It was my first attempt to leave the house on my own... with my two children. A feat I had dreaded as soon as I was pregnant with #2. The thought that kept running through my head: how in the world would I be able to handle two children? It was something I knew would be difficult, something I knew would take lots of strategic planning and teamwork and something I was so not ready to wrap my head around. And then... enter the news of baby #2 having dwarfism. So interesting how all of that changed. I no longer had the head space to worry about how I would handle two children. My fears shifted to much more serious, long-term worries. I remember a close friend asking me after we received our baby's diagnosis, "Are you ready for the day-to-day with two children?" I told her that I hadn't even been able to think about it. And, that I couldn't go there. Not yet.
As we all know, this is a journey for me and my family. I warned you... there would be lots of changes going down... lots of growing, lots of learning, lots to be humble about. I realized before Lilah was even born, that we could get through this and everything else that is thrown our way if we just take it one day at a time. If I try to look at the long-term/big picture, I get overwhelmed. But, I can handle one day. And then, flash-forward a month and I am knee-deep and right in the thick of day-to-day with two. It is a blur... filled with lots of happy moments and some I am glad are behind me! Sleepy eyes and feedings and Mickey Mouse and snacks and dirty diapers. Then push the repeat button every three hours. But leaving the house... all three of us? Hmmm... it seemed my fears were about to be confronted.
So there I go... me and the kiddos. I painstakingly review every detail before I leave the house. Wet wipes... check. Two diaper sizes... check. Car keys... check. Water, blankies, burp cloths, snacks, coats, wallet, sleep sheep, paci, phone... check, check, check. I put Clay in the car seat, run and grab the diaper bag and put that in the car. Then comes Lilah. And off we go to have a joyous morning at our library story time that we participate in every week.
And joyous it was. Clay was an angel as he sat quietly with the other twenty children listening intently to the story. Lilah lay asleep in my arms, so peaceful. Craft time went off without a hitch as Clay followed directions and made he cutest santa hat. We proceeded to pick out our books and we walked hand in hand to the counter to check out our books. The librarian commented on how well-behaved my kiddos were and I politely smiled and said, "I know." It was joyous, our little trip to the library.
Haha... I almost had ya. Yeah, that never happened. I wrote that dreaming about what it would have been like if it had gone well... my first trip out alone. But, it went more like this: We arrive at the library with an insane amount of stuff like we are actually staying the night. A stroller with car seat, big diaper bag, my handbag, a duffel bag of library books, a toddler and a newborn. Everyone keeps a good 20 feet from us as we maneuver through the library. We head over to the book return where you can fit about three books in the slot at the same time. I was thinking about the weeks earlier when I was holding Clay and we were putting the books in together--counting, laughing, smiling. And now, I was shoving the books in as fast as they would go as Lilah realized we stopped moving and decides the library is way too quiet. She starts crying and I try shoving the books in faster as a line forms behind me. Of course. I turn around after every shove-in to see if Clay is still within sight. Finally done. I get Lilah out of the car seat and start the bouncy-walk... the only thing that keeps her cries at a minimum. With a, "Come on Clay," every 5 seconds, me pushing this bus-of-a-stroller and doing a ridiculous bouncy-walk, we make our way to the children's section.
Story time begins and Lilah decides now is not a good time to sleep although I begged to differ. I choose a spot in the back so I could keep the bounce going. I reach into my diaper bag for Lilah's bottle and I pull out one that had to be in there for at least a week. Nice. That will smell good when I dump it in the sink when I get home. I find the right bottle and she doesn't want a bottle. So, she keeps crying and my bounce gets deeper. I am now doing dips. All twenty children all around Clay's age of two, sit and listen to the story as Clay proceeds to grab my skirt and pretends that together, we are a human bell as he shouts,"Ding, ding, ding!" I grab him with my one free hand as he falls to a noodle on the floor pitchin' a fit on the way down. Grandma Mary, the story time leader, is saying her shhhhhhhh's
to all the kids... I mean to my kid. Since Clay is already on the floor, he thinks it would be fun to rub his head all along the carpet similar to that of a dog trying to itch an unreachable itchy spot. Oh joy.
At craft time, we spent a record 3 minutes on the santa hat. And when I say we... I mean me. I did the craft quickly to get us out the door and to prevent any further embarrassment. Clay still managed to lick the glue stick in the 3 minutes we were at the craft table. And, since I was hurrying, I didn't follow directions and the hat was way too small to fit on Clay's head. Oh well. Off to check out our books. I put Lilah in her car seat which she loudly protests as I am putting her straps on. Her protests turn into an all-out wail and the librarian checking out our books gets really uncomfortable. She says, "Oh no! Get her out. She hates that." I reply, "Yes, I know... but I have to strap her into her car seat. We are going out to the car and it's raining." She continues, "Let me hold her. She is so mad." And I smile, grab my books and move my caravan to the door.
I get home and Corey says, "How did it go?" "We survived," I said. And survive we did. And tomorrow, we will pack up, head to the library and do it all over again. And one of these times, it will get easier. That... or we will be uninvited to story time.
Crazy as it sounds, I thought I would give it another go. Feeling pretty good, I had the optimistic attitude of, "I got this... the initial outing is behind us and now I can do it." So, I took the kids to a store where I wanted to pick up some more toys for Clay's birthday party. It went well. I was pleased. As we leave the store, I am carrying Lilah in my arms and pushing the cart to our car which is parked right out front. As I go to put Lilah in the car first, Clay takes over the cart and pushes it off the curb where it proceeds to fall on him knocking him and the contents of the cart into a mud puddle. I throw open the passenger car door and lay Lilah down on the seat. I go back, pick up Clay and put him in his car seat. I then realize he is covered in mud, so I take off his shoes, fish around for wet wipes in the diaper bag and clean him and the seat which now has mud all over it. I look back and a nice mom with her two angelic daughters are helping pick up the cart and the toys from the mud puddle. I say, "Oh, thank you!" And she says, "Weren't you at the Fisher's Library story time a couple of days ago?" Crickets. My head was saying, "Nope. Not us." But I squeaked out a, "Yes. That was us."
Yes, Lilah has taught me lots. She has taught me that fears are just that. A word that is sometimes scarier than the connotation attached. When you actually think about the worst that can happen if the fears become a reality, they often times aren't as scary as we make them out to be. I admit... it wasn't pretty... me and the kiddos out in the public for all to enjoy. But, nothing bad happened and after all, we did it. All by ourselves. And I have to say, there is some satisfaction in that. Another thing Lilah has taught me... a situation doesn't have to be perfect, pretty or even without a tear or two to be successful. We accomplished what we set out to do and sometimes that is enough. What is enough for us... is enough and we can be proud of that. Looking back, there were some shining moments in those experiences. The "old me" would have let the bad define my day. But, why not focus on those shining moments throughout the day instead of getting caught up in the what didn't go right
See, I am learning. One day at a time. And we will get to making situations pretty... and if not, dang-it, we are going to have fun trying!