Before I had kids, I used to go to the bookstore all the time. Seriously, I lived there. I even dreamed that I owned a house that was a bookstore, complete with a fancy cafe and all the cappuccino I could drink.
After having my first child, I quit going to bookstores for a while. It was just too hard. I couldn’t browse for books while handling a screaming baby. It got a little easier as Cassie got older and developed an interest in books, but even then I frequently found myself trapped in the kids’ section of the store, watching my daughter tear around the place and wishing I could somehow magically transport myself to the magazines, science fiction, mystery, non-fiction… Any part of the store that didn’t involve Disney Princess books and Thomas the Tank Engine.
Now that Cassie is in kindergarten and Sam is almost ready for preschool, I’d begun to look forward to the day when I’d be able to hit the bookstore alone. I could browse for hours without listening to someone whine “I’m boooooored!” I could order a piece of cheesecake at the cafe and not worry about someone dropping it on the floor before I could get a bite. I could have coffee and not have to argue with a small tot over why they can’t have another sip of my delicious and highly caffeinated beverage. Then came today.
I needed to get some gift cards for Cassie’s teachers. The bookstore seemed like the best bet for a teacher gift. I grabbed my wallet, coat and keys and turned to Sam.
“Okay, let’s go to the bookstore!”
“No! I don wanna go bookstore! I stay home with Dada!”
“Huh? Uh… I’m going to the bookstore, sweetie. You know, books? Thomas the Tank Engine? Disney Princess stories? Cookies and brownies and treats? Let’s get your coat on, okay?”
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I stay HOME with DADA!”
I looked at my husband. He looked back at me and shrugged. “Go ahead. She can stay here with me.”
So I went. And I hated it. I didn’t have anyone to sit with me at the cafe. I didn’t have anyone to chat with as I browsed for books. I didn’t have anyone to ask if we could please buy a princess book. I was so damned lonely I almost cried.
Next time I go to the bookstore, Sam doesn’t get a choice. That little fart is going with me. It’s just no fun on my own anymore.