On Saturday night, we left Grandpa's house and headed back up to my parents' house.
We went to church with them on Sunday and had a big family dinner that afternoon.
The following morning, my mom had to go to a funeral and I met up with a couple of friends from college at Arctic Circle, where we let our kids play in the play place for an hour or so while we chatted.
I just took Maxwell and Benson, so Sam had some down time at my parents' with the older boys, and he put them to work cleaning up the whole house.
My sister came around lunchtime, and we sat around with my mom having a great discussion while our kids soaked in the rest of their time together. After her family left, Sam and I dropped off our rental van and came back to pack, pack, pack.
It is always such a big task!
My parents dropped us off at the airport bright and early on Tuesday morning. Both flights went really well!
As seen in the picture above, we had a nice view of the Mississippi River as we neared Memphis, and something about seeing that wide swath of water cutting through forests and farmland made my heart swell with gratitude. It had been a fantastic vacation, but it was going to feel so good to be home.
We stepped off the airplane in Memphis to be met by a big set up of tarps and garbage cans catching water leaking through the dilapidated airport roof.
We picked up our luggage and were stopped by a man who wanted to comment on all our boys and talk to us about his daughter and whether she would have any more kids and tell us about someone he once worked with who had ten kids, ages 2-20.
Sam and I smiled and nodded politely and tried to converse reasonably well while corralling all our boys and grabbing our zillion pieces of luggage off the conveyor belt.
And then we walked outside to hear sirens blaring nearby.
Yep--that's all Memphis. Filled with crime, run-down buildings everywhere, and constant friendly conversations with strangers.
And I have come to love it so much.
We loaded all the luggage and kids into the van, and then disaster hit--
it wouldn't start.
We hadn't left lights on or anything, but 2 weeks sitting in the cold had killed our battery.
After trying for several minutes to get the car going, it became clear that it wasn't going to start without extra help. My heart sank like a rock.
We said a prayer together, and set out to find a solution to our problem.
And I'm sure you can imagine the chaos that ensued.
Kids asking rapid-fire questions, exhausted little ones crying after traveling all day, Sam and I trying to quiet people down long enough to discuss our options, me calling our insurance roadside assistance and getting a case started, learning that there was a 90-minute estimated wait time, Sam suggesting I take the youngest three boys home in an Uber while he waited with the older boys for the roadside assistance, me running back to the airport to talk to an Uber driver, unloading car seats and the stroller, calming frustrated boys, and finally parting ways and heading back to the airport with Lincoln, Maxwell, and Benson to start the process of getting an Uber for us all.
No one else had been in sight in the parking lot during all this hullaballoo.
But, just as I was headed back to the airport with the mountain of car seats and boys,
I saw a vehicle with flashing lights about 50 yards away.
I didn't care if I looked like a crazy lady--I was desperate, so I started frantically waving my arms back and forth, and the vehicle drove toward me.
I'm not sure what my intent was, exactly--probably to ask if the driver knew of any way for us to get a jump. I started to explain our predicament when she pulled up next to me, and she immediately said,
"Yes! I can give you a jump!"
Our situation had just been greatly simplified, and relief flooded over me.
As she pulled her vehicle up to our van, I saw the words "Airport Concierge" printed on it, with a list of options including "jump start" beneath it.
Apparently she was here for this exact purpose--and it was a free service!
Within just a couple of minutes our car was running and we loaded everyone and everything back up and headed home with prayers of gratitude and huge, relieved smiles on faces.
Our trip had started with a little miracle
and ended with a little miracle.
We happily drove home, ever increasingly aware of our Heavenly Father's love and care for His children if we will but turn to Him.