SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Friday, June 6, 2008

Not Again!

There are people out there, mostly friends and acquaintances, (certainly not knowing family members) who have come to some sort of conclusion that I really have it all together as a mom. Notice: having eleven children does not mean you have it all together. In fact, it most likely means you have very little together and whatever you are bold enough to think you actually do have together is certain to be quickly unraveling.

Case in point. For several years I had the bad reputation (well deserved) for forgetting my children. Yes, I really would leave them, forget them, or just plain not notice that they had not made it into the van. Chet got left at church, Dana got left at a camp ground, Troy got left at the library, Dana got left at the library, Chet got left at Wal Mart, Troy got left at home. Do you notice a pattern? Children numbers 4, 5, and 6 when we had six, seven, or eight. There were some good excuses--counted heads and then Chet ducked out to go use the bathroom, Dad was driving and I assumed he was doing the counting, counted heads on the way out of the store and Chet ducked out again to use the bathroom. I usually discovered the absence quickly--OK, except for when I left the library, stopped at the grocery store, and drove ten miles before realizing that THREE YEAR OLD Troy was still at the library. That was in the days before cell phones and I deserved the agonizing drive back to town where I found him happily entertained by a librarian who should have a license for the "evil eye of disapproval" she gave to me. My favorite response, however, was 8-year-old Chet's when he was left at Wal Mart. We were on our way to the library and then to McDonald's. I only got about 1/4 mile from the store, turned around, and pulled up to see Chet calmly waiting on a bench at the store entrance. He hopped in and I asked how he had remained so calm. He responded, "Well, I just figured you would remember me when you were done eating and you saw that you had one hamburger leftover."

I finally got the brilliant idea of having everyone number off in birth order (wasn't that tough to figure out!) and they all had to count before I put the van in drive. One of Bryce's first words was "Eight!" By the time Lisa could chime in we were often missing 1, 2, 3, and 4 and since I had to really think about who was and wasn't with me I didn't have any more trouble leaving people.

Until last Wednesday. Of course, I should have realized that when Dad walked out of the house with four children and said, "I'm leaving" and my two daughters were in their room and planning to drive separately, and I had to grab the diaper bag and then run downstairs to grab diapers because the bag was empty, and I started the dishwasher and ran out to join my husband, and his car was gone, and I assumed he wanted to get going to pick up another son from the ball park and left me to go with the girls.....then I should have realized that he only took two children and left the other two in the van for me to drive! But, I didn't. At least, not until Owen met me at church and let me know that Bryce (11) and Gabe (2) were still home.

Unlike Troy, Bryce did not try to run to church. I've hammered it in--STAY IN ONE SPOT, I WILL COME BACK FOR YOU. And he did. He stayed right there in that van with Gabe until I pulled in the driveway. I could try numbers again but 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 might just confuse Gabe when he learns to count.


kristi noser said...

You are so wonderful. I love to read your stories. Your family remnds me of one we had at church that had six children. One was left at church once and the look of horror on the mom's face as she rushed back into the building was quite memorable.
We know you don't have it all together--what mom does?--but that's ok! YAY!

Keelie said...

You are the best mom to babysit for!:) You've made your own mistakes and are therefore very understanding when the babysitter makes one. Remember when Chet (wow, his name has come up a lot!) was on his way down the road and around the lake when I was babysitting, back when I believe there were only 5. At least 5 was all I was in charge of. You were so understanding when I told you about the incident, and I was so thankful!:)

Keithslady said...

Keelie, I knew you were already beating yourself up over the incident and just needed some understanding and encouragement. You were a very responsible babysitter and I loved having you!

Thanks, Kristi, for thinking I'm 'wonderful'! I'll just keep coming up with stories to keep you humored. There're plenty of them.

Marcia Wilwerding said...

Oh my, this brought back memories. Actually, it really has nothing to do with how many children you have, nor how old they are. We now have two at home most of the time, one 18 and one 15. We visited the library this winter, and the two kids went in while I finished up some business in the van. When I went in to use the restroom, dear daughter went to the van and asked dear son if he had seen Mom anywhere. I came out just then and got in the van, and we took off to pick up some meds at the doctor's office, then to the store across town. I asked dear son if he would grab something in particular for me in the store. No answer. Oh no! Where was he?!?! We rushed back to the library and found him reading a book at a table, oblivious of his "perilous" situation. Dear daughter and I are so used to him sitting all the way in the back of the van and mumbling inaudible answers that she actually thought he was in the van when she asked him where I was! He still hasn't forgiven me. :0)

Kara Jo said...

This is the best post ever!

I admit I have had the mistaken notion that you pretty much have it all together. You don't come across as holier than thou, I just assumed. But you must have something together to be raising such wonderful kids. I know, I know. It's God. But God also needs a willing vessel. :)

Thanks again for the post!

Kate said...

This was SO funny!!! I can't believe that you were ever lose anything!! I had my first experience with losing mine last Saturday. My 14 yr old was watching one of the 6yr old twins and I had the 12 yr old and thing 2 (you know, thing 1 and thing 2...Dr. Seuss). Anyway, we were leaving a wedding reception and all headed to the car. The walk to the car was long and beautiful. Nathan, Megan and I walked along blowing bubbles and walking on ledges, but when we got to the car, Sarah and Megan were not there? So we drove back to the wedding just in time for me to join the toasts and when the bride mentioned that she thought we had left, I said that I got to the car and realized that I was missing 2. They had gone right back to where we were sitting, which is really good advice. I do have to brag that this was the FIRST time that I have left any!! (If you knew me, you would understand). I love you Cindy!!

Keithslady said...

I love you, too, sister Kate! By the way, you just virtually forgot another child. Where was Rebecca through all of that, Thing 1 or Thing 2?