4 kids dressed in somewhat decent only borderline homeless looking (or hipster looking)clothing. check.
4 kids with food crammed in their bellies and no one complaining of being hungry. check.
4 kids with socks and shoes or sandals or socks with sandals (Reminder: we are in the Pacific Northwest). check.
We all walk in, check in, sit down. And, we still haven’t had a temper tantrum, a whiny child or a canation (whatever this is–I’m not sure. I just know that it can be good or bad and I’m living in a toddler world, we speak on their terms).
The boys come back completely cavity free–hallelujah.
All 4 kids in the van. Celebration!
Don’t squeal too loud people will stare.
Me to them, “Oh my gosh you guys, you did it. We all did it. We were on our best behavior and we had such a great morning! Let’s go to Burger King for lunch and to play on the indoor toys since its such a hot day”. Squeals of delight.
And then we arrived, Burger King the holy grail of all things for my kiddos.
This is where it all starts to go downhill.
We unload and go potty. All of us.
We play for 20 or so minutes, eat lunch. And know what happens? My youngest pees his pants in the tunnel at the top of the playground. #facepalm
I’m outnumbered. simply outnumbered.
So, the extra pants were left in the creeper, the pee is still at the top of the tubes (and I have a very natural fear of heights), and I can’t leave 4 kids alone in Burger King or the real creepers will creep. Hear what I’m saying?
We proceed with fully fit throwing planking toddlers. They have figured out that if they all do it at the same time, I do not have enough arms or gusto to carry them all. But, we manage to get to the front door.
Oren looks at me and with sheer dread as he looks at the expanse of parking lot like its a giant lake of alligators, shrugs his shoulders and says, “Mom, I’m just a kid. I’m not sure how we’re going to get across this thing with them”.
Me, “Me either, buddy, me either”.
But, we buckle down. We half drag-half demand some level of cooperation and reach our vehicle.
They plank again. on.the.ground. between me and the car next to me.
As I’m unlocking my car and opening the door, some lady in her cute little car either doesn’t care or doesn’t notice the kids on the ground next to her vehicle and begins backing up. Like, going to run over my kids, backing up. I’m waving my hands trying to get her attention, while at the same time moving 3 little plankers to the front of my vehicle and literally holding them in an upright position.
She drives away.
No one is injured, and I return to opening the door and attempting to get planking children into the car.
They bolt. Yes, two of my children bolt around the front of the car. Oren chases them. I finish pushing the one child in my arms into the car and head around the back.
Picture this: A fiery 3 yr old redhead screaming in the creeper van screaming bloody murder for Burger King toys.
And me a fiery much older redhead screaming outside the creeper van, “STOP STOP STOP, EVERYBODY STOP!”
The box truck barrels through. And, I can no longer see my kids. They’ve disappeared.
I’m running towards where they should be. A woman who may have only seen the last 2 min (not the full 20 min of attempting to “control” my kids) yells from the door of Burger King in a very judgey tone, “You need to watch your kids better.” ….if looks could kill……..but, I have 3 missing kids and ain’t nobody got time for that…..
I walk around a large car to see 2 kids on the ground with an older brother on top, fighting to keep them there, he says, “Mom, I saw the truck and I had to save them. I tackled them for you”.
I’ve never been so proud, scared, frantic, and angry all at once. I wrangle, wrestle, and bribe them to the van.
I’m now sobbing in my front seat, “I’m never doing this again, I’m never doing this again. I hate burger king”.
Why am I sharing this? This is my confession to the world: my life is far from perfect, these moments are the norm. I am not capable to be the BEST mom all the time. I don’t have it figured out. I am so far removed from the term perfect. Life is sometimes just chaos. And, yet in the midst of all the chaos, I have an anchor, a calming overpowering awareness that Jesus was orchestrating all of it. That my kids ended up safe.
And why after days like these, I am fully aware of my need for him. If it were up to me, I’d be done, thrown in the towel, and having already been crazy.
In situations like this, I’m more aware of my selfishness, my need for control and my desire to do things on my terms and how Jesus requires me to be present away from my needs, give up all control and do things on his terms. I see myself as these rowdy toddlers throwing full on planking fits, and I’m so thankful for the Father’s patience with me. Sometimes, the out-takes in our life reveals our very need for reliance on Him.