It was a perfect storm of events: My husband was away on business, the baby hadn’t napped or eaten dinner, and Arnold Schwarzenegger was coming to the US Embassy in Moscow to speak. Like almost everyone else I know, I have been a fan of his since childhood, more for his bodybuilding than his gunslinging, I dare say.
I had been asked to take photographs for the event and then not to and then again to and then not to, until I figured I might as well have my camera and the girls with me, in case I could either shoot the event or have them both be in the shot. In the end, neither of these things happened. Well, they sort of didn’t happen.
Thanks to Moscow traffic, the Governor’s motorcade was delayed and the dinnertime hour came and went while we waited for him. Everyone was waiting and practicing for a group shot of California constituents. I even had time to run home from the event and grab some crackers and milk for the girls, while an equally anxious Mom watched them.
By the time the Governor arrived, the baby was loopy, had wet her pants (I still don’t know if it was milk or urine, but it looked to everyone else like the latter), and was being laughed at by all the kids, including my toddler, who, nevertheless, thankfully stayed seated with the rest of the group for the photo.
Seconds after the Governor’s handler told me I should join the group shot instead of take the picture myself (the Governor had his own photographer with him), the Governor strode up and took his place among the group of California constituents. I was, perhaps, on the edge of the shot, on the floor, actually, grabbing the flailing arms and legs of my screaming two year old and thereby giving up the millisecond opportunity of being in a photo with Arnold Schwarzenegger. As a Mom, these are the choices you make. The photographer took two or three shots and then the Governor and his handlers moved on to the stairs and stage below. I was wearing the true colors of motherhood of milk and urine on my dress, as I gathered up our sippy cups, stuffed bear and my camera to join the rest of the awaiting crowd below.
The Governor made kind remarks, thanking us all for our service to the Government and noting how much he enjoyed the fact that most of us remember him as The Terminator, as opposed to The Predator, or other such titles given him over his career. A resounding cheer came from the crowd when he said the words, “I’ll be back!”
In the end, I got to shake Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hand, or rather, he shook mine. I said to him in a barely audible voice, “Gutentag!”
And to think that just an hour or two before, I had been at home, scooping cat litter, chasing down a diaperless baby, and wiping the baby’s urine off the carpet. All in a Mom’s day’s work. Mom Voyage!