COVID-19 · slice of life

A Drive for Brunch #SOL20

Ever since I received the contract to write Craft Moves, I’ve spent nearly every Sunday morning writing and/or working. That changed when COVID-19 took hold. While Marc still does the food shopping on Sunday mornings, he goes alone. It’s too risky to take the kids — especially Ari who likes to touch everything — to the grocery store with him. So, they’re home with me. Working with both kids at home is not an option so we’ve started going for Sunday drives while Marc does the food shopping.

Each Sunday drive has a theme. Sometimes the kids take turns deciding which way to turn. Other times we go on a scavenger hunt searching for items in a certain color or for things like barns. This past Sunday, Isabelle decided we should go for a drive down the east-west freeway a few miles from our house and take it nine exists to the east. Why nine? Well, because she is nine.

After six exits, we discovered the freeway ended.

“Should we keep driving to the east?” I asked.

“Yes, keep going east,” Isabelle replied.

We drove so far that we were on the cusp of being in the next area code! (Isabelle declared, “I think we should turn around,” nine miles before we arrived in Coatesville, PA.)

We placed our brunch order in Gap, PA.

“Should I pull over and order brunch?” I asked the kids.

“Yes!” they declared.

Speckled Hen?” I asked.

They cheered. I guessed that meant yes. It took me about ten minutes to find a place to pull over that had wifi so I could place a curbside pickup order. (Because even though our county went from the red to yellow phase on Friday, I am not ready to dine at an outdoor cafe yet.) As we drove through the farmland I realized I needed to use the restroom. While that shouldn’t be a big deal, I had two kids — including a three-year-old who can’t keep a mask on — and no other adults with me. That’s when I had to call in a favor.

“Ari, Mommy really needs to use the bathroom when we get to the Speckled Hen since we’ve been driving for so long. I’m going to need you to come into the restaurant with me to go to the bathroom. You have to wear a mask and you can’t touch anything. Can I count on you?”

Ari didn’t answer. Oh. My. G-d.

“Ari? Do you think you can wear your mask for three minutes so Mommy doesn’t have a potty accident?” I asked.

The words potty accident must have resonated since Ari responded, “Yes!”

Thank goodness.

I parked outside of the restaurant, put on my mask, handed Isabelle her mask, and wrapped Ari’s mask around his ears. “Promise me that you’ll keep it on for the entire time. It shouldn’t be more than three minutes.”

I took one of Ari’s hands and Isabelle grabbed his other hand. The three of us walked into The Speckled Hen with our masks on our faces. I made a beeline for the bathroom. Isabelle took charge of the situation. She held both of Ari’s hands so I could use the facilities and played Ring-Around-the-Rosie with him but insisted that they squat down insteat of fall down so neither of them would touch anything.

Here they are, keeping their hands to themselves!

Once we finished in the restroom (and I profusely thanked Isabelle), we went to the counter and picked up our order to bring back to the car for a minivan picnic. Of course, the kids wanted to look around since they haven’t been inside of a restaurant for months! My repetitions of “don’t touch anything” must’ve worked since neither of them touched anything while we waited for our order.

I’m not sure what my kids will remember about this time years from now. However, it’s my hope they’ll remember our Sunday drives and our minivan picnics fondly. If they just so happen to remember their slightly neurotic mom reminding them not to touch anything, then I suppose that’ll be okay too.

Minivan Brunch Picnic

15 thoughts on “A Drive for Brunch #SOL20

  1. I love your themed Sunday drives. I am sure that the kids will remember those at least as well as their (not!) neurotic mom. And may I just say that I am *impressed* with the way Isabelle stepped up to help with Ari. What a clever game & what a great sister. I hope that one day our kids remember this as a time when we slowed down and spent time together – and though I know we don’t get to choose their memories, maybe we can at least choose ours.

  2. I too love the idea of “themed” drives. I’ve tried to do one “theme” day each week with my grandchildren who I watch on weekdays and one of our favorites is to decide on each block if we should go right or left! We too have had decisions take us too far with the consequences you might expect.

  3. We need a travelling tradition like this. My kids are barely leaving the house and yard for bike rides and I worry about that. Sunday brunch picnics look like a lot more fun.

  4. I had to read this when I saw the heading. Even before the pandemic I use that “don’t touch anything” phrase repeatedly when out with the grandchildren (and my children before them). I think Ari and Isabelle will remember the picnics and the adventure and NOT the “neurotic” mom.

  5. I can totally relate to this story! I was just in a public restroom yesterday and said repeatedly, “Don’t touch anything!” The new norm of struggles possibly. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Love the idea of theme drives! I will keep that in mind in a future as our Grandson gets older. For now we only travel with him and another adult – just in case. Love your post.

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