though he were not in the middle of a warehouse. They were lovely people, but I wanted to get out before JR fell into something.
Finally, we made it out the door, although the woman held the door open, still talking.
“Um, you know what?” JR interrupted. She did not.
“I like cookies.” I was anxious to get him home to bed, but he refused to budge. Finally, I threw in the towel and just start dragging him toward the car. He looked back over his shoulder with wild eyes, shouting, “I love you!” to her. What? Already the woman with the cookies comes before the one who gave birth to him?
When we pulled into the garage at last, JR didn’t want to get out of the car. He still had a look of rapture on his face, convinced that even more wonders awaited if only we stayed in the car and kept driving. I opened his car door and walked away, pretending to leave him there. He promptly pulled it shut again.