Yes, that happened. Last week.
Let me start by explaining how this is even possible. When we had only our oldest child (Autumn), we had the wonderful Chicco infant car seat and a base for each car. When she grew too big for that, we bought a convertible car seat for each car. When our second baby was born (Amelia), we pulled out the old infant seat and 2 bases. All too soon Amelia also grew too large for it. We were faced with the need for TWO MORE convertible car seats. I really didn’t want to spend all that $$$ so I proposed a solution to my husband: We would move both of the convertible car seats we already own into 1 car and that will be the only car in which the kids ride. He has always done drop-off and I’ve done pick-up. We happen to work across the street from each other and park in the same parking garage. And, yes, I wish we could just car pool but I work 8 hour shifts 5 days a week (and very little more than that) but he works 9 or 10 hours daily during the work week, so driving together is not an option. But switching cars so that he drives the “kid car” in the morning to work and I drive it home in the afternoon was a brilliant idea. Right?!
It had been going just fine for the last 2 months. Until that day last week. I guess I wasn't thinking or I must have been running through my mental list of things to do; knowing that most of it was going to be put off until ‘tomorrow’ as I got behind the wheel of the kid car. I proceeded to drive the entire way to work and didn’t realize I was driving the car with car seats and no kids until I pulled into my parking spot. My husband had, of course, been calling me repeatedly but I had put the phone on silent the night before so no incoming calls or texts would disturb Amelia while she was nursing. I pulled my phone out and saw the ten missed calls. I quickly called my husband to tell him I was on my way home. Then I had to call my boss to tell her I would be missing the 8:00 meeting that morning.
To add to this when I got home we realized that my husband would have forgotten the baby’s supply of frozen breast milk so he ran back into the house to grab it. He set his lunch on the driver’s seat while doing this and it opened and spilled garlic butter on the seat. Once I finally did get to work I noticed I was covered in cat fur so I pulled out the lint brush I keep in my desk. I pulled off the sheet (that was covered in lint and fur) to find it was the very last sheet so my black pants were going to remain furry for the day.
At this point it was only 9:15 in the morning. But I was able to laugh because of this: I’m very lucky to have an understanding boss (who is also a mom) and a very forgiving husband (something I could really stand to try to learn to improve). And although it was incredibly awful to have a 2 hour self-guided tour of my own city, some of the best parts of the day happened that morning:
When I brought the car back home the front door was open and the girls were playing in the doorway. I saw the pink and purple of their play computer and picnic basket. When they looked up from their toys and saw me their faces burst into huge smiles. They both leaped up and through the door and practically knocked me over from their hugs. It was wonderful.
Since I had already made my husband late for work, I agreed to drive the kids to day care. I planned to make a quick exit since I was so late and started to say bye to my girls. Both of them climbed into my lap and my friend’s daughter wrapped her arms around my back for a long and wonderful four-way hug. In the end I gave a couple more kisses but I really needed to go!
I finally made it to work…an hour and a half late. I got to my desk and pulled my water bottle, phone, and badge out of my work bag. And then I came across the paper plate jack-o-lantern Autumn painted for me with her Grandma. When she gave it to me, I told her I would hang it up in my office and she was so excited that I wanted to bring it to work. As I taped it up, it brought a smile to my face. In the chaos that was my morning it's pretty great that I was able to get some extra smiles and snuggles. And periodically throughout the last week my eyes fell on my paper jack-o-lantern smiling back at me.
This is the life of a mom. It’s busy and hectic and sometimes my brain is on overdrive. So much so that I actually drove the wrong car to work. But it was also a good reminder to me: I really just need to slow down a bit, take a few deep breaths, and keep on smiling.
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