OPINION: A (Hot Dog) Bun in the Oven

photo: Shutterstock

Little did she know, it was a deceptively long walk to Merwin Meadows, specifically from Drum Hill Rd., more specifically when you’re pregnant. This was just one of my many misadventures in maternity two summers ago when parking was as scarce as swimwear in my size, Memorial Day parade time was imminent and I was running later than my last period — never did I imagine I’d be peeing on a stick at almost 40. Think that scene in Juno, albeit a middle-aged version (minus the Sunny D).

It was a hot summer. When is it not? I was immense with child. Was I growing a beach ball in there? I couldn’t see my feet or other parts of my body, I just had to believe they were still there and moderately intact — moderately (after two kids and counting) was, needless to say, a wide range.

The parade passed me by. I could not get into that pond water fast enough. Losing my keys and an Abe Lincoln in the process, I’m pretty sure I fully submerged myself, muumuu and all, neck deep, while I double fisted some hotdogs. Lovely image. I’m sure there’s a meme for this. I never want to see it (or that muumuu again).

I love Merwin Meadows. I love the feeling I get as I coast down the hill that’s Lovers Ln. toward the parking lot in my sweet set of mom wheels. I love the flowers, all mulched out, just waiting for someone to come along and trample them, (usually my kids) as they head for that (oh so coveted spot) destination: a shady tree. We spread out a blanket and unpack the picnic lunch I’ve lovingly prepared while we listen to the birds chirp and the ice cream truck sing.

No, no, no. Wake the F up Alice. In my dreams, white rabbit. Honeymoon’s over. I never remember the blanket or the food, and the sun lotion? Fuggedaboutit. I’m lucky if I remember the kids and I always have to scrounge around for change because I never have cash on me, so no-‘cone’-do on that ice cream usually.

Both my girls have been known to jump in the pond fully clothed, air dry like golden retrievers and come home looking like lobsters. But for a few blessed hours, I at least get a short reprieve from the industrial size oven that is our rental and a brief hiatus from what has often become the soundtrack to our lives — seasons 1-7 of “Gilmore Girls” or “Glee.” Pick your poison. I’ll have a sangria on the rocks under a nice big umbrella with a side of Milo Ventimiglia rubbing lotion on what are now my shot putter shoulders.

I have a confession. That’s not coffee in my mom mug … very much kidding. Don’t go calling the authorities now unless of course, you’re interested in being my understudy … I didn’t think so. See how they run?

It remains to be seen just how quickly, now that Junior is in tow, moving faster than those lifeguards can blow their whistles. Kids these days! Running up and down that giant sand pile, tossing rocks over the bridge or crackers in the pond. I’m still convinced that resident koi fish ate his fishy friend and maybe all the other little fishies in the pond and maybe a few of those Memorial Day hot dogs from the looks of him.

Speaking of dogs that are hot, one time we got caught in the mother of all Merwin storms. I mean, we’re talking thunder, lightning, picnic food falling from the sky complete with condiments, and this dog, this tiny little dog, was running through the parking lot, like Toto from the tornado and I just scooped him up and put him in my car and I realized later how this event could be deeply misconstrued by an (at the time) four-year-old — “We finally got a dog!”

We returned him of course, after many tears and, gosh, don’t all kids need something to talk about in therapy? I’m thinking of all these things while I snap on my Merwin Meadows 2021 wristband and head for that oh-so-coveted spot. Sixty bucks was a real steal but I’m sort of feeling like maybe a drink should have been included. Blue Hawaii, Sangria … Marly’s seems to have perfected the art of both. (It would be great if they could find a way to add a Milo to the menu, just sayin’ …)

There’s an awful lot of pregnant women patrolling the pond. (Juno fans read: It started with a chair.) People were busy during Covid. I don’t miss that life stage or trying to find swimwear that doesn’t make me look like a beached sea creature.

“Don’t step on the flowers!” I yell in my best fishwife voice just as the College Creamery ice cream truck rolls in, immediately eliciting eager pleas Wilton-wide from my three little lobsters. I hate to rain on their parade but — “Hey, Mom…look…it’s your lucky day,” my middle daughter announces, furnishing a five from the ground but Junior takes off with it just as quickly through the flowers.

A woman immense with child, tired eyes and in possession of sun lotion passes me on the left, chuckling, “Looks like somebody’s giving you a real run for your money.”

I smile. “Is this your first?” I ask, motioning to the general location of her impending beach ball.

She nods. She’s so young, her skin like a baby’s ass.

“Good luck,” I say and I mean it, like in an exhausted, mothers-of-the-world-unite way. Shit gets real once that baby comes out. Little does she know.

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.