BY: BRITTANY RENEE
It was barely a whisper at first. I convinced myself I was hearing things. He didn’t say it. No, he didn’t say it.
But then I heard him again, a little louder this time, more insistent. I pretended I didn’t hear him. I tried to drive faster, but rush hour traffic is a total bitch.
I stayed quiet, tried to make myself seem smaller, like a gazelle who was being hunted by a wild lion. He was circling me, closing in, getting ready to lunge at me. I wondered if he could see my jugular pulsing in my neck. He was hungry, and I knew there was no escaping his appetite.
This is rush hour, a toddler, and a severely depleted snack stash. This isn’t the wild. It is much, much scarier. It is motherhood.
I tried to keep calm. I knew he could smell fear. I had to act like I could help him, keep him happy. That’s what they tell you to do in hostage situations, and this was basically the same thing. I dug out a crushed granola bar from my purse. It was all I could find. I handed it back to him, held my breath, and waited.
“No, Mama. SNACK!” He sounded like a frat boy, too drunk and needing French fries.
I rifled through the front seat, striking gold after a few moments. An applesauce pouch. The holy grail. Fuck yes, that’ll do.
I handed the pouch back. I smirked when he took it and became quiet because he was eating. But then, like life does, it kicks you in the cooch when you get too cocky.
Within seconds an empty pouch came flying into the front seat.
“More snack!” echoed from the backseat.
Well, shit. I was cornered prey. I started to get angry, as I imagine prey often does. Why doesn’t he get his own snack? Why doesn’t he accept what I’ve offered him? He doesn’t pay bills. He doesn’t even wipe his own ass right now. The least he could do is accept my snack offerings graciously. Who is raising this ungrateful kid? Doesn’t he know we are stuck in traffic, and work was shit today? Maybe I should just move to the wild. The wild would accept my snacks with open fucking arms.
Then, the mom guilt set in while I listened to him wail uncontrollably in the backseat. Classic. How could I let this happen? I put myself in this situation by not having enough snacks. I know he likes variety. He is probably literally starving to death even though I know he ate two hours ago. I need to do better.
But, just as I was spiraling in the depths of motherhood and snack hell, I looked to my left. I saw a woman frantically handing a granola bar, a chip bag, a pouch to the back seat where I could see a car seat. The items were flung right back at her.
I smirked. Sucker.
And that, well, that made it better because I wasn’t alone in the wild.