Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons were good sports at the grand opening of Rock & Brews.
I couldn’t find a babysitter.
It’s happened to everyone – well at least everyone who is a parent with two X chromosomes. At some point, despite your best efforts, your childcare will fail you. And when it happens, it won’t be a low-key day at the office. It will be the day of a big presentation, the morning of an important hearing.
Or in my case, the day I was supposed to interview KISS.
I’d been trying for days to find someone to watch my three-year-old while I met with rock and roll royalty at the newest outpost of their restaurant chain, Rock & Brews
, but no one was available. On the morning of the event, my one last hail Mary option dropped the pass.
There wasn't really a choice. Sure, I could cancel my interview because I'm a mom, but who was I kidding? I'd have to bring her. It's the one thing I have down after three years of this stuff: When in doubt, just push through.
Yet I was cringing all the way. "Uh, that's fine," the 20-ish woman working the door said with a condescending half-laugh, half-sigh when I explained my situation. "I mean, it's fine for this, but we don't really allow kids at the actual events." The event in this case was a luncheon for local veterans and active duty members of the military, celebrating the grand opening of Rocks & Brews' two-month-old Chesterfield location. So, no lunch, but I could still do the media interviews ahead of time. Fine.
I sat my daughter down beside me and was unpacking my notes when a shadow fell across the table. There was Gene Simmons, towering above me. "Uh, Mr. Simmons," I stammered. I'm so sorry. I couldn't find a babysitter..."
He cut me off.
"Don't worry about it," and he reached out to give my daughter a fist bump — and for probably the first time in his life, someone left him hanging on it.
"Do you have a fond childhood food memory?" I asked, trying to play the working journalist.
"Well, we all know what our first food was," he smirked.
Oh my God, he meant milk. I looked down and saw that my daughter, still tired and filled with a healthy stranger danger, had nuzzled her face into my bosom. Then, as if on cue, she screamed. "Ouch! Your bra hurt my eye!"
Mortified, I attempted to hush her when Simmons interrupted. "Does that hurt?" he asked.
"No, her eye is fine," I replied.
"Not her eye. That." I looked down to see that my little girl was sitting beside me with her elbow jabbed into the side of my left breast so far I may as well been in for an annual exam.
"Mr. Simmons," I sighed. "When you're a mom, your body is not your own." What more can you say?
The day was headed straight into disaster territory when the handler whisked him away and Paul Stanley sauntered up. Eyeing my little one, he didn't flinch and didn't shame me. Instead, he chose the seat directly across from her.
"Mr. Stanley, I'm so sorry. This is really embarrassing but I couldn't find a..."
"Don't worry about it," replied the rock god. "It's no problem at all. What's her name?"
"Coretta," I replied.
"Hi Coretta," he cooed, and he took off his large silver ring and tapped it on the table in front of her. "She's what, three?" He was spot-on and completely mesmerized. We chatted about food, the fact that Rock & Brews has a dog menu, gooey butter cake, and pretension in food. And though he answered my questions, he never took his eyes off my little girl.
Who knew the Starchild was an ace babysitter? I certainly didn't, and my fixed smile finally relaxed in the face of his patient attention.
At the end of our brief session, he even left her with a souvenir.
"Coretta, I've got something for you," he said, and then grabbed my notepaper and sketched out a flower. Then another, and another. Before he was rushed away, he'd drawn her a full still life and somehow managed to get this most serious child to crack a smile.
I'll admit I was still reeling from the Gene Simmons bra incident. But I couldn't help but crack one too. Who knew that pushing through, in this case, would yield a personalized drawing for a starstruck three-year-old?
It's not easy being a working mom, and I'm sure it's not always easy for Coretta to get lugged around when I'm on assignment, either. But most days it all works out, even when it involves cribbing childcare from a guy better known for breathing fire and spitting blood.
Yesterday, it all worked just fine.
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A Paul Stanley original, fit for a three year-old.