Two weeks ago, it was the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and I went with Sammy up to Chrissy Fields to join in the celebration.
I packed up Sammy, the stroller, the diaper bag, the blankets, the coats (it’s San Francisco after all – even in May), the sunscreen, snacks, water and toys and headed to the city. There is very little parking down by the bridge and with the expected turn out, it was highly recommended that we take public transportation.
Have you ever taken public transit with a toddler – by yourself? Then had to entertain the toddler in a very public place – all day – by yourself? As the day wore on, I was beginning to think I was a crazy woman for attempting to be there.
To keep a positive spin on the day and to help keep the day enjoyable, I started making note of all the things about the day I was thankful for.
Taking public transportation meant taking both a train and a bus. Unlike the train which is very easy to maneuver with a kid in a stroller, the bus is a different beast.
I am very thankful for my umbrella stroller.
After traveling for almost two hours to get to Chrissy Fields, I was very thankful to see rows and rows of porta-potties.
I was even more thankful that after I decided that I didn’t feel comfortable leaving Sammy sitting in a stroller outside the potty, he listened to me.
I knew that pushing Sammy in his stroller for 6 hours would bore him to tears, so I let him out to play and run around. I am very thankful for the random family we intruded upon when Sammy ran over and started playing with their three-year old.
I am thankful still that the three-year old kept hugging him and her 14-month old sister kissed him and ran off giggling. Kiddie cuteness is adorable and I apparently have a ladies man on my hands.
I decided we should leave the nice family alone and go and explore other parts of the celebration. Further down the field I kept seeing people eating delicious looking corn-on-the-cobs. Second only to cheese, corn is Sammy’s favorite food.
I am thankful that I found the vendor selling them and was able to give Sammy a treat.
He was thankful too. (Look, a real photo! I decided this one was too difficult to draw!)
Around 7pm, Sammy’s usual bedtime, I stopped to nurse him, bundled him up as the wind had quite a chill, and headed off for a walk going against the direction of the wind. I am thankful that he fell asleep.
I decided to make my way to the closest Starbucks to warm up with a cup of coffee. The problem was about 300 people had the same idea. I entered the store and walked through it – although I don’t know how – and witnessed the most ridiculous line. The shop was small, and the line went all the way through it and spilled onto the back patio – but it mingled with the bathroom line. Nobody knew what they were waiting for.
I decided to fight my way out.
Ok, maybe not quite like that! I was thankful to be able to escape, even sans coffee. It was touch and go there for a while.
I headed back to the main celebration and sought out the bathrooms again. Again, worried that I would have to leave my sleeping child outside the stall when I went in, which honestly would probably be fine, but it’s my kid I’m talking about – I discovered the most magical thing. The handicapped porta-potty. A whole row of them.
Seriously, I was ecstatic. Yes, about a toilet. A portable one at that. But still, this had two things going for it. One, it was clean, relatively. And two, THE STROLLER FIT INSIDE. Hallelujah!! Sammy stayed asleep, got sheltered from the wind, and I got to do my business at my own pace without fearing that my pride and joy was being kidnapped while my pants were down. WIN!
Next we went and sought out a good spot to view the fireworks from. We picked a good spot on the beach opposite the bridge with a good view of the bay to watch the boats. This was Sammy’s first time on a beach, and I think with sand in general. He proceeded to throw himself face down onto it and make a sand angel.
I am thankful the sand was dry and easy to wipe off.
Hands down, the best part of the day was the fireworks celebration. With a combination of fireworks and search lights roaming the clouds like lasers at a concert, it was a stunning spectacle. I am thankful that I was able to share such an awesome sight with my son.
(The photo I took is of the opening display – a cascade of fireworks falling off the bridge like a waterfall)
Leaving the celebration was a challenge. About 15,000 people (my guess) tried to leave at the same time and about 7,000 of us tried to take a bus. My bus. The one I had planned to take. Sammy and I followed the masses directly from the beach over to the bus stop and joined a line that was already two city blocks long.
Due to the nippy air and the strange situation, Sammy stayed awake the whole time even though it was two hours past his bedtime. I am sooo thankful that he was calm, quiet and still for the entire hour that we waited.
We finally managed to board the bus, although it was packed and standing room only. Armed with a stroller over my shoulder, the diaper bag, my kid in my arms wrapped in his blanket, I had no idea how I was going to be able to stand up and hold on for the 20-minute journey. I am incredibly thankful to the wonderful gentlemen who gave up his seat for us. His generosity will be paid forward.
I am thankful that we made it to the train station just in time to catch the last train. Sammy, crazy kid, was still awake even though it was now midnight, but he wasn’t complaining. Still very, very thankful for that! He flirted with every woman on the train and was excited by the adventure. I wish I could have had his enthusiasm!
We made it home at 1:30 in the morning. It was a loooooong day, but I have many memories – almost all positive – that I will never forget. It was absolutely worth it.
(Taken on the train on the way home. We were both far too awake for the late hour.)
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