“OUR TURN!!” Jasper hollered from the back seat.
“A few more minutes. We have to wait our turn- it is frustrating, isn’t it?” I pleaded with Jasper, trying to get him to calm down.
“I WANT TO GO NOW!!” he screamed back at the top of his lungs.
I rolled my eyes, creeping the minivan forward another couple of inches, my stress level growing exponentially by the second.
Our neighborhood was venturing out to Tower Hill’s “Winter Re-Imagined” display, which promised tons of beautiful lights and activities for tots to enjoy.
Patrick was out with friends for the night, and it seemed like the perfect activity to entertain my “active” toddler on a Saturday night. Tower Hill is a convenient 15 minute drive, and the cost of “Winter Re-Imagined” was a reasonable $15.
We loaded up the car, and Jasper was happy to go somewhere fun with the promise of seeing his neighborhood friends.
Then, it took us 20 minutes to get through the credit card line. His smile faded, and my own patience thinned.
We waited for the rest of the neighborhood crew to arrive. I handed Jasper some raisins to munch on in the stroller, but they ran out after 7 minutes.
He demanded to be released from the restraints, just as the final members of our group arrived. I freed him, and instantly regretted my decision.
With a blur, Jasper was off.
I was jammed behind some lovely elderly people, who were smiling at the lights. The stroller and diaper bag, along with my huge, pregnant belly, prevented me from swiftly grabbing him.
My heart began to pound as his blue coat faded into the crowd.
Then I heard a neighbor yell, “We’ve got him!”
I ditched the stroller in the coat closet, and hurried to catch up.
The rest of the night was a flurry of toddler fun, but I would never have made it through the night without the communal support of the other neighborhood parents, who repeatedly helped me corral my kid through the light display.
Jasper loved running around the lights, making crafts, and roasting marshmallows in the fire.
I loved that I felt so supported by such awesome people. Thanks a million, guys!