Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Changed Criteria

Totally unrelated picture of my boys at the zoo,
but I think it's pretty cool that the gorilla is made completely out of recycled tires.

With five little boys at home,
some days I feel like things are pretty smooth sailing.
Today was not one of those days.

The kids are out of school all week for Thanksgiving, so I scheduled check-ups for Talmage and Wesley with the pediatrician for this morning. The mother of all colds descended upon our household a week ago, so we've been coughing and sniffling up a storm and my kids' faces have constantly been a very goopy sight to behold.
So I didn't feel like I could ask anyone to watch any of the kids while I took the oldest two,
not to mention the fact that a lot of my friends are out of town for Thanksgiving.

The thought of five little ones, plus me and the doctor, crammed into one tiny exam room wasn't exactly thrilling, but I put a brave face on and hoped for the best.

And then I realized.

I'll spare you the details of why, but our minivan was parked in a parking lot a couple of miles from our house.
I didn't have a car and my chances of getting a ride were slim to none
(how many people do you know with SIX extra seats and carseats in their car??).
Undeterred, I decided we would ride bikes to the pediatrician's office.
It's only about 2 miles away and there are sidewalks almost the entire way, so it would be fine.

Except that I need to fix a part of my bike and the baby seat doesn't fit on Sam's bike.
So I decided I would walk, pulling Lincoln, Maxwell, and Benson in the wagon, and Talmage and Wesley would ride their bikes.
It's only a couple of miles--no big deal, right?

We were cutting it close on time, so I quickly threw my hair into a ponytail, jammed kids into coats and hats, pumped up a bike tire, and set off at somewhat of a jog (as much of a jog as I could manage while pulling a heavily loaded wagon behind me), trying to keep up with the boys on their bikes.
About fifty yards into our journey I realized that I really should have brought a water bottle.
With my hacking cough and the other grossness of a bad cold,
I was struggling to breathe.
But I definitely wasn't turning back, so onward we went, coughing and wheezing all the way.

As we went along an incredibly busy road with cars zooming past us close enough to touch (though we were on the sidewalk),
I was pretty optimistic (ha!), thinking things like,
"There is NO WAY I can make it all the way there pulling these kids while hacking up a storm."
"We are going to be so late."
"I hope no one we know drives past."
(This is Memphis, ya know, and while there is plenty of foot traffic it is generally more the just-out-of-jail type than the mom-with-5-kids type, so I was quite a spectacle...)
"What if that guy right there suddenly just shoots us all?"
"I didn't realize how many hills this road had!!!"
"I am going to die if I don't get a drink RIGHT NOW."
(Spoiler: I didn't die.)

About 30 minutes into our journey we were still a couple of blocks away and it was time for us to be at the doctor.
I stopped the kids and called the pediatrician.
"Good morning! My kids have an appointment and we had some car trouble. I'm almost there, but I'm going to be 10-15 minutes late..."
(No car=car trouble, right?)
"Okay, let me just check and make sure that's okay," the receptionist told me.

"Okay??? Okay?? PLEASE don't turn me away after all this!" I thought with desperation.
Thankfully she came back on the line and said it would be fine and we made it the last few blocks to the pediatrician.

As I stood in line to check in my body began shaking, and I started to feel really faint and nauseous.
"I'm going to throw up!" I thought with horror.
I imagined myself dashing out the door and vomiting in the bushes and then forced the feeling away as I tried to breathe deeply and calmly.
Finally I got everyone checked in (boys with amazing helmet and hat hair)
and sat down to catch my breath and continue working on not throwing up.

The nurse called us back, we stuffed everyone into the exam room, they were all relatively calm (with the exception of a screaming fit when Maxwell fell and hit his chin on the windowsill), I got a drink, and we finally made it home.

As I walked through the door, I remembered three Hawaiian sisters I knew in college.
They lived one floor below me and they became pretty good friends.
One day I was walking up to campus in a snowstorm and they saw me and pulled over to offer me a ride.
I explained to them that I liked to walk in snowstorms because it felt good to tell myself,
"I'm going to get there, and I'm going to get there HAPPY!"

Today when I got home I just thought to myself,
"Well, nobody died and nobody cried. Success."

My criteria for success has DEFINITELY changed.
But maybe not that much.

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