A few cards short of a full deck

In an attempt to rule the world this weekend I somehow managed to get everything on my to-do list done. I even tackled the laundry and got it hung up on the line outside. In celebration of my mighty victory over life, I took the kids to the splash pad at the park.

I was so organized, which by the way – never happens. We had park chairs and a blanket. I even got myself a cup of coffee on the way. Once I set up our spot I sat my butt down on that lawn chair like it was my throne. That cup of Timmies was my royal sceptre. For a whole hour I sat upon the throne very pleased with myself and did nothing but rule my world in victory because I crushed the to-do list.

After a while it looked like it was going to rain. ‘Shoot! My clothes are out on the line.’ I thought. So we packed up quickly and started off home. On the way we passed a car wash. I thought to myself, ‘Self, you are really kicking butt this weekend! If you could get the car clean – then you would truly be the queen. There’s enough time!’ So my kids and I pulled into the car wash to clean the car.

Now of all the things in my entire queendom to be rolling around on the floor of the car was a random tube of crazy glue. My back was turned for all of 60 seconds, during which my youngest daughter popped open that tube and got crazy glue all over her hands. My stress level went from zero to ten in three seconds flat!

Once I made sure she didn’t have glue anywhere else on her, we made our way to the drug store before they closed. “We’ll get you some nail polish remover to clean your hands” I told my girls. As I rushed through the store and thought about my baby’s hands covered in glue I felt like such a bad parent. I stood in line at the cashier, cursing myself internally. How did I not notice super glue in the car? I thought. As I casually scanned the area, checking out who all was standing around me I looked over my shoulder and happened to catch direct eye contact with a girl I know named Joy, standing in front of the drug store bathroom.

I hadn’t seen Joy in a long time. She is one of those impossibly beautiful Disney Princess type women who always looks effortlessly put together and is kind to everyone. She has long flowing red hair, a gorgeous body and can sing like an angel. Here I was feeling like a big schmo and I just happened to see “Princess Joy”. ‘No!’ I thought to myself. ‘Why now?’

For a moment I thought about pretending I didn’t see her. ‘I wonder if I just keep my back turned, pay for my stuff and run out the door she’d notice,’ I thought. But it was too late, I’d already made direct eye contact. So instead I did the “awkward second turn around and smile” move.

“Joy? Hi!” I squealed and smiled – totally faking that I just now noticed her.

“Hi Nan! What are you up to?” The girl is so sweet, we were standing in the middle of a drug store but you could literally feel the butterflies and birds being beckoned in her tone.

Now I don’t know if it was the fumes from the super glue or just the anxiety of having to be social when I was feeling so crummy, but I swear that in that moment I thought I saw a pregnant belly. Not like a little pooch either, like a full on pregnant ‘about-to-blow’ belly.

“Oh my goodness are you having a bay-b…” I started.

Before I finished the sentence she stepped backwards and tousled her perfect flowing red locks. I looked in utter horror as the words slipped out of my mouth and I realized that she was not pregnant at all. Not even a little bit.

…baby?” I ended. As soon as my sentence was spoken I looked deep into her eyes as if to say. ‘Oh God I am so sorry.’ The whole checkout area went into quiet and embarrassed shock as everyone in line behind me witnessed the faux pas go down. Somebody behind me actually laughed out loud and I heard someone else whisper a horrified, “Noooo!”

“What? No!” she replied sharply, sounding rather hurt.

“Oh! God…Sorry..I just…it was from the corner of my eye and I…” I tried to save myself but it was too late. Why did I say anything? The unwritten rules of womanhood specifically say to never ever ask another woman if she is expecting – because all too often it goes down like this. I know the code! I broke the unwritten rules! What had I just done?! That is when my kids ran into the store, barefoot in bathing suits, hands coated in super glue, shouting at each other and looking for the bathroom.

Quickly, I tossed some money at the cashier, grabbed my kids and ran behind Joy and into the bathroom. As I passed behind her I actually said something like, “I’m so sorry I called you pregnant – its just cuz my kids got superglued.” She watched me run away looking really confused. I have never been so happy to shut a door in my life! Once I regained composure, I realized that I still had to do one more final walk of shame past Joy to get out of the store. With my head hanging low I half-smiled and muttered out, “M’Bye.” Offering Joy my shame in exchange for her redemption in front of the crowd who witnessed me humiliating her. It was all I had left to give.

As I sat in the out in the parking lot, wiping the superglue off my kids hands it started to rain hard. I was getting wet, the windows in the car were starting to fog and my clothes were at home on the line getting soaked. In that moment all I could do was shake my head and laugh at how quickly I had gone from the Queen to the Joker yet again.

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About The Author

Nahnda Garlow, Onondaga under the wing of the Beaver Clan of Six Nations, is our Arts & Culture editor. Her popular column, Scone Dogs and Seed Beads brings weekly thoughts on current day indigenous identity. She is a self-proclaimed "rez girl" who brings to the Two Row Times years of experience as a cultural interpreter, traditional dancer and beadwork aficionado.

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