Yesterday, two of my daughters and I shared some wonderful family and friends’ time at my cousin’s cottage in Ashtabula, Ohio. We swam, soaked in the sun, soaked in the cocktails (well, at least mommy did), watched fireworks, and made smores. It was a perfect summer day. We stayed the night and left today around 12:30.
It’s an hour and a half drive, and to make it a little bit more enjoyable for the kids, I told them I would get them McDonald’s for lunch. The McDonald’s is fifteen minutes away, at I-90 and Route 45. Lizzie asked five times, “How much longer? I’m hungry.”
I was feeling a little tired from the evening’s libations, but I did not lose my patience.
“Just a few more minutes, Honey. I promise.”
When they saw the golden arches, they both clapped their hands.
Our order: four piece nugget Happy Meal for Lizzie, plain hamburger Happy Meal for Maggie, McChicken and a Diet Coke for mommy. My total– 11:11. (Of course, I made a wish)
We got onto I-90 and I was feeling pretty good. The greasy sandwich tasted good, the girls were content, and I just saw 11:11– always a good omen.
Halfway through eating her hamburger, Maggie realized it was not plain. Not only was there ketchup on it, which she detests, there were mini-onions as well. She wrapped it up and placed it in the bag.
“You already ate half,” I said. “You can’t finish it?”
“No, I don’t like ketchup.”
You know how it is when kids make up their minds about what they do and do not like. I wasn’t in the mood to argue.
“Well, eat your french fries and your apple slices.”
She finished off the rest of the meal unhappily. By the time we reached Madison, about ten miles from the McDonald’s, she worked herself into a tizzy. She had ingested ketchup, and she doesn’t like ketchup!
“I think I am going to throw up!” Her eyes were wide, her breathing quickened, and she put her hand on her throat.
I handed her the Happy Meal bag. “If you are going to throw up, use this,” I said.
Lizzie plugged her ears with her thumbs and spread her hands over her eyes so she couldn’t hear her sister or see her.
“Please Jesus, don’t let me throw up. Oh, I think I am going to throw up. I don’t want to throw up. Please God, don’t let me throw up. Oh, I do not like ketchup. You see what ketchup does to me, Mommy?”
“Yes, Honey. It does not agree with you. You need to try to relax.”
“Okay, I’ll try.” Though, she didn’t. She sat in her seat, panting these phrases over and over again. For almost an hour, she stared into her bag praying not to throw up.
I indulged her with calming phrases while I questioned wishing on 11:11. Never has a 11:11 wish come true, and had I really thought it was a harbinger for a pleasant ride home? Here we were, on the least pleasant ride possible, listening to Maggie beg Jesus to stop her from throwing up.
I, was secretly begging Jesus, too. Please Jesus, do not let me get a speeding ticket as I drive 75 miles an hour in a construction zone. Please Jesus, do not let me put this car into a cement barrier. Please Jesus, make it stop.
An hour later, we pulled in the driveway. She tore out of my car and ran into the house, heading straight for the bathroom. After a few minutes, she came out smiling.
“You didn’t throw up, did you?” I asked her.
She shrugged her shoulders. “Nope, I guess I just had to poop.”