Mama Said There'll Be Days Like This

You know when you just have one of "those days"? I feel like I say that almost daily, but then when you actually do have one of "those days," you realize that the other ones really weren't that bad. 

Well, as you can probably guess, today was one of "those days." My day actually started, impressively well. By boys were at school on time, and I was feeling quite proud. I attended a ladies' Bible study on the military base where I live, and it was a fabulous time of singing, food, and fellowship. I even told a fellow Bible study friend, "That was such a great lesson today!" I guess those were my famous last words, or the beginning of the end for my practically perfect in every way, day. 

I am always procrastinating on my kids' doctors appointments. I honestly had not remembered that my son had his 4 year old check-up due, until last week when his teacher asked if that is why he missed a day of school. (No, it was because I was so late to get him to school, that I just sent him along with his sister to the childcare for my Bible study!) 

Today, after pre-school, I thought, "Today will be a great day to go get that dreaded round of shots done." As I pulled up to the hospital, my little one asked me if he was going to see the doctor today. My daughter, 2, insisted we were there for her, since she apparently likes the doctor's office. I am a terrible liar, so I had to fess up, that we were going for my son. 

It was quite freezing out today, so of course my son didn't want to wear his coat. I lost that battle. I felt like a superwoman swinging my heavy double stroller out of the car and clicking it into place. After wrangling the two kiddos into the stroller, and getting them settled, I ran (literally) up to the winding path leading to the hospital. I nearly knocked over soldiers in training with their BC goggles and crutches, but I think they could see I was a mom on a mission. I spotted a few more targets trying to figure out what elevator to take. I am usually quite helpful in these scenarios, however, I knew I had to scurry past them, in order to get my bulky stroller onto the elevator first. The gaggle of barely wounded almost soldiers, joined me. We chatted about being in the field in the freezing cold. It did not sound like fun. 

Exiting to the 6th floor, I was proud to have a keen sense of direction, that this way was the immunization clinic. (I have a poor sense of direction, and sometimes I am totally backwards in where I think something should be.)  

As I approached the place where I would normally check in, I was halted by a sign saying, "Immunization/Allergy Clinic closed for lunch, 1200-1300." Of course it is! If I would have stopped to think about this, I probably would have known this simple, but vital fact. Seeing that I still had 40 minutes to wait until it was open, I decided to just retreat back to the car for a plan bravo. The kids were already getting squirmy. And hungry.

Being the irrationally brave woman that I am, I pulled up to the commissary, knowing that I at least needed to buy some apples to have a healthy snack at the ready for later in the afternoon. "No, fruit snacks do not count as having eaten real fruit!" I often instruct them as they beg for food. 

Upon hoisting up my little ones into the car shaped grocery cart, the battle had already begun, as they insisted to not wear their little safety straps. And then trying to maneuver those beasts, is like trying to drive a semi-truck in a corn maze. It was quite embarrassing as the tires screeched around every corner, and my arms burned as I pushed hard on one side of the cart. Sure, I could have been going slow enough where this wouldn't be such a big deal, but when you have a ticking time bomb of good behavior, you try to beat the buzzer, frantically zipping through the aisles before total meltdown begins. And, it was eminent, I could feel it. 

Kids in carts, of course, try to toss into the buggy any child marketed item they spy with their little eyes.  Whether it's a Fruity Tooty cereal with Toots McGee the clown (fear not, for he is only a fictional character) or Zippy's Rainbow Flavored Lollipops, dipped in candy clouds, kids zone in on these products. Right at their level, they spotted those, oh so tempting juice boxes with the character heads on them. Proudly, I had not bought one of these in about 4 years. So, it was time for a splurge, why not? At $2 a pop, and 3 kids, that's $6 on three drinks! Way too much. Yes, at the time, it was worth them being distracted, even for a moment.

I see that you have noticed that I had only two kids with me. Well, funny you should mention it. I initially had only two uniquely  headed juices, but upon introspection, I turned that fat cart around. It wasn't worth my oldest son to 1) Feel left out of the special juice box character head that only happens every 4 years treat, and 2) I knew it wouldn't be worth hearing the moans later when he would be lamenting the fact that he did not get one too.

Don't worry, I don't always make life fair. Just come to my house at any gift giving holiday, and you will see that they have a few random thrift store treasures that could not be equalized, so just one of them gets it. Ie, a huge stuffed, soft and cuddly lion for Valentines Day was all Hank the Tank.

Where was I? Oh yes, juice boxes. Eventually, while roaming through the isles, my time of sanity was fading away like the sands of time in an hour glass. And these are the days of our lives.

I had to cut short the produce section meandering. Of course, that's the area where I was actually supposed to shop. After snatching a couple bags of apples, I headed towards the check out. At commissaries around this grand nation, you wind in and out of a maze filled with temptations like cookies, holiday candy, and all the empty calories that your little heart could desire. And your mid- section wants to scream and run away from the candy rooted in pure evil. 

Like cattle headed towards the slaughter, I made my way to the front of the line. In my huge buggy and squeaky wheel, I looked as ridiculous as I felt, I have no doubt. Not a kind glance received, at this point, sorry to say! 

The check out lady was not too thrilled to see us arrive either. I quickly shoved the rubber ducky and mesh bag filled with baby sized shampoo and lotion, where my kids had nearly destroyed the tag, off to the side. This was only a distraction item. If it can still scan, it's good to go, right?! 

I handed over my 3 measly coupons, and paid $150 for 2 bags of apples... and a few items that I never knew I always wanted. Then, we headed to the car. I soon realized I had only a quarter to tip the bagger. Sorry bagger number 6! I will always remember you, and find you and pay you one day. One day, when I don't have two precious distractions with me. 

Fast forward to later in the afternoon, when I went to pick up my son and his friend from school. My 4 year old was freed from the bonds of his carseat, and instructed to stay by me as I got his sister out. He zipped across the cul de sac street and back, and thankfully the driver of an incoming mini van noticed his shenanigans enough to slow down for him to cross back safely.

I was now even more determined to have both kiddos in my double stroller, with the little one's crazy behaviors. He was having none of it. Kicking and screaming all the way, with biting attempts and everything, (him not me), I had to steer my stroller with one hand and hold my son like a football in the other arm, as his legs were pedaling in the air like he was racing in the Tour de France. And screaming. Did I mention the screaming? It wasn't a pretty sight, I tell you. I'm sure the moms who witnessed this mobile tantrum would agree. Hello to you, passersby mommies. Yes, that was embarrassing!!! 

I would go on, but I think you get the picture. Being on a military instillation, my neighbor and friend rescued me from my brink of insanity moment, since she heard from her son that the car ride back home was quite an ear ringing experience for all. 

Thank you friend! I could then do my dishes in peace. :) I may or may not have watched the Bachelor on my computer while doing this. It's like junk food.  It feels good going down, then you totally regret it in a few minutes when you feel sick! 

So, that, dear blog reader, and hopefully fellow empathizer, was my story of having one of "those days." I am sure, if you have children and a heartbeat, you can relate. My saying lately is, "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." Parenting highs are sky high, and the lows, are so low that you sometimes can't even pick yourself off the ground. 

I share this to say, you are not alone. We all have our own epic battles we have to fight from time to time, even if many of us are good at putting our game face on with some lipstick, mascara and a forced smile. It's ok to let our guards down, and to be honest with each other.

This doesn't mean that we should sit around and complain that parenting is the pits. But it's nice to share honestly what you are struggling with, whether it's the frustrating 45 minute baby nap, the bed wetting dilemma, or the ever texting teenager. Sure there are the times where you want to just scream and run away, but it's sandwiched in between some pretty precious moments that you will never forget.

My goal, is to really relish in the moments when I can totally savor my kids, and their little quirks, belly laughs, and funny habits. To breathe them in, and love on them, without the distractions of cell phones, and schedules

Sure, the time when you want to pull your hair out, seems like it's just around the corner, but we have access to the One who is so much greater than any of our daily stresses. And, there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if it means that we need to just get away for some "me" time! Or maybe it's getting into His Word, for those ten minutes before everyone is awake. 

With the strength of the Lord, caring friends, helpful family, and lots of coffee, we can get through this. Your village is there, sometimes you just have to ask for someone to join you in your Crazytown village! 

Proverbs 31:10 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 

Psalm 30:8-10
To you, Lord, I called;
    to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
    if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
    Lord, be my help.
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will praise you forever.


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