Skotchdopole and I took a road trip when she was 5 years old. We were driving from Houston to Virginia Beach. I was a 26 year old waitress at the time, and hoped to make the most of this trip. Memories of childhood road trips swirled in my head, and I wanted to make this memorable for her as well.
Atlanta marked the halfway point for us, and we were in the area as the sun came up. I saw a sign for Stone Mountain, and remembered visiting Mount Rushmore as a teenager. It seemed like a good idea to head that way and show Skotchdopole some carved stuff.
(Disclaimer: I am terrible at Geography and even worse at History. Most of my history teachers were football coaches who took pity on me and passed me, despite my deficiencies. I enjoyed taking a Lapidary course in Junior High, and had Geology been offered, I would have taken that as well. What I lack in Historical knowledge, I make up for in loving rocks. And rock. But that’s another story. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I really had no idea where we were, and had zero idea of the confederate connection. But I did like a good rock.)
We arrived at the visitor’s center, and the weather was cool and damp. There was a path made out of stones in the shape of each state (I think), and I tried to make the trip down the hill an educational one as well. I was patting myself on the back for my stellar mom skills.
As we walked down the trail toward the mountain, Skotchdopole’s nose began to run. I shoved a hand into my purse and realized I didn’t have any tissues. My mom skills seemed suddenly less spectacular. I sighed, and told her to go ahead and wipe her nose on the sleeve of her jacket.
We reached the viewing area (a large, grassy field at the base of the mountain), and to our chagrin, realized the mountain was shrouded in fog. I didn’t want this trip be a total waste, so I decided we could sit and wait for the fog to lift. I grew up in California and knew that fog was temporary.
Apparently, fog is only temporary in coastal California. In Georgia, it’s a permanent fixture. But we were determined to see that stupid rock. There appeared to be a body of water at the base of the mountain that was feeding the fog. Occasionally, the outline of the mountain itself could be made out. There were other people on the grass, all staring at the mountain-shaped fog, so we decided to stick it out.
Meanwhile, Skotchdopole’s nose continued to run. She had used up both of her jacket sleeves, so I had her remove it and sit on it (at least her butt would be dry). She began using the sleeves of her shirt.
I was staring so intently at the fog that I began seeing things. I would get a rush of excitement, thinking I could make out something beyond the fog, but then it would shift, and I realized it WAS the fog. It didn’t help that I really had no idea what I was looking for. How big was this thing? How much of the mountain did it take up? Ugh!
Skotchdopole’s sleeves were now toast, so I popped off one of her socks (hey, don’t judge… it was early, so they were relatively clean) and had her use that. Her nose was a steady drip by this time, so her sock quickly became soggy. As I pulled her last sock off and handed it to her, I realized we were rapidly running out of clothing. At this pace, she would soon be a naked child with a sad little pile of snotty clothes.
I glanced down at her. She was boring holes in the fog with her eyes. She was just as determined to see whatever was behind that damn cloud. I couldn’t give up now!
I opened my purse and began to dig around. Surely there was something I could use. I only paused for a moment when I saw it. Sure, there would be questions, but hell, we had been using socks up until this point. It was huge, and boasted maximum absorbency. This could potentially last until that ridiculous fog lifted.
As I handed my child a Maxi-Pad to wipe her nose, she looked up at me with enquiring eyes. I put on my best “whatever” face and shrugged. “It’s Mommy Kleenex”, I explained. She accepted the answer without question.
I wish I had a better ending to this story than: She snotted up the pad. The damn fog never lifted. We gave up and left. Neither one of us has seen that stupid mountain. And for the next 8 years, she thought Maxi-Pads were Mommy-Kleenex.