Saturday, April 2, 2011

Door Slammed, Window Opened

I think it's fair to say we've had a long week. Between Aiden being thrust into outer darkness for saying something that could be misconstrued as those of a Grand Pubah in the KKK, and a bitter battle with the school district over his honor, and all the day to day stuff that goes on in our wild family, it was a long week. I needed someone to cut me some slack somewhere along the way.

Last night, we opted to take the kids to Red Robin for dinner after taking Aiden to spend his birthday money. We took two cars because Byron was meeting us on his way home from work. Just as we pulled up to the light where we turn into the restaurant, I noticed that the van was idling really hard. I pulled in and parked and noticed smoke coming out from under the hood. Now, I'm no car expert, but I'm pretty sure I read somewhere the smoke coming out of your car is generally a really bad thing.

Byron lifted the hood and I worked on calling a friend from our ward who is a mechanic to tell us what to do. I didn't really know how we'd get all five kids home, but I wasn't overly stressed about it, either. We were thinking we could just drive it the rest of the way home, about three miles, and then get it towed in later. Just as Byron opened the hood, the gentleman parked next to us came out. "I'm a mechanic. Can I have a look?" I recognized him as the man who'd helped me change my license plates when we were switching states. We were planning on driving the van the rest of the way home, but the man assured us that it would be better to have the van towed. At that point, we just called and asked our mechanic friend to tow the van.

When we got inside, it was starting to swirl around in my head that I didn't know how we'd get all the kids home, but I devised a plan that would have one of us stay with half the kids and the other one drive the oldest three to a neighbor's house. Then, the first one could come back for the other parent and the babies. It would be tiring, but could be done if we were really stuck.

We ordered our food, got the kids (who were all VERY rascally at this point) situated, and waited for the tow truck to came. Just as our meals came, our friend called to say he was outside and ready to tow us. Byron didn't get a bite of food before running outside while I stayed at the table with the kids. Of course that was also the time Rachel realized she really needed to use the restroom. I couldn't unload and take everyone with me to help her, so I told her she needed to wait. While I was with the kids, a family from church happened to walk by and visit. They had a daughter big enough to help Rachel go to the restroom, which she apparently urgently needed to do as evidenced by the not so subtle potty dance she was doing. As simple a task as this may seem, it was big to me. They stayed and chatted a bit and then were on their way.

About three minutes after they left, Byron called from outside and said that the family was also in two cars and had offered to bring some of the kids to the neighbor for us. What luck!!! I thanked them, though probably not enough, and let the three big kids go with them as soon as they were done eating.

While all of this was happening, our waitress came by a few times to refill drinks and take plates away. She noticed Byron's untouched burger and asked if anything was wrong with it. I explained that something blew in our van just when we pulled in and he was outside with the tow truck. She said she was sorry to hear that, smiled at the kids, and went about her business. At least that's what we thought.

After the big three were gone and I was in the process of cleaning up Liam, who had apparently felt the need to use the cheese sauce on his macaroni as body paint, the waitress came back to the table and said "I noticed you guys have all these kids here and it must be so stressful with what happened with your car. It seems like you've had enough bad luck, so I spoke with our manager and the restaurant would like to take care of your bill tonight." You could have knocked me over with a feather. To them it may not have been that big of a deal. To us, it was huge.

I feel like a few doors were slammed on me this week, but last night proved that every window was opened.

*The van didn't start having trouble until we got to a safe destination
*We had two cars with us
*We were parked next a mechanic that could give us wise advice
*Our friend answered his phone when we called
*There was a family we knew we could safely send our children home with
*Our neighbor was up late and willing to take on our three rascals for a few minutes while we tied up loose ends
*A waitress who didn't know us from Adam was attentive to what was going on, and found a way to do something nice for us

We are blessed.

1 comment:

rlsecor said...

It is a beautiful story of Heavenly Fathers love for your family - I admit I did breathe a huge sigh by the time I got to the end of it....
Geez Aimee, I don't know if you feel very amazing, but I see lots of amazing-ness in you. You've been given a lot, and you handle it beautifully.

Enjoy the breeze from those open windows while you let HF work on getting that darned door opened!