I Deserve a Free Slurpie
Because of the distance, along with the fact that she has decided she’s “done traveling” – it is only about once a year that we get to see her. Of course, it doesn’t help that we have three children under the age of six. Yep, I would say that is also a major factor, friend.
Thanks to some generous gifts from my parents, we were blessed to have enough money to make the loooong drive to see her. I’m not sure who was more excited, us or her.
Ryan, myself, and the kiddos were all pumped up about our trip. This was a very big deal for us for more important reasons than simply looking forward to a little family vacation. For Team Holzberger, this was a true milestone. My medical drama has all but robbed us of these types of “normal” family outings for a couple years now. And remember, my kids are little. So, that is a big chunk of what their little brains can recall. I am quite sure they can’t remember the last major family trip we took four years ago when Mama was healthy and “normal”. In fact, they’ve grown accustomed to a family meal at Wendy’s as being a big deal.
So, this, friend, was flat out a miracle! Not only that we could go, but that I could go! (We are so thankful, Lord!)
So, I switched on my (very small) anal/methodical side in order to get us all ready. Packing for five people for six days takes much planning and orderly list-making. Two things that don’t exactly come naturally to me. So, I channeled my inner Ryan (my uber organized hubby!) and got us ready.
We set out early in the a.m. and pointed our minivan due east. Even the kiddos were unusually cheery as our trip began, despite the morning sun sleeping in later than we did. Shortly after we got on the road, Ryan asked if I could take over for a bit and drive.
This was big. I mean really big! It’s only been a handful of times that I have driven farther than where the Mama carpool takes me in the past couple years. Even as I sit here and type, I can’t remember the last time I drove on the highway! And here I was going to drive a leg of our loooong trip like a real-life, normal, grown up. (Again, God you totally get credit for that one!!)
So, I climbed into the driver’s seat of our new (to us) minivan and tried to calm my giddiness as I set out. (Don’t worry, an entire post is coming about that glorious van, aka “Grace”)
Ryan settled in comfortably in the passenger seat with the five pillows I brought. He put in his earphone thingys and escaped into the world of random classic songs his iPhone provided.
I gotta be honest… I rocked it.
I drove for five hours!!! Friend, that is not a typo…FIVE HOURS!! It was unreal. I jammed to the local Christian radio station and just flat out enjoyed myself thoroughly.
The kids were perfect. They were so busy with their books and coloring pages, it was pure bliss. I must admit, there were times when I would look in my rearview mirror to change lanes and surprisingly see a little face smiling back at me from the back row.
Eventually, my time as the big girl driver ended and I came back to the passenger side, aka “kid duty”.
I wasn’t too worried about having to “manage” the kids because they had been so obedient and quiet so far. I was so impressed, and I’ll be honest, a bit shocked, at their minimal issues.
That is, until now.
Once again, Ryan got one step closer to recapturing his youth via his iPhone and I closed my eyes to “rest” like Ryan had done most of the time I drove. But, I kid you not, Ryan wasn’t even midway through his first 80’s classic before it began…
Jacob: “Mama, Benjamin said I don’t get a turn with the colored pencils!”
Benjamin: “No, I didn’t, I just said it could be my turn first.”
Benjamin: “Maaammmaaaaa, can we listen to my songs instead of your songs.”
Abigail: “Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, I want Dora pleeeeaaase!”
Seriously, who are you people?
I look at Ryan. Nothing. His eyes are fixated on the road and his thoughts are with Enigma.
Daddy had been on “kid duty” for hours and I hear nothing. Not a stinkin’ peep. Now, all of a sudden, it is my turn to rest and everyone has a crisis.
Me: “Hey guys, it’s ok, you’re fine. Just calm down, we will stop again soon.”
Two minute pause.
Jacob: “Mama, when can I play a game on Daddy’s phone?”
Benjamin: “I thought I got to have the phone first.”
Abigail: “Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama I want Dora pleeeeaase!!”
Me: “Ok, listen up. Daddy has been here to help you guys for hours and nobody asked him one question, not one. What is going on?”
Jacob: “But Daddy was resting.”
Me: “Well Mama is resting now, ok?”
Three minute pause.
Jacob: “That’s not fair Benjamin, you got to be the red guy last time. You need to share.”
Benjamin: “You always get to be the blue guy, all the time!”
Abigail: “I wanna be red and blue and orange and pink, Mama! I want Dora pleeeeassse!”
Sigh. So much for sleep.
Have you ever noticed that mothers are never off duty? Like, never. The whole family can be in the living room, and someone wants a drink, and who do they ask?
We are all outside playing and someone needs a Band aid; who is supposed to go get it?
Who then, is tearfully begged to go back inside for a different kind Band aid because Jacob has a Star Wars one and how come I can’t have one too?
I’ll let you have time to think about this one. Oh wait, no I won’t.
You might as well go ahead and stamp 7-11 on my forehead. Cause, friend, I’m open 24 hours.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining really, because as someone who has been forced to temporarily shut down her 24/7 hour duties as Mom, I am happily taking that role again. But, as my twenty-one-year old single friend labeled it, after playing with my three kids for a few hours…”I’m beat. I mean it, totally wiped out! I mean, your kids are great, they behave very well. I just can’t get over the ‘never-ending-ness’ of it. Someone always needed something. Always.”
No story displays this better than that of my dear friend, Angie. A couple years ago, she went on a mission trip to Romania. Her parents serve faithfully in that country quite a few times a year, and this time, she joined them. All while her two boys (age 8 and 10 at the time) stayed home with Dad.
Angie was relaxing with her Mom as they gazed out at the Romanian countryside. It was beautiful! Peaceful. Quiet. Serene. That is, until a blaring noise coming from her purse jolted Angie from her postcard moment.
“Oh my goodness,” she thought, “Is that my cell phone??”
It had been a few days since she’d heard it ring, causing her to almost forget it was even with her. Obviously she took it on the trip just for emergencies, because clearly it would cost at least $29.99 per minute to call the U.S. So – emergencies only!
Oh no, something’s happened to the kids.
Then thoughts of her husband at work as a police officer jolted her worry in whole other direction.
Finally, she found her cell phone and quickly looked at the caller I.D. before opening it.
The display simple read: Home
“Hello!?! Hello!? Hello!?!”
“Mom?!?” It was her ten year old son.
“Yes honey! Oh my goodness, are you and your brother ok? Is Dad ok?!?”
She held her breath for what seemed like an eternity until she heard her precious son say,
“Ya sure. We’re fine. I just wanted to ask you something…
“What did you say, son?”
“Can we make eggs? You said we can’t use the stove unless we ask. So, can we?”
“Buddy, where is your father?”
“Uuuummm, I don’t know, in the other room, I think.”
“So you called me long distance, on my cell phone, in Romania when your father is ten feet away from you…just to ask me if you could make eggs!?!”
“Um, ya. Should I just ask Dad then?”
Just call us 7-11.
Our job never stops. Rain, sleet, snow…anytime of day and night. We are there.
It kind of reminds me of another parent; a much more perfect One of course.
Friend, do you know that our God never sleeps?
I don’t know about you, but I find great comfort in that. Great comfort.
2am – When your teenager is late for curfew, not answering their phone and you pray to God that they come home safely and in one piece.
3am – When the baby is screaming again (again!) and you seriously question why you ever wanted to procreate in the first place.
4am – See 3am
5am – See 4am and 3am…again!
9am – When the boss sits you down and explains how this downsizing is necessary and commends you for your hard work. In one fell swoop crushing your pride and your family’s stability.
11am – When the phone rings and it is the doctor himself calling to tell you that the lab results have come in and it would be best to talk about it in person.
2pm – When you get a call from the principal’s office wondering why your student hasn’t been at school all week. All of a sudden, you realize you don’t know your kid at all anymore.
5pm – When you rush through a stop sign to hurry and get your kids to practice, only to see the other car too late.
9pm – When you crawl into bed and once again roll over onto your side without so much as a “Goodnight, dear” from your spouse, or should you say, your roommate.
Each time. Any time. Every time. He is there. He is never too busy for you. He is never annoyed by you coming to Him over and over and over and over. He knows you best because He carefully made you. (Psalm 139)
Friend, He wants you to turn to Him first. And last. And every time in between. He died a humiliating and excruciating criminal’s death so that He wouldn’t have to be separated from you. He deserves devotion from you. And He desires it.
Come to Him. He is there.
But, for the record, I do think I deserve a free slurpie after this trip. Can I get an Amen? 🙂