I attempted two or three other ridiculous contortions, trying to find a way to move the bike forward in a straight line, keep Jesse in the trailer, and cuddle him all at the same time.
Finally, I decided that my mother’s ideas deserved a second look. She had raised six children and we were sane (most of the time, anyway), so she couldn’t have been all wrong.
Little Jesse would have to cry if we were ever going to get back to Emma’s.
I hopped on my bike, with Jesse making sounds that could have awakened the dead. I was glad we were in the country and not the city, where someone would have probably called the police to have me arrested for child abuse.
It was, of course, an uphill ride back to Emma’s.
Finally, exhausted, and on the verge of tears myself, we arrived at the end of Emma’s driveway. I could carry him from there.
I dropped the bike to the ground and rushed back to unbuckle him. He was screaming and swinging his arms around wildly. He was very, very angry with me.
Eventually, he calmed down a little, nuzzled his head against my neck, wrapped his little legs tightly around my waist and sobbed. And sobbed.
I thought my heart would break. With his little body shaking, I gently rocked him. I held him tight and spoke soothing words to him.
“It’s okay, honey. Everything’s okay. We’re back. You’re safe. You’re a good boy. That was new for you, wasn’t it? Was it a little scary? You’re okay, sweetie. Shh. Shhh.”
He lifted his little head off my shoulder for a second, and laid it back down. After a moment’s hesitation, he lifted his head again. I looked at him and smiled.
The score was now even. He was happy.
It was time for lunch.