My Happy Meal

I bought myself a Happy Meal.

Tuesday. So let’s see: you guys know that Angelborough is ten miles away from everything. It’s ten miles from my kids’ pediatrician. Ten miles from Kiddo#1’s summer camp. Ah, but it’s fifteen miles from the other doctor who’s running some tests on Kiddo#3.  On Tuesday, I needed to go to all three of those.

Of course, if you pushed a pin into a map for every location I needed to hit, they formed a nearly equilateral triangle. And there was just about enough time between appointment times to get to them. The last appointment was 90 minutes and began at 11:30, and I pulled into McDonalds so the kids could eat something. For ease of ordering, I got myself a Happy Meal too.

With chocolate milk.

Because, you know, when you have to drive about a hundred miles with loud, bickering children whose only goal in life is to hurt one another and to hurt their mother, sometimes you need chocolate milk.

I idled in the drive-through, with Kiddo#3 alternately huffing and yelling at me because I hadn’t ordered what he wanted, when I very clearly had ordered it, while the McDonalds cashier opened the window and began handing me Happy Meal boxes.

I said to her, “We had better well be happy after all this.”  It came out in those dangerously low tones, like Bruce Banner saying, “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

And it was while we sat in a parking space so I could hand out Meals Of Great Happiness with the kids arguing about everything they could think of and some things they couldn’t, that I felt the words forming in my head, I bought you these meals so you’d be happy, so you’d better be {deleted} ecstatic —

Of course I didn’t say it. But I’ve been there before: We drove all the way here to have fun — now get in there and have fun, dammit! It’s the frustration, the worn-to-a-nubness of dealing with construction on I-95…one child who calls me a thief and a liar and any other evil thing he can think of…one child who reacts with anger to everything I do — including ordering the Happy Meal he wanted…doctor appointments in different cities on the same day…

It’s not their fault that some days there’s nothing left, and the only happiness I can give them comes with a plastic toy and a small fries.

We ate in the doctor’s waiting area. The receptionist said, “Oh, Happy Meals!”  I said, “I got one too.”

I drank my chocolate milk and I got a Farmer Smurf toy with my cheeseburger. I’m not sure if it made me happy, but I’m also not sure how much happiness I can expect for $3.50.


  1. MNdragonlady

    I have _so_ been there. Glad to hear I’m not the only one with a child who insists I didn’t order what he wanted when, in fact, I did. Yours isn’t five, is he? I’m praying it’s just a phase. Is chocolate milk better than diet soda? Because I may need to change my order occasionally if so. 🙂

    Hope today is happier!

    1. philangelus

      I’ve been on a calcium kick lately, and normally I”m not a chocolate lover. But I figured, if I was getting a Happy Meal, I couldn’t very well order a coffee with it, and I don’t like soda. And yeah, chocolate milk did make me feel like a kid for a bit. 🙂 Kiddo#3 is seven, and he’s got that knee-jerk reaction thing down to an art. “Mom, can I watch TV?” “Sure.” “YOU NEVER LET ME DO ANYTHING!!!! Can you help me set up Clone Wars?”

      1. MNdragonlady

        Glad to hear the chocolate milk helped a little.

        And now, I’m thinking maybe the knee-jerk reaction thing is based on birth-order. Mine is also #3. Hmmm…