Friday, January 14, 2011

I am not Alone

Sometimes I struggle to remember that Mary Jane is only 3 1/2 years old. This is an example of why that can be so hard for me.

It is about 3 PM Friday afternoon and I am rushing around the house trying to get everything ready for us to leave for a four-day trip to Iowa to visit Maaike's family in Pella. We've already had a fun and big morning going to Cinidi and Rowan's house to visit them and Nicole. Then off to Friday Playgroup at Heather's house. Lots of time with good friends and fun kiddos. We got home about 12:20 PM and "all" we had left to do was to eat lunch, feed Rebekah, pack my clothes, pack Rebekah's clothes, make and pack snacks, do dishes, pack up all the "stuff," feed Rebekah again, and load the 3 PM.

Maaike is off work at 3 PM on Fridays and we wanted to hit the road as close to then as possible so we could miss traffic and arrive in Pella (about a 5 1/2 hour drive without small children) at a reasonable time. As I said, it is now about 3 PM and  everything is done except feeding Rebekah the second time (and she is REALLY hungry now), doing the dishes (not many) and finish loading the car. At this point I am working quite hard at keeping my stress level and drivenness in check. I send Maaike a text to let her know we are running behind and then give Rebekah her bottle. As I am holding Rebekah to feed her I am distracted, thinking about what is left to do, how to do it most efficiently and how to enroll Mary Jane into staying focused on getting us ready to leave. 

Rebekah finishes her bottle by about 3:20 and I put her in the bouncy while I do dishes...a decision/situation that is less-than-desirable to Rebekah. So now I am doing dishes, playing peek-a-boo with and singing to a crying Rebekah, and reminding/encouraging Mary Jane to pick up her toys and finish getting ready to leave. By the time I finish doing the dishes Rebekah has gotten herself quite worked up so I pick her up to calm her and change her diaper. I hate to see her upset and crying like this and I don't like leaving her in the bouncy to cry. What's more is that, with the dishes done, all that is left is to pack the car. Which means putting Rebekah in her car seat or back in the bouncy.

Then it hits me: I am not alone. Mary Jane is here and Rebekah adores Mary Jane, and Mary Jane adores Rebekah. So I put Rebekah in her car seat and set her down close to the back door with everything else that needs to go out to the car (including Mary Jane who is already wearing her coat and boots). "Mary Jane, will you please be with Rebekah while I load the car?" I ask. "You want me to rock Rebekah? Okay." Keep in mind that I asked only that Mary Jane "be with Rebekah."  As I am picking things up for the second, and final, trip to the car I see Mary Jane bent down gently rocking the car seat and saying in a sweet, tender voice, "You're okay, Rebekah. There is nothing to be worried about. Mommy is at work and daddy and big sister are right here."

My tendency, my "drama," is to take everything on myself; to believe that I have to carry the entire load by myself. This morning Mary Jane showed me once again that I am never alone and I can always ask for help.

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