We had a plan to seize the day. But by the time we got it together enough to venture outside, the day was almost gone. Why and how does it take so long to get out the door when you have children? I may never know.
We had lots of ideas: the aquarium, the arboretum, visiting the hospital, seeing a friend, etc, etc. The sky was the limit! It was 3:00 when we finally piled into the car. As I turned out of the driveway (Did I mention that Mike lost his wallet in transit to Seatte?), Ava began to turn her nose up at a smell.
"Did you fart, Mama?" she asked. Distractedly I denied it but I had been so absentminded these days, I wondered if I had accidentally farted without even feeling it. But then the thought occurred to me that perhaps Jude's constipation had resolved itself. I stopped the car, sniffed his diaper, and turned the car around to address this unexpected issue.
I left Mike and the kids in the car and assured them I would be right back. I should have known better. Jude is notorious for blowouts and he did himself proud at that moment. There was an inordinate amount of mustard colored material in his diaper and up his back. This was usually a two man job, but I had left the man outside. Stupid me.
I expertly maneuvered the onesie over his head but at the last minute he moved and his hair grazed the poop. Oh Lord, have mercy. At first I tried to rectify the situation with a wipe and the excuse that he's the third baby and there could be worse things than poop on his head. But then, I couldn't think of anything worse than fecal matter in his hair so I decided that he needed a bath. So, I gave him a bath...while everyone waited in the car...naively expecting me to be right back.
In no time at all, we were all back in the car with a freshly bathed Jude. That's when the sun decided to come out. It had been raining all day so we didn't think we would need any sun protection. I got back out and ran inside to grab sunblock and hats. Finally, we were on our way to fulfill our thirst for some real Seattle fun!
We decided to take a walk (drive) down memory lane and started toward the hospital. After missing a couple of turns, we began to finally venture into familiar territory. We picked up some food and chose to go to a nearby park to eat and play. As we drove by the Ronald McDonald house and the hospital, the memories came rushing back. It is unbelievable that just a year ago, we were here for an entirely different purpose. Ava was so sick and we were so scared. We drove down these same roads with the constant fear that our family would be irreparably shattered and that we would never be able to return without bearing a grief so heavy and suffocating that all the beauty in the world could not ease it. But we were here this time with a truly remarkable story and a future filled with brighter days.
It was really exciting to return to this park and to see it with a fresh set of eyes because the last time we had visited, Ava was on pass out of the hospital after transplant (pass meant that we could leave the hospital for 4 hours each day). She was so swollen and out of sorts from the steroids that Mike had to carry her out of the car and to a nearby bench. So while Gwen and I played on the swings, Ava sat miserably in Mike's arms looking out at the lake. I really wanted to see the girls running around the park today, reclaiming this place of sad memories with squeals of laughter.
A couple of wrong turns later (this scenario was becoming familiar) we finally found the park! We parked the car and as soon as the girls put their shoes back on, because kids have this weird obsession with removing their shoes in the car, we noticed that smell again.
The boy had soiled himself with another blowout. So we stripped him down and changed him for the second time. During Operation Blowout, the rain had begun to fall again.
Okay, to native Seattleites rain is a non-issue. We witnessed this during our 5 month stay last year when we were laughed at for opening up an umbrella during a shower. We saw it again today when people were walking in the rain nonchalantly conversing with their friends as if they didn't notice the water pouring down their face into their talking mouths. I mean, they didn't even put their hoods on. Now, that's just showing off. If I daringly decided to walk in the rain, my hood would be on, my head would be down, and my mouth would be closed.
The rain meant that we could only stare at the playground from the car. But while we were doing that, we had a chance to reminisce and shed a few unexpected tears over how God has led us to a place of fresh water (pun may have been intended) in our lives and we were drinking in all of it with our eyes turned toward Heaven.
It was getting late and we told the kids we had to head back. "Wait, what? But we didn't even do anything. All I did was take a nap." Ava said.
That was a fair assessment because she napped as soon as we got in the car so all she remembered was riding in her seat and waking up in the park. She missed out on all of our other adventures like getting lost. I guess that's what happens when you snooze...you lose.
To salvage the day, we made one last stop to the mall. Besides the fact that we didn't do anything except buy a can of soda, it was actually really fun. Ava hadn't been in a mall in close to a year so it was a fairly novel experience for her. We had a good time walking around enjoying ordinary life. But the moment that I stopped, looked Mike in the eyes and said, "We are the Griswolds" was when I took Ava to the bathroom. Minutes later I heard Mike calling for me from outside the entrance.
"Esther, Esther, where's Jude??" he shouted. Apparently, he never noticed that I took Jude out of the car and strapped him to my body. As he sat with Gwen waiting for Ava and me, he realized that there was a child he couldn't account for. And Jude did such a good job being unforgettable that day too. Poor #thirdchild.
We are the Griswolds. We set out to do some amazing touristy things today but instead ended up at the mall with a can of soda.
Mike and I don't agree on everything, but we do agree that life is easier when you set the bar real low.
#griswolds #nothingwentasplanned #planC
"So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD . His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth." Hosea 6:3.