Monday, December 17, 2007

Adventures in shipping

Picture this: me, two big boxes filled with Christmas gifts, an energetic 3-year-old, 17 pounds of baby in his car seat, and a busy UPS counter. I survived!

Over the last couple of days, I have spent a good deal of time wrapping, writing notes, and boxing up Christmas gifts for our family members who we won't see during the holidays. It's something that I rather enjoy, making sure to label and stack everything like puzzle pieces in the box and filling it with packing peanuts and those fun little bags full of air. That, to me, is the fun part. Getting it to the "box store," as Lucy calls it, isn't as much fun. The thought of it kind of stresses me out. So when I woke up this morning and realized that I forgot to send the packages with John, I knew it had to be done, and I started to psych myself up for it...and pray.

I hurried to get myself and Lucy ready while Joey was sleeping, knowing that our amount of time once he woke up was limited to about 1 1/2 hours -- the amount of time he is usually awake and happy before getting ready to nap again. But he woke up a little early (of course) and it took me nearly an hour after that to finish taping and labeling the boxes, to get our shoes and jackets on, to get the boxes down the stairs and out to the parking lot, and to get us out the door. Time was ticking! But so far so good.

We arrived at the UPS building, which is just a little over a mile from our house, and [insert angelic choir here] there was a parking place right in front of the doors! I unloaded the boxes first and took them inside to the last open computer (no line!). I went back out and got the kids and brought them inside. Joey was mesmerized by the lights on the ceiling (got to love the simple pleasures of a baby!) and Lucy was taking very seriously her role to 'guard the boxes.' I raced through the computer shipping station questions and headed over to the line to pay. It felt like a Red Sea experience -- what seemed like a crowded room and long line suddenly opened up before me and we only had to wait behind one person!

Lucy continued to entertain herself by playing hopscotch on the tile floor, until she suddenly stopped and looked at me and said, "Mommy, I have to go potty." Uh oh. I looked around. Nothing. We had just gone before leaving home, so I knew it couldn't have been that urgent. I encouraged her to take a deep breath and try her best to wait, and the moment passed without incident. It was then that I realized I had left my diaper bag at home and had no resources for dealing with a potential potty disaster!

Well, the man at the counter took care of us quickly and politely, and he even returned my wishes for a Merry Christmas with a smile. With my arms free of boxes, I picked up Joey in the car seat and took Lucy by the hand, and I turned around to see the line behind us extended all the way to the door. We had come at the perfect time! We were back at home in a grand total of less than 30 minutes.

God gets all the glory for this one! I could pretend it's because I'm SuperMom, but with the kind of Bah-Humbuggy mood I've been in, and the ornery behavior we've been seeing from Lucy lately, and the sheer unpredictability of having a 4-month-old, there is nothing I could have done in and of myself to make it happen. My kids' cooperation, the front parking space, the short line when we arrived -- it was clearly a gift from God! I've noticed that when I pray, even for the 'little' things and God shows me He can do it, then I have no choice but to give Him all the glory! And I'm give Him thanks for leaving us all with smiles on our faces and a dreaded task completed.

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