Three Kids Four and Under and a Broken Van

It goes something like this: I am pulling out of the parking lot a few days ago and the van starts to shudder and shake. My oldest yells, “Did we run out of gas?!” That would be a negative. Unfortunately, the van has developed some new dysfunction. So, my husband knows of this transmission shop that’s really good, but it’s really far away. Like over an hour, far away. I’m not super happy about this, but I load the kids up, all our stuff up, drive the hour plus, and drop it off at the shop.

I don’t know how many of you reading this have kids, but this in and of itself is a lot of work, just getting three small children out of the house, fed, wearing pants, AND shoes, with toys, snack, extra diapers in case we are out all day, etc. The list goes on. It’s almost a miracle everytime we get it all together. We get to the shop, I unload the kids, and they tell me they can look at it by 10AM the next day. Fantastic. Do I have a choice? I tell them I guess I will need a rental. I’m in luck, they tell me…they have a ‘special deal’ with Enterprise right down the street. I load all the kids back into the van. They have someone drive with me down to Enterprise (a lady who obviously doesn’t have kids).

Then, it’s the whole drill again, unload three kids, unload the double stroller, unload everything I can squeeze into the double stroller so this lady can take the van back to the shop. The boys try to woo her with stories (not impressed), act cute (not impressed), show off (“I’m FOUR!!”…not impressed) She looks irritated that this is taking so much time. All the while, I am huffing stuff back and forth. The rental is still not ready. I unbuckle and unlatch three car seats, grab the diaper bag, try to snag all toys within sight to avoid meltdowns on the trip home (“Where’s my hammer?!”). I get everything inside. The lady stops texting her friend, “Done?” Yup, I’m done. Already. 🙂 Then, we get to sit inside the place while we wait for the rental to get there. Me, the kids, and my mountain of things.

I have the inevitable conversation with a guy sitting in the lobby, also waiting. I feel like I’ve had it a million times.

“Got the whole crew, huh?” (Well, I couldn’t leave them at home!”)

“How old are they?” (I’ll bet you are gonna guess!)

“I have a (friend/sister/daughter) who has two kids and she can’t even handle that. I keep telling her she needs to be done!” (Oh, how supportive of you. Why don’t you offer to babysit one night?)

“You’ve got your hands full, there!” (Yes, thanks for noticing!)

I’m really not snide, I love talking to people. It just feels like people are on repeat sometimes. I did get a nice “Wow, they are so well behaved!” He leaves, and the van finally shows up. The Enterprise guy tells me that he can’t buckle them in, but he helps me load the seats in the car anyway. At last, some help! He was actually super kind to me. It takes an eternity to latch in 3 seats. No joke. It’s nuts. I had promised the kids I would take them across the street before I ever knew they weren’t going to look at the car right away. So, we did all this to drive across the street and unload.  Sheer insanity.

We hang for awhile, eat lunch, make the long trek home. When I get home, I realize I have about an hour before I have to leave again. I march the kids to their room for quiet time. Baby girl will not sleep of course, so we fold laundry, put away clothes, clean up the kitchen, try to pump a bottle to no avail, and go bring the boys out to get ready (not really restful, but whatever!). The Toolman has a mini meltdown over not wanting to wear shoes. Yes, he needed the nap he didn’t get to take! I finally persuade him. We load up into the van again, this time with jammies, overnight stuff, jackets, etc. We drive to drop off library books, grab food, and head to my uncle’s house to drop the kids off.

I nurse baby girl, kiss the kids, run out the door, and drive to Casa Grande for our foster care class. My husband is already working there so I have to meet him. It’s actually a great time. The rental’s stereo rocks so I crank it. The drive is smooth, and peacefully quiet. It’s so nice. It’s almost a 2 hour trip. This is the first time all day I could think/pray/relax. I get there, race to pick up my husband, haul tail to class, and we get there with 5 minutes to spare. I go to the bathroom (I’ve needed to go for almost 3 hours but I haven’t had a second to breathe!) and make it back just in time for class to start.

We spend three hours talking about discipline methods I already use in my home. By the time it’s over, I feel like I’m going to fall asleep. We stop for food, then gas. In the parking lot of the gas station, I start pouring my guts about all sorts of things.  These trips to foster care classes have been my husband and my ‘alone time’…and I missed it today. We just stood there and talked. I didn’t want to drive home alone. I just missed him. No date nights for us, just homework, paperwork, classes, and this precious drive time. Finally, we had to leave. I drank my coffee on the drive home (1 hour 45 minutes), picked up my husband’s car, drove to pick up the kids and made it home around 11:30 I think. Then, my late night coffee came back to bite me and baby girl stayed up until 2 AM. This morning started at 7AM.

Seriously, my life is nuts right now.

To top it off, today was even crazier, and we have class again tomorrow.

Isaiah 40:31

New International Version (NIV)

1 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Lord, renew my strength.  It’s going to be a long, long week.
 NOTE: This post was originally published February 2012. I love reading it because it reminds me of what life was like in this moment in time. 
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