It was late Fall when we took our girls. We thought it would be a nice time of year to enjoy the Florida weather. The first day was perfectly cool but it rained. We bought ponchos and looked like condoms of varying sizes and colors walking around the park. While serving a purpose, it was an uncomfortable wardrobe add-on. The plastic would stick to wet skin or get snagged up in our backpacks making things hot and awkward.
By the second day, the heat was intense. The lines for the attractions were long and we had a stroller for Vanessa that had a funky wheel and required a rocket-scientist to figure out how to close it. This might be fine if we didn’t have to get on and off a bus or monorail to jump from park to park. And with being totally anal around our schedule to get to the must-see attractions and all reservations, we were in and out of parks every few hours.
It was the day before our last day of vacation, when Adam hit his limit and crowds and heat, had finally made him snap. The park had closed while the girls and were finishing up in the bathroom (the 100th time we made a lavatory pit stop). It still amazes me that no matter how little the kids drink or how many times we stop, my children feel the need to visit every bathroom that we pass. This same thing happens every time we go into a store too. I am just about ready to get into my shopping mode – game face and happy place – and one of them says they need to go the bathroom, breaking my momentum and mindset. Then I bark at them to hurry and then feel guilty and spend the rest of the time buying them shit we don’t need.
In this vacay moment, since we were on the opposite end of where the buses were parked to pick up guests and shuttle them to their hotels, we had to run to get to our ‘free’ transportation. And I will say, we are not a running family. We are all at least 20 lbs. overweight and not physically skilled. If you see me running, there must be someone chasing me and even then, I might opt to just sit and close my eyes in hopes it would go around me.
That in mind, it might be needless to say that we were just about to make the last bus. Adam was pushing Vanessa wildly in her stroller, working very hard to keep it straight. That crazy wheel didn’t make it easy. Ella and I trailed behind, bags of purchased goods in our hands, swinging around us as we madly pushed through the last few steps to catch up to Adam and the bus stop. We were all breathing heavy. The bus was full and waiting for us.
I gave Ella all the bags and got Vanessa out of her carriage. Adam told us to get on board while he closed the stroller. We found our place inside our ride, standing between the knees of the first two rows of people seated and facing towards the middle. I was just getting myself and the girls settled in position to straddle other people’s strollers and backpacks when I looked out the window and saw our carriage raised over Adam’s head – and then smashing to the ground. He did this several times.
A light-up Minnie Mouse doll that was in the undercarriage flew out and her plastic eye pinged the glass bus window. Two sets of Mardi Gras beads were tossed into the air, sparkling under the parking lot lights. Things were flying, Adam was cursing – sounding a lot like the dad in “A Christmas Story” when he was mad at the furnace. There was nothing Disney, or magical or quite frankly, normal about this moment.
A Diet Coke bottle sailed into the air and landed at the feet of a young boy. The bus driver asked Adam if he was coming onto the bus. I started to sweat wondering if Adam would throw the stroller at the driver because he’d be pissed that the driver just asked him if he was boarding. I stretched, poking my head out the door and told Adam to just leave the stroller. By now, everyone was looking at either him or me or the shards of stroller remnants that were all over the sidewalk. The young boy picked up the soda bottle and bravely handed it to Adam. He warned Adam softly said that it might explode and said to be careful opening it. I don’t know if it was his small voice, the kind reminder or that Adam was just out of steam, but he took the bottle and thanked the boy. After a pause, he turned back to the stroller and like a pro, he closed it with one twist of the handle. It folded like a surrendering solider.
Adam got on board with the carriage in hand. The whoosh of the door closing, set the air-conditioning on and the lights off. No one on the bus said a word. The crazy wheel of the stroller banged against the seat structure the entire time. Adam watched it swivel and hit the metal bars. It was like it was taunting him. After we got off the bus, and when most people were out of sight, Adam threw the stroller to the ground telling us again how much he “hated that fucking thing”. I quietly swung Vanessa onto my hip and we all began to walk away from the mangled heap to head back to the hotel, and back to Jersey the next morning, sans stroller.