Farmer's Market Refugees

We spent the day entertaining a new bestest friend ever for the Girl. We'll call her KK because that's what her daddy's girlfriend nicknamed her. I can't imagine hooking up with a guy who was divorced with two children and then spending all of my time taking care of his kids for him. She was about to explain it to me but just then I realized we were on the wrong bus and I had to interrupt her.

Wait, back up. We were entertaining KK who only comes to visit her dad on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because those are his days off and she apparently talks of nothing else but playing with the Girl the rest of the week. So we were sitting around at the playground playing when my SIL comes running over with a giant box of stuff. Not just any stuff, a wooden castle with working drawbridge and knights and archers and princesses and a sparkly dragon. (I guess some family member randomly passed it to my FIL and they were delivering it to us.) Then she came running over again with more boxes with games in them like hungry hippos and Candyland. I am so burning that one before my kids realize we have it, at least that's what I want to do.

What happens next of course is that we carry it all back to our house, and now the floor is completely covered in stuff and they all play with the castle and fight over the princess and the white horse and it is so much fun listening to all the new ways that they can fight thanks to this cool new toy. KK follows us home, and 5 or 6 other neighborhood kids, because we're cool or something.

Then I feed KK and her daddy's girlfriend, because they are there when I realize I need to feed my children and I guess the Indian idea of hospitality is rubbing off on me. "Sit. Eat. More? Here take this home with you."

Then I mention our planned adventure to the farmer's market which is on a cute little street downtown that they block off every Tuesday. We walk just under a mile to get there. KK wants to come. Of course she wants to come. I warn her that she will have to walk there, and she promises that she can do it without complaining. So I invite them along.

We walk there, it takes us over an hour because walking is a slow business when you have to run up and roll down every hill on the way, and climb every obstacle, and pick up the bike racks to show how strong you are, and pick the flowers, and the pepper on the pepper tree, and stick the nose of your stuffed horse through every hole in the chain link fence under the overpass, and stare at the sky when the light changes instead of crossing. We stopped at The Yogurt Place for frozen yogurt, because mommy had a coupon and could get it for less than $2. Then we finally found the farmers market and began browsing and eating everyone's samples without buying much. My kids are so adorable it seems that vendors start handing them giant handfuls of organic grapes to try. The artisan bread is two for the price of one. Look at all these great deals I'm getting, why are they bartering? Happy with our $5 flat of organic strawberries, huge heads of lettuce, and grapes and nectarines, we go to choose some flowers to take home. Only, they are loading the flowers into the vans so I have to ask them to pull them out for me so I can buy some. I think to myself that they are in an awfully big hurry.

I plan to take the bus home because it will be dark soon and I want to get the kids into bed early because I promised to read to them. And because I don't know if KK can handle the walk back. So we walk the 5 blocks to the transit center stopping to climb every lamp post and sculpture on the way. The Boy and Girl have completely black faces. The dust seems to be sticking to the fruit residue on their hands and faces and they look like they are streaked with soot. My little refugees. We stand at the regular stop, the bus comes at the regular time of quarter too. We get on the bus and settle ourselves with the shopping cart and kids all tucked away. KK's daddy's girlfriend and I start talking about how they met. Then I suddenly see in front of us the street that we just left where the Farmer's Market once was. I jump up and run to the driver and ask him what bus we're on. He tells me that the bus we want isn't running anymore, so we ask him to stop and we jump off. It turns out that all buses heading toward where we live stop running at 7:30. We got to the bus stop at 7:35. I feel very stupid for not knowing this, or noticing how late it was getting. I turn to KK's daddy's girlfriend and tell her that this is the moment when the trip goes bad. We once more walk the 6 blocks to the transit center. The kids are still having a great time, which makes it easier.

We watch the sun disappear as we're walking and discuss our options. In the end KK's daddy comes to pick up her and his girlfriend and take them home and I feel bad that they are stuck because of me. Because he has no car seats for my kids, and because it would be cramped, and illegal and dangerous, we opt to not take the ride he offers us and walk the rest of the way home instead. I start to get looks from people that make me think that I look like a homeless mom with my children all filthy and walking after dark pulling a cart that's stuffed full of bags, and flowers. For some reason I think that if we stop to eat on the way home it will get them to bed faster, so I spend my last $5 on chowmein and orange chicken and sit and watch them pick at it. By this time it is 9:00. We finally get home, showered, brushed and in bed by 10:30 and then because I had promised yesterday, I read them the next chapter of The Magician's Nephew and they fall asleep.

Not once one the way home did they complain. They told me once or twice how tired they felt, but didn't whine. And I am proud of them.


  1. Andrea12:38 PM


    This post has bothered me since the first time I read it back in 2007. Now, over four years later, I'm finally writing to let you know how I feel. I'm specifically talking about the "I can't imagine hooking up with a guy who was divorced with two children and spending all of my time taking care of his kids for him" comment. This was very hurtful to me and I felt very judged. It was never my intention to hook up with a guy like that, I just happened to fall for him and I didn't want to rule him out just because he had kids from a previous marriage.  I was never able to have kids of my own and the one time I did get pregnant, I miscarried at 8 weeks. Talk about grief!  I always admired you and your lifestyle and wished that I could have my own kids and be a homemaker too. Yes, it was not the best decision to hook up with Steve but our eventual separation had more to do with him than the fact he was divorced with two children. Even though they weren't my kids, I loved them like they were my own. I also know that you have the heart to take care of and love other people's children too. 

    Andrea aka KK's daddy's (ex) girlfriend 

  2. Oh Andrea, it makes me so sad to hear that you felt judged by the way I wrote this. I never meant that. I was curious, wished I'd had time to hear your story. I didn't mean I can't imagine in a negative way, more in an, "I think that would be a way more challenging situation to be in than mine and I want to know your story", kind of thing."

    I can see rereading this all these years later how the tone of what followed may have given the wrong impression so I'm really sorry to have offended you. You were so sweet with those kids, and were so sacrificial caring for them and I was curious to know you better. We had just met really, and I didn't mean anything other than I really couldn't imagine being in your shoes.

    I hope you'll forgive me for writing something that hurt your feelings. I hate it when my big mouth, or fingers as the case may be, offends someone I care about.

    I really liked you and Steve and was sad when things didn't work out between you two.


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