The following is a true story.
QUINN’S JUNCTION, PARK CITY, Utah — MORNING
A young woman in a minivan pulls into a packed parking lot, frantically searching for a space. A flashing sign reads, “GROUNDBREAKING — THIS WAY.” She sees a spot near the front and runs over the curb trying to squeeze in. Twice. She quickly gets a 7-month-old baby out of the carseat and lays him on the floor of the car to change his diaper and clothes, which he just soiled. She is anxious. Barely glancing up at her two other boys buckled snuggly in their carseats, she begins to bark out orders.
YOUNG WOMAN (ME)
Boston, could you please get unbuckled and hand me the wet wipes? Beckham, try not to step on the baby’s head when you get out!
Where are we?
We are at the ground breaking of the new Park City Studios!
The woman changes the baby with lightening speed, arms and legs subsequently being shoved in a warmer, newer, nicer outfit as old pajamas are tossed on a littered floor. Along with the stinky diaper.
(Spoken in a high-pitched, whiny voice.)
But I want to ride the gondola!
We will, I promise! Right after this.
The woman puts the baby in one arm, diaper bag in the other, and calls for her little ducks to follow. They make their way to a shuttle, then to a big white tent situated in the middle of a barren field with animal feces decorating the ground. With every awkward step, she realizes her red Ivanka Trump heels were a very, very bad idea.
Follow me, kids.
The woman and her boys make their way past a large group of people. They see Denise Ericksen, wife of Greg Ericksen, President of the new Park City Studios. They wave and make their way toward her, stepping over a group of well-dressed men in suits seated in chairs facing the tents.
Hey there! How are you? Come sit here, we can scoot down.
The woman knows Denise is just being polite, as several people in the front row must now move over to accommodate the moving circus that is the woman and her grumpy boys. They all take their seats just as the first speaker-one of the well-dressed men in the folding chairs-stands at the podium.
SPEAKER NUMBER ONE/MC
Thank you all for coming up here on this gorgeous autumn day!
It is a gorgeous autumn day. But cold. And windy. The woman begins to panic as she feels her baby’s hands, now frigid and icy. She hears a small moaning sound. She looks down to see her 2-year-old beginning to lose it. It’s been exactly five minutes. There are one hundred speakers left.
(Said in a quiet, desperate whisper.)
Beckham, please don’t cry! We are going to ride the gondola after this, I promise! Who wants a fruit snack?
I want a granola bar!
The woman begins handing out loud, crinkly, treats. The 4-year-old munches away happily. The 2-year-old begins to cry. The baby also begins to cry. The woman begins to pray. An older woman in the row behind leans forward to ask if she can hold the baby. The younger woman thanks her and passes him back. The 2-year-old keeps crying. The young woman keeps praying. Greg Ericksen points at the young woman and thanks her for driving all the way up from Utah County to be here. The young woman, again, doubts he really means that as she feels everyone’s eyes on them, probably wondering what on earth that young mother was thinking, dragging her kids to a freezing groundbreaking in ridiculous shoes.
TEN HOURS (THIRTY MINUTES) LATER
The woman has left her front row seat and is sitting on the poopy dirt near the side of the tent with her snot-faced, shivering 2-year-old and chocolate-granola-faced 4-year-old in hopes that the distance will mute the screaming. The speakers finish, and walk over to a row of shovels stacked neatly in the freshly turned earth. Hundreds of people crowd around to watch. The woman loses sight of the older woman still holding her baby, and starts to panic.
SPEAKER NUMBER ONE/MC
(Walking past the woman, catching her attention.)
I love screaming children!
I am so, so sorry.
No, seriously, I have six of my own. Don’t even worry about it!
Now the woman is even more worried about it. She sees Greg Ericksen, and he motions for her to follow.
Carmen, come grab a shovel!
No, that’s ok.
The woman grabs a shovel, her two boys, and flips over some dirt. Two-year-old still crying. Cameras flashing. Woman mortified. Finally, Denise locates the baby and hands him to the relieved woman. The ceremony is over. The woman walks over to Greg and tells him congratulations. She says hello to one of the former higher-ups at Raleigh Studios who she met a few months back. Higher-up furrows his brow and says he doesn’t remember the woman. The woman smiles and says she was probably pregnant and a lot heavier. The man suddenly remembers, but says he doesn’t remember her being pregnant. The woman looks down at her three boys and says she’s basically been pregnant for five years and hurries away. As she makes her way back to the shuttle, a sweet old lady smiles at the woman and says hello.
SWEET OLD LADY
Your children are so cute. And aren’t you so glad that after two boys, you finally got your girl?
Sweet old lady points at baby boy number three. Dressed all in blue.
Oh … um … he’s actually a boy. His name is Briggs. And he’s wearing blue. And he’s a boy.
SWEET OLD LADY
Oh, I am so sorry …
The young woman makes her way back to her car, puts two boys in the carseats, one under the nursing cover, and calls to get tickets to the promised gondola ride.
It’s now closed for the season.