At last it was going to happen. Sylvia had placement testing at a place where there just happens to be a Starbucks. It's always been my dream to be one of those people, sipping coffee, either reading or on a laptop, with seemingly nothing better to do. Not every day, but just for a few hours. This, at last, was my chance.
Got my coffee, found a table outside but not directly in the sun, and was prepared for my time. And then a mom with two pre-schoolers sits next to me.
Whenever I happen to be kid-free, I don't want to be around other families. I realize that time off from motherhood is not really time off. You never stop being a mom. But still, those parents actually with their kids feels like an admonishment somehow. An admonishment for wanting to enjoy a few hours sans kids, that I'm not spending enough time with my kids.
To be clear, I know there's no logical reason to feel guilty. Riley was in school, Sylvia was essentially in school, I'd taken a vacation day from work so I wasn't even playing hooky. I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I'd even told someone, "it's not often when I'm actually supposed to be doing nothing, so I'm going to enjoy this." That mom with her kids should not have affected me. So I tried to ignore it and go about doing nothing.
The mom read the kids a story. Okay, fine, no big deal. But then she started asking the kids probing questions about plot and character motivation. "Do you think the alligator was being a good friend?" "What do you think would have happened if the alligator did [x] instead?" "Draw a picture of this scene." OMG, she was relentless.
She'd taken a 10-page book and was guiding her pre-schoolers for a good 20 minutes on critical analysis!
I finally gave up and left.