Thursday, July 4, 2013

Everyone Needs A Happy Place

Running errands with four kids ages 6, 4, 2 and 6 weeks is really fun! My favorite part is when we've just finished a big haul at the grocery store and they're in their seats, all buckled in, the car is in drive, I can finally relax and I hear from the backseat, "I really, really, really have to go to the bathroom." Crud. Well, it is the six year old. He's been potty trained for over 3 years now so he wipes well, flushes semi regularly and almost always remembers to wash his hands. Perhaps today is the day he gains a notch on his belt of independence and goes into a public restroom alone. And I mean really alone. Like mom waiting in the car alone. Because goodness knows I do not want to unload all these kids just so we can all wait 30 seconds for Henry to pee.

The gas station around the corner should work. There are usually only a few oddities sitting out front. On second thought. Never mind.

Target? It's close. But no. Mommy guilt requires that I at least run him from the parking lot to the front door and those 60 seconds of leaving the rest of the kids alone in the car are enough to get me reported these days.

And then I remember something. Their dad is getting his car washed less than a mile away! I can park in the lot next to Scrubbs car wash and Matt can run out to my car and take Henry to the bathroom. Hallelujah! This is seriously almost as good as winning the lottery.

Just a quick phone call to let Matt know we're on our way ...
No answer.
He's on call today. Maybe he's talking to someone from work. I'll just try again.
No answer and straight to voicemail.
What the flip?! We have a bathroom emergency here! No time to worry if I might appear nuts by calling him every 30 seconds. I have to try again.
AHHHHHH! No answer.
 I'll text. Sometimes he responds better to a text.
"UM ... HELLO???"
No reply.
For crying out loud. I can't call again. That would just be crazy! We'll have to drive there and I'll bite the there's-a-good-chance-an-overreaching-parent-will-call-the-authorities-bullet and run Henry in while the other kids sit in the car.

By this time Henry has got to go. The "I really, really, really have to go and can't wait any longer and need a bathroom now mom" kind of go. And I'm sweating. The kind of condensation that forms on your brow not from physical exertion, but from the pressure you're under because at any moment your child could lose all control of his bladder and pee all over his big kid booster seat which unlike the infant seat no longer has a pain in the ass convenient, removable cover you can wash so you'll have to add a trip to Wal-Mart for a new booster seat to today's to-do list. NOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Just when I think he's going to lose it, I see our safe haven. Or rather the big yellow "Scrubbs" sign. And I also see Matt's truck in line to be washed. So I know he's there. I pull my boat of a vehicle into a tiny spot, throw it into park, open the door for Henry, tell the others I'll be back in 30 seconds and not to scream or cry or laugh or breathe or do anything to draw attention to themselves, and I run Henry in to find Matt. Surely by now he's seen I've called 3 times and sent a text. He'll know we're in some sort of a bind. Maybe his daddy mind is even reading my mommy mind (we can do that sometimes) and he'll be at the door waiting for his bride and his firstborn. As I open the door and Henry runs toward the bathroom, I spot Matt. And a wave of confusion and envy wash over me. He is sitting in a massage chair (you know those huge, leather "Pay $5 for 5 minutes" massage chairs), TV remote in hand flipping channels, with the most serene, contented look on his face. He is clearly enjoying a moment of pure peace and total oblivion. And I 'm frozen in time for a moment. All while  Henry is sprinting to the bathroom, the other kids are probably talking to the nice lady in the parking lot who is calling the police on her cell phone, sweat is running down my brow, and Matt is in his happy place; the massage chair at Scrubbs Car Wash. I snap out of my trance and walk toward him and my dear, sweet husband finally spots us.

"Oh hi guys."

"I've called you 3 times and sent a text! Henry has to go to the bathroom. The other kids are in the car waiting for me. Bring Henry back when he's done."

"Oh. Okay. Man, my work might be trying to get ahold of me too. I better find my phone." And he calmly reaches into his backpack on the floor.

And I just stare. I don't reply. I don't blink. I might not be breathing. I just turn around and walk out the door because the police are on their way for our other kids. And then, I laugh. From deep in my gut I laugh. Because no single experience so clearly exemplifies our vastly different personalities and parenting styles. Here I am, about to have a heart attack over an everyday occurrence - one of our kids needing to tinkle. And Matt's as cool as a cucumber, unfazed and in his happy place. Which unknown to me is a massage chair at the car wash.


  1. Gosh, I love you!! I laughed outloud as I was reading your post. Meanwhile, Travis has told me four times that I need to go to the store. Can't he tell I am busy reading your hilarious blog!!??