My parenting is more like the show Louie than Mary Poppins. I quite often wait for them to sleep and feel my days at times punctuated by this rhythm of cook, feed, clean, play, sleep, repeat… I’ll notice I’m going on autopilot and sense their malaise as they pass over the toys their habituated to like zoo animals pawing at a half eaten deflated ball encrusted in feces.

So I said, “Hey, let’s do something different today.” We ceased our errands and went for a drive. I remembered the back of the car was packed full of stuff for donations so we stopped there first to clear up our view and save them from decapitation.

Nora watched as I handed over bags of clothes and old toys. She watched suspiciously as each bag left my hands. She always asks if any of her things are in there. I say the same thing every time, “If there is, it’s either too short to fit you or forgotten. They’re on to their next life in a happy home.”

When I got back in the car she wanted to see the fliers I had been given. I kept the tax receipt and coupons and gave her one for the Red Cross. Because I’m a moron.

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“Mama, what’s a “red cross”? Is it red from all the blood? Like that weird diaper guy we saw the other day, ew!” (“Weird diaper guy” is a crucifix by the way.)

“They help people, they’re a charity.”
“A “share-itty”?”
“No, a charity, they do charitable work. They help people.”
“With what?”
“With food, clothes, medicine…stuff they need.”
“Oh…like pouches and sippy cups?”
“Yep…just like that.”
“Why is the cross red?”
Oh shit…
“Because they’re known for taking blood donations.” Fuck, is that true? Why the fuck in the fucking shit did I just say that? Is there a coffee place with drive thru up ahead…
“…(huge gasp) DO THEY PAINT CROSSES WITH BLOOD?!”
OH FUCK.

“No, absolutely not. Sometimes people are sick or need surgery and they give them blood to help them.”

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“Do they drink it?”
Thank you “Hotel Transylvania”…
“They put it in their veins, into their bodies, to make them stronger….ok?”

She was pensively looking out the window considering this, “…ok.”

That quenched her curiosity only briefly. I was exhaling and selecting music as she picked up the conversation again.
“But, mama?”
Oh, sweet diapered guy of holy shit…
I took a cleansing breath, “Yes?” I am my little book of calm, there is cider chilling at home and HBO shows to be binged upon…
“The destructions say – ”
Instructions sweetheart – ”
“Yeah, they say you need to go TODAY. Are we going there next?”
Why did we teach her to read, why?

“Well, sweets, it’s not something we can take you and Owen to and,” Yes, sweet merciful diaper dude! “Well – oh, darn. Yep, Owen is asleep. We’ll have to go another time.”
“Is it like the doctor’s office.”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“You don’t know?”
“…No, not exactly…”
“Why?”

Because mommy passed out the first time she donated blood in high school and it was super fucking humiliating and she doesn’t want to experience that again.

Because I rarely get a moment to myself and the idea of sitting in a filthy waiting room chair and giving my literal blood after figuratively giving it all day long is about as appealing as a daily annual.

Because, because…

So I went to Red Cross to donate.

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