Tuesday, April 29, 2008

5 days in a row

I remember when I had a 21 month old boy and a new baby boy, and I refused to go anywhere with them by myself. It seemed too difficult to take 2 babies anywhere all alone. When we added number 3 only 20 months later, I finally decided it was never gonna get any easier and began taking them on "outings" to the grocery store, La Leche League meetings, parks, etc. I was right, by the way. It hasn't really gotten any easier, but I don't think it's gotten much tougher either.

This week, I had to arrive at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education parking deck early enough to make it inside with all five children by 8 o'clock AM. All "tubbed and scrubbed and adequately fed" (any Mary Poppins fans out there?) was not really as difficult as I had anticipated. The toughest part after the first day was trying to get the older two signed in and get the rest back out to the van in time that we could get out of there before the meter went past 30 minutes and the rate went from fifty cents to two dollars.

The inevitable happened...twice, get that, twice I spilled my coffee all over the baby in the stroller. Three times, the 3 and 6 year old just had to go potty. Once, I made it back to the van and was certain that I would make it out of there on time. I backed out of my spot, wound my way around the inside of the parking deck (which is incredibly longer upon exiting than while parking), and reached the exit booth only to find a sign that read "Lumpkin exit closed. Please use Sanford exit" (which I had just driven past to get to the Lumpkin Street exit). I backed out, went back up into the parking deck, because that's how ya gotta do it, and wound my way back down to the Sanford exit to find another sign that read: "Sanford exit closed. Please use Lumpkin exit." No one was in the booth at all, and there had at least been a person in the other booth. I backed out and continued around to the Lumpkin exit which was still closed. I calmly got out of my van and trotted right up to the booth and knocked on the glass. Of course, because customer service is highly lacking around here anymore, I was met with a glare. The obviously underpaid attendant slid back the glass and said with her mouth "Can I help you?." Her body language said something more like "You got a problem lady?"

I explained still calmly that I just wanted to get out of the daggum parking deck and they had both exits closed. Her eyes rolled, and she radioed the other booth with this tone that said, "Yeah, right." Low and behold, no one answered. I waited a while for her to get someone on the radio, and she told me to go back around to the other exit and someone would be there soon. Now my eyes rolled. I know it's a nasty habit, but it still lingers from my pre-teenage days (I think you may still be able to see the handprint my mom added to my profile, also), and every now and then it surfaces unexpectedly.

I waved to the other nice lady who had just dropped off her GVA students and asked her to back out and go to the other exit so I could do the same. We wound our way back up and back down the parking deck around to the Sanford exit, where at last we found our escape. I pulled up to the window where another woman who looked like she had just stepped on something slimy said, "two dolla." I rolled my eyes (yeah, I know) and handed her 8 quarters. I told her to be blessed and pulled away.

From there each day, we went to a nearby park which our family loves. The first day I felt especially happy to be there in the cool morning air before anyone else had even arrived. We all walked along slowly, looked at the turtles and ducks in the pond, and laughed and talked. Leisurely, we ambled through the natural habitat zoo, taking our time and enjoying the bears and otters and other critters. Right in the middle of a crazy, irritating, and stressful week, my 3 littlest morsels and I found a sweet little vacation all our own. It's so easy to forget to take time and enjoy a quiet moment with the children when we're always so busy. I think God blessed us with that because he knew we all needed a time of refreshing. So how about you? Have you experienced a season of refreshing right in the middle of a particularly challenging time recently?

Be blessed.

No comments: