Today was errand day. I desperately needed to deposit some checks in our account, so all the bills would clear. The bank would definitely be my first stop (remember...this was way before on-line banking!). I also had some mail (we didn't have e-mail either) I needed to send, but we were out of stamps. I guess we would be stopping by the post office too. Michael and Ryan didn't have any milk for their cereal this morning, so the grocery store would be our last stop.
I know this all sounds like pretty mundane stuff, and it is. If I could just hop in the car all by myself, I could probably have accomplished all this in an hour or so, but the circus went where I went. The amount of "kid gear" necessary just to run a few errands was astonishing, not to mention the practical logistics of it all.
Making sure you have the diaper bag and the double stroller is one thing, but I also had all the medical gear I had to carry with me everywhere I went. Christopher had to be hooked up to his feeding tube for the better part of the day. That meant not only did I have to carry Christopher, but I also had to carry this big, awkward, clumsy feeding tube apparatus too. That meant I didn't have any hands left over for Michael and Ryan.
|Ryan, Michael, and Christopher|
First of all, Christopher was a baby. He was unable to sit up on his own much less carry the backpack around. Plus, the backpack was literally 5 times his size, so I could see that it was going to be quite awhile before he would be able to "frolic" about with it. Okay...not the feeding tube's fault, but what was with the constant alarming? It was enough to drive a sane man crazy! The design of the feeding tube required that it remain perfectly upright. Any slight movement from one side to the other, and the thing started to "beep" the most annoying and continuous alarm. It often seemed like it was alarming for no reason at all. I would try to fix the problem, but I couldn't find anything wrong with it. Sometimes just turning it off and then on again would do the trick. I began to think this machine was out to get me.
|Feeding tube machine and backpack|
Did I mention that I really had to weigh out in my mind how important these errands really were? Maybe there really was enough money in that account to cover the bills after all. Maybe the letters could wait, and ya know cereal is not that bad without milk. It still tastes good. It's just a little dry. That's all. On more days than not, the "to do" list would turn into the "to don't" list!
That's when my poor husband would get the meltdown call. He always seemed to know just when he needed to run by the bank or stop at the post office. His next question...what do we need at the store?
On the days that I was feeling particularly brave I would load up the van with kids and gear, and off we would go. The first stop was the bank. This was an easy one because of that amazing thing they invented just for moms with a van full of kids. Whoever invented the drive-thru window was an absolute genius. I could cross the bank off my list.
Next stop...the post office. Why haven't they heard about drive-thru windows? We have to go in, but it won't take long. Should I bother with the stroller or not. It's raining (in Oregon it does that a lot!), so grab the kids and run in. There is a big logistics problem though. I have 2 hands and three kids. I held Christopher and his feeding tube backpack on one side, and Ryan (so he will stop crying) on the other. Michael...well, he was running free. I decided to do what mom's from the beginning of time have done to get their children to comply. I bribed him with ice cream. I told him that if he stayed right by mommy and was my "little helper," then we would get ice cream when we were all done. It worked. He was falling over himself trying to earn his treat. Let's just say desperate times call for desperate measures. Besides, when you have resorted to referring to yourself in the 3rd person, you know you've already lost your mind a little. I checked the post office off my list, and drove to the grocery store.
The great part about grocery stores are that they have carts. I could fit both Christopher and Ryan in the grocery cart, and still have two hands leftover to shop with and corral Michael. Still, there was one problem. Where do you put the groceries? The cart was already full of kids. I became a master at stacking and organizing the food around the kids. I would even have Michael carry things he liked in order to keep his hands busy. Just a quick trip through the checkout line, and we would be on our way. I drew a line through "go to the grocery store" on my list.
The kids were tired and ready for their naps. I was tired and ready for their naps too. We started for home, but we had to make one more stop first...for ice cream. This was an easy one. All I had to do was go through the drive-thru. What wasn't easy was keeping the car clean with two toddlers licking soft, melting ice cream off crumbling cones. Diaper wipes were tailor made for just such a job.
After putting the kids down for their naps, unloading the car, and unpacking the groceries I flopped down on the couch with a cup of coffee and a snack. It's quiet time. It's mommy time. Then it flashed through my mind that I forgotten to get the milk at the store. Oh well, cereal is not that bad without milk.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can pray like this: