Our middle kiddos go to our church’s Parent’s Day Out program on Tuesdays and on Thursdays Eva T and I go so I can work in the nursery. Hear me, people: I have 6 hours every week with only my littlest baby. I get to go to Hobby Lobby without the fear of having to sell my kidney to cover the damages inflicted on the decorative glass aisle by my 2 year old who frolics with the grace of a monster truck. I don’t have to pack hand sanitizer by the gallon because my son thinks it is a sin to not at least try to make pee pee everywhere we go, including porta-pottys which make him simultaneously pee and barf. I can walk into Target unencumbered by the fear that we may be asked to leave because the child I carried past my due date, the one I breastfed as I bled and wept from the pain, may choose to throw herself to the floor kicking and screaming because I won’t let her lick gum off the floor.
In short, it is my vacation. Mine. My precious.
Welp, Monday evening I was awakened at 10pm by a text message. Yes, I go to sleep ridiculously early. The message asked if I was available to sub at the kiddos’ PDO the next day. MY DAY. I had plans! Nothing like a dr.’s appointment or anything pressing, but this was supposed to be my day to get things done in town without
the fear and trembling my children. And I really felt like I needed this chance to decompress.
So I wrestled with the request for about twenty minutes before I finally responded. I grudgingly offered to stay until 11am. And how was my selflessness rewarded? Like this: After I sent my reply I checked on the kiddos and got back into bed around 10:45pm. At 11:15pm Amelia woke up crying so I brought her a cup of water. At 12:45am Connor woke up to go to the bathroom, then came in my room because he had an owie and needed me to fix it. At 1:00am Eva T woke up for a diaper change and a meandering nursing sesh. At 2:30am our valiant dog, Timber, started barking like a maniac, so she and I got up and searched for whatever made her lose her dang mind. We never found it (the source of her outrage or her mind). At 4:00am hobbit baby decided she wanted to eat again. And then my alarm went off at 5:30am to announce it was time to start the day.
I got everyone fed and changed and ready without a hitch. Then I got dressed and discovered a hole in my favorite pair of pants. As I contemplated whether or not I could get away with wearing them one last time, Eva spit up all over them. I changed pants and she spit up on the next pair, too. Now I was out of pants that were clean and loose enough for me to play on the floor with the PDO kiddos without fear of discharging my pant’s top button at an unsuspecting eyeball. I put on a skirt and we left.
My little class had three busy babies, and it was a very full couple of hours. Once I was relieved at 11, I realized I was too worn out from the sleepless night and the morning to do all of the different errands I had planned for the day. So I pared down my list. Instead of going to three different grocery stores to get the very best deals, I would just go to Sprouts. They only had a couple of enticing promos, but they carried everything we needed on my list. And I decided to forgo Hobby Lobby. That craft project would have to wait till next week. And forget thrift store shopping. I was too bleary eyed to mine through the miles of jam packed hangers to find the couple of gems.
Eva and I went into Sprouts on a mission. First stop, buy one get one Nutthins. I like the lightly salted ones and while I really hate to brag, I can totally scarf down half a box in less than 4 minutes. The cracker aisle had 47 different types of Nutthins. They also had TWO end caps full of Nutthins. You now what else they had? A big ol empty space where the lightly salted ones were supposed to be. But wait! There was a huge box full of Nutthins, on the floor. It was open, and beckoned me to come hither. I asked a nearby employee if he would mind if I looked through the box to find the ones I liked. He asked which ones I wanted and when I told him he said, “Oh, sorry. Another lady just went through and bought them all just a few minutes ago. We are now completely sold out.”
I replied by launching the pallet of crackers at his head. Or I said, “Oh. Haha. I bet the original ones are just as good.” (Just so you know, they are not. They are heavily salted. My tongue is now chapped from my 1/2 a box scarf session.) Then we went to get milk. The kind I usually buy was on sale at Sprouts this week! Oh, wait. Every stinking jug expired the next day. So i bought the other kind. The more expensive by $2 kind. Then I walked over to the aisle with paper goods and other household products. This is a very small aisle because Sprouts cares so much about the environment that they would prefer you not buy those types of things from their store. Instead, they would rather you get back in your SUV, crank your A/C at full blast and head across town to Walmart. Still, I knew they carried the loaf pans I needed because I had bought them there several months ago. But I could not find them. So I asked another employee. He left to ask someone else. They both came back with the grave news, “I’m sorry ma’am. We don’t carry those. I think Walmart probably has them.”
I decided it was time to wrap up our grocery trip before I started throwing an adult tantrum. Besides, our next stop was only a few shops down. Chipotle. Yum! I had been dreaming of their guacamole all day. Plus, I decided today I was going to treat myself to a rare indulgence, a big ol Coca Cola. As Eva T and I waited in line at Chipotle, I reflected on the ridiculousness of this day. How nothing had gone right since that text message woke me up the night before. But, the lesson didn’t sink in yet.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. We are out of guacamole.”
“What?? I just..I can’t..what??”
“Will there be anything else?
“Oh, yes. I’d like a large coke.”
Ok, so where I live, people use the word “Coke” to mean soda. So when I say I want a large Coke, they think I am saying, “Give me a large cup so that I may fill it with the drink of my choice.” They are wrong. I am actually saying and also actually meaning, “I want a Coke.”
I took my cup to the soda dispenser and there it was, a little sign that said, “sorry, this spout is out of order”. Only one spout was not working. And it was the one that dispensed Coke.
Seriously? What was happening??
Over the next hour, things continued to go comically wrong everywhere I went. Finally it hit me. A full on watershed, facepalming realization. I should have said, “Yes” with Joy in my heart when asked if I could help by subbing that morning. I was given the opportunity to be a blessing and instead I was stingy with my time, grudging with my portion, and self righteous in my giving. I had complained like a martyr about my night and day, but given like a miser when there was a genuine need.
Now I know some of you will think me naive and a little nuts when I say all of these silly annoyances were promptings from The Lord, but here is the thing: faith is more than a holiday, or a Sunday. God sustains when circumstances and people fail, and daily I am thankful for the Grace given in spite of me.
I then texted my boss to let her know I could head back up there to finish the day out once Eva woke up from her nap. But my proud heart stopped me from explaining why. After the PDO day concluded I gathered my kiddos from their classes and my groceries from my inlaws house and realized I did not have all my groceries. There was a sack missing. The sack with Nutthins and yogurt covered pretzels. My favorite snacks! So we booked it to Sprouts to get our groceries before picking up Zeke from school, got stuck behind slow moving traffic so we were late picking him up…etc
Finally I called my boss and asked her to listen. I shared how her text and everything after were the catalyst for softening my hard heart. I thanked her for being a kinder human than me. And Tuesday finally ended with the Joy I had missed.