2. At the Barnes and Noble. I've found William's book and we head to the kids' section, to see if there's a Yo Gabba Gabba book. There isn't, but Janey is happy there for a while. A little girl is dancing on the small stage there, and Janey gets up and dances with her. The girl looks happy, but her mother I think quickly sizes up that Janey isn't "right" and calls the girl away. Another mother is reading to her obviously very bright little toddler. As Janey makes her sounds and flaps her hands, she gathers the boy in tight and then leaves the area. I think how they are reacts to Janey like many of us react to being around someone obviously mentally ill. We are too polite to stare or comment, but we don't leave ourselves open to somehow be caught up in the scene. Although we know logically it's not catching, a part of us still acts like it is. It's very isolating. And I can't help but feel hurt.
3. A few minutes later. Janey runs from me, holding a train from the train table. I yell "JANEY! STOP!" but she doesn't. She runs across the store, luckily not out into the connected mall. She hits a dead end, and I catch her, we walk over to put the train back, and I lecture her and tell her we have to leave now because she ran away. She has her "wild" look on, and is laughing a lot. I think how she probably enjoys the few seconds of freedom, the once in a while being out there without holding a grown-up's hand. And how it can't happen. And what that all means.
4. The cashier smiles at Janey as we buy the book, and says "You look very happy today!" I think about how much little things like that mean to me now, how much I appreciate kind words and friendly smiles.
5. We are in the car home. I think "pretty successful trip", my mind editing out the running away, the parents acting protective, all that. The bar is fairly low for successful trips. I think then about my daydream daughter, the one I had mentally before Janey. We would have looked at all the books, talked about what she wanted to read next, bargained over how many she could buy, debated library vs. bookstore. In short, she would have been a little me. And of course, even if Janey wasn't Janey, that was just a dream. But then, as we listened to more music, I thought about how my daydream daughter and I had never listened to music with the intensity Janey does. I told myself I was getting all "Welcome to Holland", and I laughed out loud. And Janey laughed too.