Sundays are slow in Sweden, especially when the weather is bad and you can’t go outside. Around our house, which is not in the center city, but is also not in the middle of nowhere, there are two options on cold, dark, November days. We can go to the library or we can go to the butterfly house.
The butterfly house is really cool, a huge heated indoor space in a castle filled with butterflies and fish and frogs. But it is a little far away, and it is so exciting that both NK and I end up screaming of exhaustion/excitement in front of the poisonous frogs.
So this was my Sunday with my kids.
Leave home, aiming for a walk around the nearby lake. Toddler decides to walk the other way, towards the mall.
Standing in a dirty underground passageway, watching a homeless man make some breakfast, I ask the toddler if she wants to ride the train. She says yes. Her baby brother laughs.
We ride the first of many slow, smelly elevators down to the tracks. We take the subway one stop.
We ride an elevator up and walk around an empty modernist square, devoid of all charm. The baby eats a corn puff and takes me keys. NK is fascinated by a sculpture of pillows. Disappointed they are not soft.
We ride two elevators back down.
We ride the subway two stops back up. We walk to the grocery store.
In the store, with really small aisles, we get stuck in a crowd of Asian tourists. We buy emergency food for everyone involved.
I realize outside that I forgot the real reason we came to that store – to buy NK’s special oat-based yogurt.
Back inside the store, back behind the tourists.
Walk home very fast, very tired, the toddler eating yogurt and the baby whining, close to crying, then close to screaming.
Get home. Pick baby up. Toddler falls over with the now unbalanced stroller.
“Was that a little fun?” I ask.
No, it was not.
We eat lunch together. We sleep. The sky darkens.
A Sunday in Sweden.