I woke up this morning thinking, as usual, about Katie. The summer that she was almost two, we were visiting Anita's parents, an hour west of Buffalo, and planning to head on to my parents', up in Ontario. While we were there, Anita came down with the flu. After a day or so, she said, "I'm not going anywhere; why don't you take Katie up to see your parents tomorrow?", so we got an early start and headed off.
Growing up in Ontario, I've crossed the border dozens of times. So I quickly noticed that they seemed to be asking a lot of questions, but it wasn't until they asked, "Does her mother know she's with you?" that I twigged to what was going on: a 32-year-old man with a 2-year old, crossing the border, certainly could be a "custody situation", as the phrase goes. They sent us over to the immigration building, and we parked and went in.
Then we sat there for ten or fifteen minutes, while I kept Katie as entertained as I could. I'm sure they checked my passport information and car registration, but also kept an eye on me, to see if I was at all hinky. So I just made sure I looked as calm as possible, and eventually they came over and said "You can go". So off we went.
When we got to my parents, it was one of those glorious Ontario summer days: sunny and 80s, with low humidity. We had a light lunch and then my mother suggested that we set up the sprinkler and let Katie play in it while we adults sat and watched and chatted.
Of course I hadn't brought a bathing suit for Katie, so we stripped her down and she happily ran around in the water. I asked whether the neighbors were going to think it strange that she was naked, and my mother quite sharply said that if they did, they could go to hell. Then she told me that exactly thirty years earlier, we had gone to Shelter Island, off Long Island, to visit some friends. I was just two. When we went to the beach, I of course immediately got sand in my (cloth!) diaper, so she'd taken it off. Some woman made a snide remark about me being naked, and my mother told her to pound sand! I often forget just how much moxie my mom has.
Anyway, it was one of those wonderful, low-key visits, with no agenda (hard to have one with a 2-year-old in tow!), and we just relaxed and watched her play until she got tired and took a nap. And eventually headed back to Anita's parents that night.
A great day, even if Anita wasn't with us.