Saturday, May 30, 2009
Calculated Risks and an Unexpected Reward
Today I was feeling strong and well enough after my recent histamine attack to take my children to a "Safe Kids" Fair in the neighboring town. We got an ad for it that mentioned they would give away 200 free bike helmets. My 7 year-old son really wanted one (that's him in the picture with his little sister). I have been so sick lately and haven't done any outings that I felt this would be great, since it was free, fun, and close by, and would win points with my son if he got a helmet.
This one of those outings where I knew we should have left earlier to get in line, but I wanted to get certain things done before we left. As we were leaving I had all these thoughts like, "Are you sure you don't want to bring the stroller?" "What if the three-year-old gets tired of walking?" "Should I carry my bag so that I have my water and tissues close by?" "If you take the stroller then you will have a place to hang your bag." "Are you sure you are up to all this walking (being hugely pregnant and just recovered from an illness)?" "What if the two little ones (ages 3 and 4) have a potty accident?" "Are you sure you don't want to take sunblock?" A mother of young children taking them on an outing must go through more decisions and make more calculated risks than a general going into battle.
Then I had to figure out where to park and then find the gathering. Even though I wanted to park the closest parking I could to the event, the park was so big and I couldn't see all the events going on, so I ended up parking close to some other event and we had to walk clear across the park to get to the fair. Of course, since I am 6 months pregnant and have a bladder the size of a walnut, I had to find a restroom, even though I went right before getting into the car. So I sent the kids on ahead to find the line for the bike helmets. (ages 11, 7, 3 and 4; the oldest two, ages 13 and 15, are at a Shakespeare camp)
By the time I got out and found the line for the helmets and the kids amongst the hundreds of people, they were gawking at the BMX riders doing stunts and the two little ones had taken their shoes off. (Ugh!) I showed the 7-year-old where to stand in line to wait while the 11-year-old helped put shoes back on. Then the question was what to do while the 7-year-old waited. I did not want to stand in the mile-long line with my two little ones or check out all the booths. Someone announced free snow cones. Aha! So even though I am not found of snow cones because of artificial dyes and the petroleum that's probably in them (see my friend's web site at gotpetroleum.blogspot.com) I decided the possible poison was worth the risk. I am sometimes such a food purist even though I have never noticed any reactions in my kids after ingesting food dyes.
After we got the snow cones, as we were walking back to the shady spot to watch my son stand in line and have a place to sit, I was congratulating myself on keeping track of my two little ones through the milling throng of people by holding on to their bodies and then all of a sudden, the three-year-old was lost! Oh great! i started looking while keeping my eye on the 4-year-old. Thankfully, I finally found my little girl in some concerned bystander's arms.
In the end, the 7-year-old did not get the bike helmet. If we had arrived perhaps five minutes earlier, if I had parked somewhere closer, and if he gone to the line right away perhaps he would have gotten it. Thankfully, nobody had any potty accidents. We were subjected to loud music and gyrations of prepubescent girls in the dance show. The kids, however, each got a free helium balloon as we were leaving. Of course, being a mother of six, I know how easy it is to lose a helium balloon from the event to the car, and that even if you tie it on the wrist, you then have to deal with untying it to get the child's arm into the car seat straps. We were on our way home, still with balloons, but on the way to the house from the car a balloon got away, despite my efforts. Oh well. I started thinking, maybe the 7-year-old will give his balloon to his sister who just lost hers. Dare I hope for that?
Yes, he did. That was the biggest award of all, to witness my son's unselfish act. I didn't even have to ask. I started wondering if I could be as unselfish with something that means just as much to me as that balloon meant to him, even after I have lost out on something I really wanted, like he did with the helmet. So even though I as a mother deal with so many calculated risks, disappointments, and frustrations, I get a lot of unexpected rewards and examples from my children to draw me closer to Christ and become more like Him. What more can I ask?