Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac

Today went as a normal day does. Breakfast for the kids before my eyes are fully adjusted to the morning light. He still calls them Cocoa Pedals instead of Pebbles. One day he will say it correctly and I hope I notice. His hands are getting bigger, he is getting smarter, my promises have to stick. I vow to take him to the park later to ride his bike. He has been asking all week long.

I make lists of things to do. Sweep up crumbs more often than I blink. Make sure to capture some baby smiles and work at making him laugh. No one wants to get dressed for the day, but eventually we do.

It looks overcast and foggy outside, but not too cold for a park day. Rather humid, but there is a breeze. It's later in the afternoon and the parking lot is full, it's the swimmers. The park is desolate. For a summer day this seems strange to me.

I push Evan on the swing as Zane climbs up on his bike. Just as he rings the bike bell a few times Evan begins to giggle over and over with each gentle push. We are all smiling and enjoying the afternoon. I notice an official tv camera man approaching behind me, he smiles at Evan giggling and then begins to record. I am glowing at my cute baby and so glad to share this happy moment with someone else. A pretty newscaster follows behind with a long, triangular microphone. She asks if I mind answering a few questions. I have no idea what this is about, but I choose to not be bothered that my joyful moment with my baby has been interrupted. Even though I would much rather tickle his belly, I still comply.

"How do you feel about having your children outside with this kind of air quality?" the mic jabs towards my mouth. I continue pushing the swing and glance over to see Zane still riding his bike near me. Icicles replace the hair standing on my arms. Um. What is she talking about? Is my little town on fire and I am the only one unaware?

"Does the smoke in the air bother you? Is he riding his bike slower because of the poor air quality?"
The more she asks the more I piece together I was the only one at the park today for a reason. I didn't get the air quality memo. Or rather, my kids pay a price today for mommy not checking the news.

It only lasted a few moments, but felt like eternity before I could gather the kids, head for the car, then call my mom to check the news for me and fill in the gaps. She reads Dangerous air quality in the bay area due to fires, stay inside. Especially high risk people with lung disease, children, and elderly. Yes, Liz, it's time to pack it up for the day.
So at 5pm Evan was briefly seen on News Channel 5 happily swinging during the segment about the East Bay's poor air quality and how some residents of the town did not feel the need to stay inside. They had also covered people playing tennis in addition to kids at a school where PE was moved inside.

Nice. Who wants to call CPS on me first?