There are very few things that compare with the relief, nay the unbridled joy, of realizing you’ve arrived at your play destination just after everyone has bailed for lunch. You have the whole place practically to yourself. This is your sanctuary. Your incense? The sweet nectar of chlorine bleach because thank the sweet lord baby Jesus they just cleaned, too.
You wonder if the place was evacuated only moments before. Did someone call in a bomb threat? Maybe this is ground zero for a measles outbreak and you missed the quarantine notices. You remind yourself a person was manning the front desk and that someone in a hazmat suit would have surely tackled you to the ground by now if that were the case.
Not a single sticky-handed, runny-nosed child in sight except your own. Not a single parent you’ll have to side-eye as their 13 year old spawn terrorizes the 3 and under play area. You relish the near quiet with the exception of your own child’s squeals of happiness but they seem so much less shrill in the cavernous space you now occupy than at home. Your youngest is sleeping soundly in her stroller.
You can safely browse your phone knowing your kid isn’t possibly going to get kicked in the face by that rowdy monster of a child that’s jumping off the roof of the playhouse without restraint. He is always there in the form of one kid or another, but today he isn’t. Not today. For today the only danger to your kid is himself. Wow, he just nearly ate it riding that scooter.
But lo and behold, just as you are about to find out how many children you will have based on how you take your coffee (two – dear God please let it be two), you hear the faint battle cry of an adolescent army charging forth from a band of yellow school buses on a field trip.