Serenade Me

Are the cute young things of Vampire Weekend intentionally singing about my day as a worn-out mother of sick kids? It’s doubtful. But they are sure messing with my head. In December, drinking horchata…

Two days at home with the boys has left me more than a bit stir crazy, so today we head out for fresh air via drive-through errands like the gas station, the bank and the Goodwill drop-off. I am playing the new VW album, purchased just a couple days ago. Catchy and addictive, I think, just like the last one.

Here comes a feeling you thought you'd forgotten

Rascal keeps asking for an agua fresca—Handy Manny must have been speaking Spanglish about it—so we make an out-of-the-way detour to an old fave, Chango’s. The little taqueria sits between two neighborhoods where we spent our first eight years in Austin. It was our go-to place any time we didn’t feel like cooking, and a frequent daytime escape during my early years freelancing. I have tasted almost everything on the menu, but now order the same thing every time (tacos del pueblo with chicken and guac, if you must know). Their agua frescas rock. And while I’m partial to the watermelon, the horchata (ah, there’s the tie-in) is delish. The staff is friendly as always, and my day is looking up.

Chairs to sit and sidewalks to walk on

So we order drinks, debate the merits of watermelon vs. pineapple vs. horchata. Rascal takes one sip of the watermelon he chose and executes a dramatic but fake vomit/gag.

“I meant that I want the pineapple,” he said.

“Oh sure, no problem,” I think. “Here, take mine. Really. I’ll just drink after you and join you in your germy misery. I’m a mom, that’s what we do.”

Oh you had it but oh no you lost it

If there’s one parenting thing I’m good at it, it’s knowing when to cut and run in order to divert a larger disaster. So we leave the sunny little taqueria…one of us dragging his feet because it turns out he doesn’t like the pineapple variety either; one squirming and arching and trying to hurl himself out of my arms because that’s his schtick; and the last one suddenly feeling not so light or happy or nostalgic. I just want to get the hell out of there.

My delectable little restaurant belongs to simpler days— the days before months-long ear infections, blistering antibiotic-induced diaper rashes, and fevers that refuse to give up the fight.

It’s not that we won’t return there, but that right now, today, I must admit that we would all be more comfortable at home in our germ-infested house with the disinfectant wipes, the DVDs, and plain old water on tap.

Looking back you shouldn't have fought it