Last week I asked Good Papa to write a guest post for our anniversary.
This is what he decided to write.
I’m thinking it was inspired by my recent hot topic on extended breastfeeding.
A Bus Token’s Worth
Anyone who knows me knows that I love taking the bus to work.
There’s nothing quite like tumbling down Broad St. at 7’oclock in the morning, starting, stopping, breathing in exhaust, listening to people complain, and just general itchiness everywhere.
It really gets me going in the morning.
I’ve been doing this nonsense for the past 10 years and it was safe to say that I felt like I had seen everything. But this morning’s ride proved to me that the world always has one little surprise waiting around the corner.
We stop at Broad and Olney. Always the longest stop of the trip.
A mother and her son hop on and conveniently sit down right across from me so that we’re staring at each other. The bus starts moving and within the first second the mother passes out adding a faint snore.
The son looks at me, “She always does this.”
I smile a little awkwardly because I was surprised at how outgoing this young child seemed to be.
Before I knew it he jumped up on her lap and with one hand starts unbuttoning his mother’s shirt. With each button he slowly unravels the shirt collar corner like he’s rolling a croissant eventually exposing his mother’s breast.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Gentleman like me immediately finds somewhere else to look. This kid’s obviously hungry and it’s a completely natural part of the human experience. It’s rude to stare.
But as my eyes tried to glance in a different direction I see this young child lick his index finger and point it straight up in the air as if he was checking to see if there was some kind of wind current in the bus.
I couldn’t help myself, “Son, we’re inside a bus. There’s no wind in here.”
“Maybe you should take notice to the window that’s open two rows up,” he says looking back as if my comment was bothering him.
He then proceeds to place both hands on his mother’s breast and push down so that the milk comes flowing out in a similar trajectory as you’d imagine a water fountain. Miraculously, not a drop hits the floor. He takes his first sip, swirls it around in his mouth a bit then immediately spits it out.
“TOO WARM!” he shouts to the heavens immediately hopping off his mother’s lap and heading straight for a complete stranger’s lunch cooler sitting on the floor. He opens it up, takes out an ice pack, hops back on his mother’s lap and plops it right on her chest.
I have no idea how this woman didn’t wake up, but nothing.
After a few minutes he removes the freezer bag and starts the process again.
“TOO COLD!” he shouted again pointing to the Gods as if there was some sort of cosmic conspiracy to ruin breakfast.
He immediately sat down on the floor sulking, looking exhausted. I felt horrible.
“Hey little guy, do you want my orange juice?”
He looked up, a tear still in his eye, then stood up and jumped into the seat next to me his feet swaying back and forth not long enough yet to touch the ground.
“Do you have a light?” he asked.
And before I knew how to process that question he continued, “Oh never mind, I think I have matches.”
He then lit a cigarette, took a drag and started talking.
“I’ve been hooked ever since my first birthday. There is no getting off that,” as he pointed over at his mother, still passed out, shirt still undone.
“I know I shouldn’t be, but I am. Do you have kids?“
And before I could answer he continued,
“If you do, don’t let them end up like me. A lonely 3 year old, with a narcoleptic mother spending my days fighting to get off the sauce. I can’t do it, it’s just so hard. I mean, I’m only a toddler. How am I supposed to have the capacity to deal with this addiction?“
The kid was right. Made total sense.
I wondered how he got to this point, what could have been done to prevent this. Is it the parents’ fault? Is it the new trend of celebrity women Instagram-ing themselves breastfeeding? Maybe it’s Clinton’s fault. Hilary, not Bill. Nothing’s Bill’s fault.
I thought a lot about my own family, my young son and wife’s connection through the breast feeding process- really powerful stuff.
But as I turned to face him to offer up any wisdom he put his tiny fingers over my mouth.
“Shhhh,” he whispered,
“I’ve heard it all before.”
He patted me on the head, jumped into the aisle and started walking to the door as the bus slowed down. The doors opened, he looked back and whistled as his unconscious mother shot up from her slumber.
He glanced in my direction, winked then put his thumb in his mouth and walked off the bus.
SEPTA should start charging extra for these life lessons…
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