So first wanted to share a link to a post of mine that just went up on the Richmond Moms Blog with some flu season tips. Super exited to join this lovely group of local bloggers and should be writing more there in the future!
So today R had to take care of a quick work related errands in Charlottesville. Since it’s such a pretty January day we decided to make the most of it and do a little mini day trip with the babies.
I did a little car nursing while R took care of his work thing.
Our next stop, the UVA Lawn. We thought Ryland would like a chance to run wild and stretch her legs amidst a historical backdrop (she deeply cares about this). She was a fan.
Instead of downing a post class mimosa, I did have the joy of using the A+, marvelous family bathroom under the Rotunda to change Bobby, so my life is pretty much just as cool as college right? But seriously it was one of the best family bathrooms I’ve ever used, spacious, warm, super clean, enormous changing table. Just super. I thought about going over to the group of 21 year olds and telling them all about it.
And then I remembered I’m really old. And lame.
After the Lawn we headed out to Dr. Ho’s pizza, which is I think one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had in my life. R and I went there a lot when we were dating so it’s always nostalgic to go there now. This was Ryland’s second trip and this time she actually got to eat the pizza!
On our successful restaurant high, we thought we’d stop at Pippin winery right across the road. WHAT COULD GO WRONG GOING TO A FANCY WINERY WITH TWO BABIES?! (insert maniacal laugh here).
So here’s the issue. We have brought Ryland to wineries. And brought both babies to super casual breweries nearby. So we weren’t being totally delusional. Most Cville wineries have huge open outdoor spaces where kids can run. And Pippin does. Normally.
However, I guess because it’s winter, they have covered their enormous lawn areas up with giant tarps, tarps that can not be trod upon by little feet.
The second I saw those tarps I knew we were in for it, but we forged ahead, because well, wine. The very nice indoor tasting room and restaurant was surprisingly full (we assumed that a winery wouldn’t be too crowded on a Friday at 1pm in January, although hey, you do you Charlottesville day drinkers). It was so full that we knew it would not be a great place to settle with our little traveling circus. Did I also mention it’s very fancy?
We got a bottle of red and two glasses and headed out onto the little porch. A porch where there were workers paintings the railings….
We put all of our stuff down and tried to set up on a table and chairs. I needed to feed Bobby and had a bottle of pumped breast milk with us. However, the only table and chairs they have were spindly legged little high tops.
I somehow managed to get up there with Bobby and we tried to put a movie on our phone for Ryland below us. She was much more interested in running toward the paint though. And the moment I put the bottle of (cold) breast milk in Bobby’s mouth, he lost it. Totally refused. Screaming.
Now, normally I could probably keep my shit together in this circumstance. However the way Pippin is set up is that the very fancy tasting room/restaurant has giant glass windows and doors that look out onto the porch. And on the other side of the porch (like an L shape) is a long covered sitting area, that also has large glass windows that look out.
Remember when I said the place was packed? Basically all of those people had a perfect view of our shit show. And more than likely no one was looking and/or if they did look they didn’t care. Worst they may have chuckled in sympathy.
But when you’re a mom, particularly of a new baby, there’s this feeling when you go out in public that any mistake you make or meltdown your kids have is just amplified. You see yourself through stranger’s eyes, people who are put together and wearing nice clothes and out to a fancy lunch with other fancy adults. And what you see is a mom with her hair in a pony tail, with dark circles under her eyes, trying and failing to give a bottle to her infant who is probably too young to be there anyway, and chasing after her toddler (with greasy, Vaseline hair and mud on her pants no less) who is also too young to be at a winery. You feel like a total mess. Because you kind of are. But it’s one thing to be a mess in private and another to be one out somewhere nice.
I could feel my cheeks grow hot. I felt more and more anxious the more Bobby cried and flailed. It was somehow too cold and too hot all at once. Why hadn’t I dressed him more warmly? Why hadn’t I dressed less warmly?
And so I did the only thing I could think of in these situations. Flee. Rapidly.
We grabbed our stuff, our babies, and our wine (had to make two trips naturally, because, trainwreck) and high tailed it to the gravel area outside the front entrance, which is actually the designated smoking area, but beggars can’t be choosers right?
And then I sat on the stairs with my screaming infant and tried to feed him and drink my wine as fast as I could so we could get the hell out of there. I barely took in the gorgeous scenery around me, the beautiful sunny weather, the rows and rows of grape vines.
R ran off to chase Ryland through those same grape vines. And I sat there with Bobby and noticed a woman who worked there nearby tending to the garden. She smiled, sympathetically as Bobby spit out milk. She took a few steps closer.
“How old is he?” she asked, not unkindly.
“10 weeks,” I said, my cheeks still hot, still totally embarrassed to be there.
“My husband and I went port tasting when my sun was that age. We had to take turns going outside.” She looks at Bobby who is still screaming.
“Do you want to try on that bench over there?” She motions to a bench a few yards away. “There’s some shade.”
For the first time I realize Bobby’s face is totally in the bright mid day sun. No wonder he’s screaming so much.
I nod and she helps me transfer some of our many items over to the bench, most importantly my glass of wine.
I get Bobby situated, his face out of the sun, a little comfier, and then finally he starts to take the bottle and calm down. I take a breath. I sip my wine. I look at the view in front of me, the rolling hills and mountains in the distance.
I thank this lovely woman, and then she’s gone.
And it is only now, literally as I’m writing this, that I realize how much that little gesture of compassion meant in that moment, one mom, being kind to another, in a way both tiny and enormous all at once.
We headed home soon after, exhausted and laughing about how different life is now than when we used to go to wineries without kids, when we could sit for lazy hours over a bottle of wine, unhurried and unstressed.
Life is different now. And most of the time it’s different in the most amazing ways. But there are moments when it’s different in ways that are hard, like when you’re trying and failing to keep it together with two kids at a nice winery.
But luckily there are good and decent people in this world to help you in the harder moments, even if by just being kind, gently suggesting that you get your poor baby’s face out of the sun, and carrying your glass of wine.