I had a heapin' helpin' of humility for dinner last night. Well, actually, I had McDonald's, but that's another story. This story actually began in the morning. The girls had their two-month checkup at the pediatrician yesterday, so we had an early start. After breakfast (once for me, twice for them) and a quick bath, we headed out. Both girls were hungry and fussy when we left, but I figured I could kill some time waiting in the exam room by nursing them. As it turned out, I was right. The doctor was running behind and I had ample time to feed them. For a solo trip to the pediatrician with two-month-old twins, it went splendidly. There were a few moments where I felt like I needed four more hands, but only a few.
It went so well, in fact, that I decided to follow through with the rest of my plan and run errands. As both girls dozed in their carseats, I snapped them into their stroller and pushed them through TJ Maax. We didn't find what we were looking for, and there were a few fussy moments, but it went well enough that we continued on to Safeway. This was a deviation from the original plan, which had called for driving out to Winco, but I felt nervous about adding so many complications. Besides being three times the size of your average grocery store, Winco requires that you bag your own groceries and doesn't offer any help loading them. I decided we'd be better off spending a bit more and having some service.
After a quick diaper change in the Safeway parking lot, I loaded Erin's carseat in the shopping cart and snuggled Emily in the baby sling. Emily really enjoys riding in the sling, so I figured this was the best arrangement. They really ought to make carts large enough for two carseats . . . but I digress.
I did make a critical error before I headed to the grocery store, and that was not making a list. I had an idea of what we really needed, and I improvised the rest. Not having the list, however, meant that we paused often. Every time we paused, the girls would stir, and I was reminded that we shopped on borrowed time. After about half an hour, they both started to fuss. I walked purposefully toward the far end of the store for the bread and coffee creamer, decided to pass on a gallon of milk (too much weight for the bottom of the stroller at home) and headed to the checkout line, fully expecting the worst.
But it didn't happen. Instead, I got pulled to a new checkout line and was out of the store and on my way home within ten minutes. By that time, both girls were howling, but I managed to soothe them somewhat while getting all of the groceries loaded in the bottom of their stroller. I sped up to our apartment as fast as I could, changed two diapers, and got them nursing on the twin pillow. Once they were done, I put them to nap in the swing and the chair so I could finish putting groceries away and get some chores done. They snoozed obligingly. I opened drawers and shut doors. They slept peacefully.
I felt like Supermom. I wanted to tell everyone. My Facebook status from a little while later read,
"Pretty productive day so far! Took the girls for their two-month checkup this morning, then to TJ Maax and Safeway. We even managed to get all the groceries upstairs in the bottom of the stroller! Now they are napping in the bouncy chair and the swing, watching me put groceries away and clean the kitchen. FTW!"
The feeling, alas, was fleeting. After about 15 minutes, just long enough for me to get most of the food put away, the girls had had enough of their naps. After all, they'd slept for almost two and a half hours earlier. They fussed and cried. I tried trading the chair for the swing, making the swings move, and adding toys. They would have none of it. We moved back to the couch and their pillows, and I spent the afternoon soothing one after the other. At nine pm, I still hadn't even eaten dinner. Dan picked up McDonald's for me on the way home from his softball game. I felt completely and utterly human.
Being reminded of our humanity is not a bad thing. It stung to go from feeling so perfect to feeling like a failure in just a few hours, but I found myself praying fervently for a moment of peace yesterday, just a moment. Did I pause to say a prayer of thanks in the morning? No. It's during the stormy moments that we're reminded of how much we need God, how we cannot live without him. We need His help, and He deserves our gratitude for his blessings. Sometimes, I have to be reminded of that. My heapin' helpin' of humility last night was like the proverbial bowl of canned spinach - it didn't taste good, but it was certainly good for me. The next time I'm cruising down the aisle with two sleeping babies, I'll remember to pause and say, "Thank you."