As a mother of four young children -- 7- and 5-year-old boys, and twin 18-month-old girls -- I am often cautious about venturing out with the quartet in tow.
On the rare occasions when I am brave enough to go somewhere (the grocery store, perhaps, or the park), I am frequently told by strangers that "You have your hands full" -- as if I were unaware of my load.
One outing nonetheless brought home just how full my hands are.
From time to time, I baby-sit at a church nursery while the members of a community choir practice or perform.
So, on a recent day, I dropped off my older son at school, then headed to the church.
I was scheduled to watch the children of choir members during a performance and lunch. Given the extended period, I had packed lunches for all four of mine and myself -- in addition to diapers, extra clothes and the many other essentials that a mother of young ones must tote.
Between packing supplies and getting my son to school, the morning had obviously been hectic.
As I took the girls out of their car seats, they immediately wanted to dart out into the parking lot -- in different directions, of course. I quickly grabbed both with one hand while also trying to gather the diaper bag, lunches and other items with the other.
To avoid having to fumble with the keys after I closed the door, I pushed down the automatic lock. Then I handed the smaller bag containing our beverages to my 5-year-old (who acted as if I'd asked him to carry an elephant) and shut the door.
As I heard the locks engage, I realized that the larger bag -- the one containing our lunches, the diapers, my cell phone and my keys -- was still in the van.
I almost panicked, until I remembered that my husband works only 10 minutes away. Surely he could bail me out.
Feeling better, I made it across the parking lot and into the building with my three younger children. Because I was running a little late -- typical of me -- a few of the moms were already waiting to say goodbye and leave for the concert.
Embarrassed, I admitted what I'd done and asked to borrow a cell phone. I called my husband, who agreed to come unlock the doors.
"My knight in shining armor," I thought as the women left.
About 10 minutes later, my husband poked his head through the nursery door and handed me the rescued bag.
Grinning, he said, "You know, you could have just reached in at the open driver's-side window and unlocked the door!"
My eyes grew wide as I recalled enjoying a warm breeze through the window on the drive to the church.
I had been too flustered to notice that the window remained open.
At least I kept the girls from running into the parking lot.
Amanda, 30, works "chaos
control" full time.So, there it is! My first "published" work. (Yes, Jackie & Ben- I know- not really.... I should keep my day job! :))