My friend Lindsay is getting married in December (I am a bridemaid), and this morning there was a kitchen shower for her. I really tried hard to get a babysitter. I started with all my different lists first thing Monday morning, calling each girl one by one, only to discover that between working regular daytime jobs, finals, and graduation pickings were slim to none. So, I swallowed the embarrassment, and I called my friend Lindsay and said I can either not come or come and bring the girls (I hope I worded it a little bit nicer than that, but that was the basic idea). She told me to come and bring them, but let's just be honest, it would have been pretty awkward for her to tell me not to come.
So this morning, I work our whole schedule around trying to have the girls bathed, dressed, fed, and well rested by the time of the 10:30 brunch. I'm feeling bad. I'm telling myself that I've learned this lesson so many times...why does it never stick? It's just inappropriate to lug your children to a function that they are not invited to. They're distracting, you become the center of attention because of their distraction, and the guest of honor is left wanting to tell you that today isn't about you believe it or not...at least that's how it feels in my head.
10:30 rolls around, and I am about to wake Mary Aplin up to nurse her one good time before we leave. I have the diaper bag packed, an emergency bottle prepared, a present in my bag, and Pace pumped up about being allowed into a big girl party. Then a premonition comes over me, and I start to think that I didn't remember seeing my keys hanging by my diaper bag where they belong. A still small voice whispers, "Remember yesterday afternoon when Jeremiah asked if he could borrow your keys..." Sure enough, my keys are nowhere to be found. I start paging Jeremiah incessantly and after about 20 minutes he calls me back.
"I don't know if I have them or not. Clinic is really busy and I don't have time to go look right now...Could you just borrow somebody's car?" That's a man for you. That's a man who doesn't think about the fact that it isn't only the car that I need, but the 2 carseats in the car so that I can transport our children as well. At this point, I am 30 minutes late and it's pouring rain outside and I am thinking, "What kind of excuse does it sound like to tell your friend that you couldn't make it because you lost your keys." Lame.
I reign in my aggravation and call Ashley, my friend and neighbor across the street (who has children Pace and Mary Aplin's age) to see if I can borrow her car/car seats. She says that's great with her, but the windshield wipers don't usually work. I am just desperate enough to not care. Being the sweet friend that she is, not only did she drive the car over to our house, but she stood out in the rain rubbing RainEx on the windshield and buckled Pace in for me.
We finally make it to the party, an hour late, but at least we're there. I've started telling myself that we'll just drop in, get lost in the big crowd, hug Lindsay, add our gift to the pile and take our inappropriate selves back home. Not SO, fate cried! I jump out of the car, into the downpour, unbuckle Pace and hand her her pink princess umbrella. I hold her hand and run over to Mary Aplin's side. M'Apples is still riding in a pumpkin seat, and for those of you who don't have kids, those are the monstrously heavy seats you see mothers twisting their backs into scoliosis position and hauling around. These seats also, generally, click into a base in the car. There is a little visor you can pull over them to shield them from light, or in my extreme case, a torrential downpour. Try as I might, I CANNOT figure out how to unhook this new pumpkin seat. Pace is holding her umbrella out beside her and generally enjoying the soaking rain as she asks over and over, "Watcha doin' Mommy?"
After a few minutes I give up and just pull Mary Aplin out of the seat and we run through the rain. Have I mentioned that M'Apples has been running a 101 fever for the past 2 days and now I've drenched her in cold rain? Finally, I stumble through the front door, with two wet children in tow (one of whom is crying profusely), only to find that this big party I was envisioning is actually an intimate little group of girls who have just sat down to start brunch. I start rambling off excuses, the bride herself comes to take my wet coat, her mother picks up my screaming baby, and Pace is excitedly wondering where the party food is that I've been telling her about all morning. There I was, the inappropriate girl with children, dominating a party in my whirlwind. I hated myself.
Thankfully, after Lindsay's sister fed Mary Aplin a bottle while I helped Pace neatly eat her meal, the girls truly were well-behaved. I think God knew I couldn't take much more. Everybody was nice at the party, and Lindsay couldn't have been sweeter about the girls being there...I just know it was wrong. I try, but it seems I am doomed to always being inappropriate.
(Just so you know, I went straight from the party to Wal-Mart in that same rain. We all took a long nap this afternoon!
Also, that stroller in the picture is my new pride and joy that Jeremiah's parents gave me for my birthday. It is a dream!! and I've finally learned that in the land of baby strollers, you really do get what you pay for. If you can, go for the BOB)