Our family spent the week in Vermont. Although we were there for a sad occasion (a memorial service for my husband’s grandmother), it was wonderful to see family from around the country and catch up with their lives. The youngest generation of cousins had a blast playing together, and even the weather cooperated (which can be touch and go in Vermont this time of year).
The memorial service took place where my husband’s grandmother had raised her family, up in the picturesque Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. It is a long drive back to the Burlington area where we were staying at my in-laws home. About halfway into the trip, my son needed to use the bathroom. Given there weren’t many options, we pulled over to the side of a field. My daughter was quite impressed with my son’s ability to be able to go wherever, but she announced that she would much rather wait for a bathroom “that has a door for pwivacy”. My husband, recalling his Native American ancestry, said to her, “Oh, if you were a true little Indian princess living back in the day, you wouldn't worry about that. You could just go right there in the grass”. My daughter laughed and told him he was being "silly".
After a few more miles of driving, my daughter fell asleep. About fifteen miles from her grandma and grandpa’s (Papa and Dee-Dee) house, she woke up, yelling, “I have to go potty! Now. Right. NOW”! My husband and I told her we would pull over as soon as possible, and I nervously scanned both sides of the road for any sign of a place with a restroom. She was screaming "Hurry UP! I am going to pee my pants! I-need-to-go-to-the-POTTY"! I reassured her that we were looking and tried distracting her with the various interesting scenery and animals we passed. She quieted down, and by the time we were approaching a gas station, she had fallen back asleep. We were about 10 miles from home, and since the place was pretty questionable regarding cleanliness, we decided not to wake her and continued the trip home.
We were a couple of minutes from the house when she awoke again, screaming desperately to use the bathroom. "WHAT is the MATTER with you! I said have to use the POTTY! Do you want me to pee my pants"? My husband sped up while I encouraged her to wait, giving her minute-by-minute updates, “only a couple more minutes”--which turned to seconds-- "Count with me, 10......9.......8.....7....." which only seemed to make her more and more miserable. We finally pulled into the driveway, and I jumped out of the car, hurried to open her door, and she tumbled out in complete hysterics.
I went to grab her hand and she started kicking me away, trying to climb back in the car, saying, “No! NO! I didn't want to potty here! I don’t want to pee at Dee-Dee’s house! NOOOOOOOO! I want to go in the GWASS! In the gwass! Not in the toiwet! I-want-to-pee-in-the- GWAAAAAAASSSSSS”! She collapsed on the front lawn, kicking her little legs and pounding her fists into the ground. After several minutes of struggle, I managed to get her into the house, but when she saw the nice, modern, clean bathroom awaiting her, she burst into tears again. “I want to be an Indian pwincess and pee on the gwaaaaassssssssssssssss”....... it was then I noticed a note on the table from my husband’s parents saying they went for some groceries and would be back later.
I looked at my husband, then back at my inconsolable daughter. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “hurry up and take her in the backyard”. She looked up at me, immediately stopped crying, smiled, and proudly walked with her dad to pee in the grass. She strode to the middle of the lawn, squatted low and made a valiant effort--but try as she might-- no luck. She looked up at my husband and choked out the words, “I-- I just can’t do it”. She slowly and somberly walked past me, defeated. She dragged her feet to the bathroom and slammed the door.
Heartbroken, she later told me, “mom, it is not easy to pee in the gwass. Boys are lucky. That is not fair.”
We are making a drive from Illinois to Vermont in July. I just hope there will be enough places to pee in the grass along the way.