Jessica wiped Jared’s pudgy face and he cooed at her. She’d already dropped the older two off at school, and had time to go to the gym. She wanted to enjoy her cup of coffee in peace, but Jared had a cold and couldn’t go to day care, so she had to bring him with her. So much for “me” time. She checked her lipstick in the review mirror one more time before getting out of the car.
She stood in line, with Jared perched on her hip. Two people ahead of her stood a woman holding a baby with out of control curly blond hair and a toddler, with equally crazy hair, hanging on her prairie skirt.
“Stop that, David…put that down,” she scolded. The one on her hip let out a single scream, and David laughed at him. Within minutes, David realized he had an audience with his brother, and began dancing in line. The woman struggled to control him, but it was clear she was going to lose that battle.
Jessica craned her neck to see the spectacle. Jared cooed and she shushed him. He obliged.
By the time the woman had gotten to the front of the line to order her coffee, David was in full entertainer mode, dancing around standing patrons. The woman struggled to give her order and then find her money while still keeping track of David. Other customers grimaced and gave her dirty looks. Jessica rolled her eyes.
“No control,” Jessica mumbled to herself.
“You got that right,” the well-dressed man in front of her said.
David continued to dance around the tables and the younger one screamed in delight as she made her way to the table. Jessica had to raise her voice over the commotion so that the clerk could hear her.
“David! Get over here!” the woman raised her voice.
Jessica watched her along with the entire café. She shook her head as she got her coffee and tried to find a table anywhere but near David and his Mom, but there was none. She was forced to sit right beside them.
Jessica no sooner set Jared in the high chair and he began to cry. She gave him a pacifier, but he spit it out. She gave a quick and inconspicuous sniff, but his diaper was fine. She could feel the eyes of other patrons on her and it made her uncomfortable. She was getting more flustered by the moment, and felt the need to leave, but she really wanted to enjoy her coffee. Still, what would people think? Even the older woman across the way waved at Jared and smiled at him, but he continued to cry. It was turning into a fiasco.
And then David came over to her table.
“Is he okay?” he asked.
“Yes, he’s fine, thank you,” Jessica said trying to shoo David away. She didn’t want people to think David was with her.
“But he doesn’t sound okay,” David continued.
“Thank you. I can take care of it,” Jessica said. Why wasn’t David’s mother attending to him?
As Jessica was struggling with Jared, he arched his back, knocking over her coffee. It spilled all over the table and onto the floor. Jessica was mortified. She reached for napkins, but only had a few.
David jumped back. “Mommy, Mommy! The baby spilled!” he announced to the café.
Jessica restrained herself from yelling at the child.
“Here let me help.” It was David’s mother. She appeared from nowhere and held a rag in her hand. Without a word she began cleaning up. David ran to the counter, got more napkins, and began helping too.
Jessica continued to tend to Jared. He’d started to quiet down as he was distracted by all the commotion. She didn’t want the woman helping her, but she really did need the help.
“Thank you,” Jessica said.
“No problem. This is nothing compared to the mess my boys make,” the woman said.
Jessica looked at the woman’s baby who sat quietly chewing on his pacifier. She felt guilty for judging the woman.
“I’m sorry. Jared’s not usually this much trouble. I don’t know what happened. But thank you for your help,” she said.
The woman handed the rags to David and he took them to the counter and handed them to the clerk.
David retuned with a cookie.
“Look Mommy! The lady gave me a cookie!” he said.
“That’s because you’re such a big helper. Thanks buddy,” she said to him.
“Again…thank you,” Jessica said.
“No problem. We mom’s have to stick together,” the woman said.
“Yes, I guess we do,” Jessica agreed. She held out her hand, “I’m Jessica.”
“Oh, I’m Daisy. I know, it’s a weird name. It’s what happens when your parents are hippy’s,” Daisy said.
“It’s lovely,” Jessica said.
“I’m David,” David said very loudly.
“It’s nice to meet you too,” Jessica said.
“Do you have any coffee left?” Daisy asked.
Jessica looked at her cup which was empty. “Nope, so much for that cup of coffee.”
“Here, let me go get you another. What was it?” Daisy asked.
“Oh, you don’t have to…” Jessica started.
“It’s okay. I’m sure they’ll give you a free one.”
“Um…Mocha, thanks,” Jessica said.
“David, watch your brother,” Daisy instructed.
David dragged his brother’s high chair over to Jessica’s table and sat in the chair across from her.
“That’s my brother. His name is Riley,” David said.
Daisy returned with Jessica’s coffee and they spent the next hour talking about their kids, and Jessica realized they weren’t so different after all.