A little bit of time in someone else's shoes....

I'm on the downhill slope of 8 days of staying with 2 year old Daniel, while his parents take their annual trip to Florida. 3 1/2 year old Jae Beth graduated to make the trip with them, but Daniel is not quite ready for it. So I'm here.

Day 6 - I called in reinforcements. Miss Addie, Daniel's 7 year old cousin came to stay with us today. After getting Daniel up, dressed, changed, fed, changed again, and loaded into our still-pretty-new minivan, I dropped him off at daycare. Told them I'd be back at 12 noon to pick him up, so we wouldn't disturb the other toddlers who would be napping. Jumped back in the minivan, drove through a Starbucks and ordered the biggest coffee they had, with a slice of banana walnut bread to go. Off to cross the metroplex, and pick up Miss Addie.

Pull into Addie's driveway, talk with her mama for just a few minutes or maybe 20. Jump back into the minivan, and pull out. See from the GPS that the scheduled arrival time is 15 minutes after I told the daycare people I'd be there. Have to push it the entire way, while listening to Veggie Tales and Popcorn Soup and Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, with Miss Addie narrating life to me from the bakc seat, while she eats the other half of my banana walnut bread. Her skinny little body can better afford the calories.

Get to the daycare, where we are indeed 12 minutes late, and they are gracious, and Daniel spies his oh-so-fun cousin, starts immediately shrieking with glee over the new addition to our club. We load up the minivan, pull through McDonalds where I attempt to order happy meals and milk and such. Home to nap for some, not for others, while I scurry around trying to finish up a few projects for vacationing Daddy and Mama, while Daniel naps and Addie watches a movie.

He's awake - we load up again, this time with sunscreen and bug spray and snacks and towels and flip flops, and head out for the water pad.

But we need gas. So I pull into the gas station, and realize Miss Addie has full sun beating down on her. I get out of my door, pop the gas cap, then hit the auto slide for Addie's door. It opens. After I adjust the sunscreen visor thingy we normally don't use, I get out to pump gas, but the door is open, in the way. So I hit the cool button that will close the door and it sounds an angry sound at me to say, 'no, can't close. Something is amiss.' I realize the gas cap door is sticking out, halfway ajar, and if the door were to close it would rip off the little gas cap door. So it wont. Close, that is. Which means we can't leave the gas station, and I haven't even gotten gas yet. And I have two small children in the car, who can't just sit there in the hot sun.

Great. Get out the manual for the still-new car I don't completely know how to operate. Read it, no help. Call my husband who doesn't answer. Look around, and realize there is another minivan, same make as mine, pulled up to the pump. Approach said stranger who is coming out of the gas station place, with coffee in tow, and ask her if she happens to own that car. She looks at me suspiciously, perhaps because of the crazed look on my face, and very hesitantly tells me, 'yes'. I ask her if she has, by change, ever opened her gas cap, then her door, then the door won't close because it would rip off the gas cap, and if she has ever done this, does she know what to do about it?

In spite of the look on her face that says she is not at all sure about me, she comes over and looks over my car, at which time my daughter, who happens to also drive the same type minivan, answers her phone on the third attempt, and tells me she has done the same thing, slip my hand behind the door, close the gas cap door, and then the door will close. At which time the stranger lady leaves and head back to her own car, as I'm telling her to be sure she never does this because it's a pain in the rear.

The door to the car closes. I pump the gas, look for my mislaid credit card, close the gas cap door, pull out and realize I have no idea how much my gas was. Never looked. And of course it didn't print a receipt. The two little people in the middle seat are just sitting there, looking at me in the rear mirror and you can tell they've been around awhile because they know not to talk to the crazylady in the driver's seat.

We go to the waterpad, where I may have ended up having to walk, fully dressed, through all the spicots of water to retrieve the 2 year old, and I may have gotten pretty much soaking wet, but I didn't lose the kid, and we came home, and I still had to get them inside, dry them off, feed them, read to them, sing to them, change more diapers, and empty the stuff out of the car.

I may have stopped to think of what a typical parent does on a typical day, and how much more grace i need to extend to our kids who are raising kids.

Good night, nurse! Was it always this hard? Are their days generally like this?

A good reminder that I often judge, when a little bit of time in someone else's shoes would certainly change my perspective. 


Lori said…
What a great post! Actually, I always feel like you give lots of grace, which is just one reason why I love your blog. I feel understood.
Anonymous said…
You are an awesome Grandma! I'm close to your age but still have kids at home and I would give anything if my mom showed half - heck even an quarter of the interest in my kids that you show in your grandkids. You are giving them such a precious gift. Bless you!

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