Apparently there wasn’t anything good to post about last Thursday because a week came and went and I just now realized it! Such is life. And although there’s much to ponder concerning this week, I wanted to highlight someone that we’re thankful for today, the one and only Ms. Louise! Today I decided to take the girls over to see her. Let me tell you about our trip.
Russ left at about 9:00 this morning and that’s when I started getting things ready for our trip to see Ms. Louise. My goal was to leave at about 10:00. She lives in North Charleston and it takes about 35 minutes to get to her house. Now, anyone who has kids knows that even FIVE minutes in the car is a stretch sometimes, especially with a newborn who hates the car. But, I felt up for it today. I’m just going to bullet point the things that we had to do in order to prepare for this little trip. If you currently are in this season with young kids, and want to skip past this part, I don’t blame you! Why would anyone want to re-live the annoying packing and loading step? Skip right ahead! But, for those of you who have never done this or haven’t done it in a while, read on. In order to load these three cute girls up, I had to:
- Get all of them dressed, change diapers, put shoes on (2 or 3 times after they would take them off and lose them)
- Get Noa to go to the bathroom before getting in the car, and then wipe down her little potty, grab toilet paper, and load that up too
- Get a diaper bag ready with dipes, wipes, treats, extra clothes for Noa if she has an accident, burp clothes and a camera for pics
- Get myself ready and go to the bathroom since I won’t have an opportunity to do so with 3 kids hanging on me while we’re there
- Wake the baby up (only to pay for that later) and feed her so she won’t scream on the way and won’t want to eat when we get there
- Load everybody up, crawling all over the backseat to get the 2 older girls strapped in
- Remember everyone’s little security blanket/toy things
- Get my purse and go!!
Whew! Step 1: DONE!
Lydia was already screaming her head off before we even left the driveway. She definitely doesn’t like the car and let us know the entire way out to Ms. Louise’s house. Yes, we enjoyed her blood curdling cry the ENTIRE 35 minutes we were in the car. The other girls were pretty good on the way there, but took their shoes off and threw them on the floor. Lydia finally fell asleep about a minute before we got there and screamed once I woke her up again. When we got there I had to:
- Crawl in the back seat and put the baby carrier on
- Unhook the other girls and keep them from escaping while trying to get their shoes on and get the baby in the carrier (which is like having the baby strapped to you, for those who are unfamiliar with this)
- Grab the diaper bag and my purse
- Comfort the girls when they freaked out after they heard and saw a low flying plane (Ms. Louise lives right by the airport.)
- Convince the girls to get back out of the car (baby strapped to me) after they climbed back in and hid because of the plane. This actually took a while.
- Get them into the nursing home as quickly as possible since they were running all over the parking lot
- Stop to look at and talk to a cat that was roaming around (FREAKY! I HATE CATS!)
Finally, we made it in the building! Whew! Step 2: DONE!
Noa was holding herself and still startled from the plane, so she was scared of everyone that was in there and couldn’t articulate what she needed, although I knew she had to go potty. Of course her timing was perfect. So, Lydia is strapped to me, I am also holding Ruthie, and we are trying to get into one of the bathrooms before Noa had an accident. She’s not that great at holding it yet, so I was pretty anxious as both of the bathrooms were occupied with elderly people. I was relieved when it didn’t take that long for us to get in one. Then the whole potty routine took place while I was trying not to bang Lydia into everything (she was on the front of me) as I tried to keep Ruthie out of the drawers, toilet, shower, etc. etc. etc. Noa was also needing help sitting on the potty and getting toilet paper, etc.
At this point, I was already exhausted and we hadn’t even made it back to see Ms. Louise. So, we finally finished with potty time and headed back to her room. Noa and Ruthie, still shaken by the airplane incident, were also frightened by every elderly person they saw along the way, so I kept having to stop, comfort them, wait, stop, wait, wait, wait, comfort, wait, stop… It took about 5 minutes to get down the hallway.
FINALLY we made it to Ms. Louise’s room! And you know what? The smile on her face was incredible. It was so nice to see her and she was so surprised to see us.
You see, for obvious reasons, we haven’t been there in a while. It really is difficult to take all 3 girls anywhere (especially with Lydia needing to eat and nap so often)! If you know me, you know that I’m not incredibly gifted in the area of mercy. Nope. Not my thing. I wish I was better at it, but in every “Spiritual Gifts Test” I ever take, mercy is second to last, hospitality being the last. Yep. Every single time. Right about now you’re thinking, “What kind of a terrible person is Jackie?” I know. Especially living in the south, right? That is precisely why I decided I needed to force myself to think of someone else. I want my girls to learn how to step outside of their comfort zone for the benefit of others and I realized I needed to start doing that more myself.
We stayed for about 45 minutes in her tiny little room. All of her belongings were low to the ground and the girls kept pulling out her lipstick, clothes, hairbrushes, notebooks. It was maddening to try to control every little thing they were doing. Lydia was fussy and was constantly spitting up everywhere. Ms. Louise had an Easter basket saved up for them, but she had eaten the chocolate out of it long ago and only had the grass left in it, which they spread all over the room. (Side note: Obviously Ms. Louise can’t bend down to get all of it, so who was picking it up before we left with a 15 pound little cutie strapped to her? Um yeah, that would be me. Grass was everywhere!!!) Yeah, it was definitely a busy 45 minutes. But Ms. Louise loved it! The girls danced for her, sang for her, got a little ride on her walker, and we all prayed for her before we left. Other people kept popping in their heads to see what all the commotion was about too. They all loved seeing the girls even though they were actually quite a handful and a little fussy.
The ride back was also terrible with Lydia screaming the whole way. She finally fell asleep about 5 minutes before we got home, precisely when Noa and Ruthie decided to have a fit about who could hold the sippy cup, waking her up again. I was so glad to be home as the whole thing was exhausting and took up our entire morning.
I was reminded of John 13:35 which basically says that others will know we are Jesus’ disciples because we love one another. Let me tell you that I was not up for it when Lydia was screaming on the way there. I had to pray that God would pour out His love for Ms. Louise into my heart (Romans 5:5) because I totally wasn’t feeling it. But He did! And my girls and I learned a few valuable lessons today. 1. Loving others is doable. 2. People need our love. 3. It is always rewarding for all involved.
Is there someone who needs the love of the Father expressed through you today? Maybe you have the luxury of just hopping in your car to go bless someone without lugging kids around. Maybe you have been blessed financially and could stand to give some away. The possibilities are endless! Step outside of yourself and go love someone! And then ask God for help! I think this is going to be a regular thing for us now. J