- Squeeze in a gym workout.
- Get everyone dressed and ready for a family baby shower.
- Pick up balloons for party.
- Load car with gifts, party wares and food.
- Drive to LA – a 45-mile trek – and pray rain and traffic wouldn’t slow us down.
We got this, I thought.
I’m used to the three-kid juggle and Southern California freeway drama. I had been planning for the shower for weeks, so the bags of goods were neatly packed in a corner. And we were ready with time to spare, knowing our need to get an early start.
But 10 years of parenthood has taught me something. Even the best plans can be derailed, quickly.
And so it unfolded…
The youngest child was so excited about the party; she wanted to help with everything. She started moving my organized piles throughout the house. She angered when we told her “no.” She danced about yelled, “When are we leaving? When are we leaving? When are we LEAVING?”
Meanwhile, my middle child woke up feeling a little “off.” Just minutes before we got in the car, he threw up. Had to call in grandparent reinforcements, make an unscheduled drop-off and roll with it.
Just as we pulled up to the grandparents, the poor kid threw up again. Thank God we had a bowl.
Still, we were doing OK.
Then the rain started. If you’ve ever lived in Southern California and it rains, the freeways come to a halt. Our built-in cushion of time was rapidly diminishing.
The oldest child, through the midst of all of this, started gagging when the middle child got sick, but eventually settled into his own world with electronics. However, as the minutes crept past an hour, he began to whine. “Must stretch legs.” “This is taking forever.” “I think I might be getting carsick.”
My husband joked and said we should have videotaped the past two hours. “This is parenthood. This is what we need to show to your sister and brother-in-law.”
Years ago we would have been thrown off by a sick kid, a tantrum, the whining – and there are certainly days when we hit our edge. But we are getting better at knowing we only have so much control. We are raising little people who get sick, get moody, get tired, and get crazy. We have to be flexible. This is life, and it often laughs at my neatly written plans. It laughs pretty stinking hard.