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Monday, May 19, 2014

21 Hours

This past Saturday my son had a choir festival to attend in Fullerton in the morning which would culminate in an awards ceremony at Disneyland in the evening - which meant several hours at Disneyland!!!  I easily could have sent him off and wished him "break a leg" but he keenly wanted me to go, so I agreed to be a driving mom.

We woke at 6am to be to school by 7am to pick up our other charges and transport them to the Festival by 9am.  Thinking it was silly to load a whole pot of coffee I set up my French press instead. And while shoving breakfast into my face the whistle blew on the kettle and I turned off the burner, not realizing until seconds before we left I neglected to actually pour any of the boiling water over the coffee.  Three minutes already late I notice my error and tried to make 'instant' coffee (forgetting that I actually HAVE instant coffee in my cupboard!) by pouring in some water and plunging madly for a few seconds, pour in travel mug and go.  It wasn't until we were well on the road that I tried it.  It was like someone gave me a cup of McDonald's coffee that'd been watered down.  The worst cup of coffee ever.

Surely, I thought, I would find some place nearby the Festival to get a decent cup of coffee - nope.  Surely, once we get to Disneyland I'll sneak away and get a nap - nope.  Or a Starbucks - nope.  As things go with days like this it was a whirlwind of warm up and prep and performance and then quick lunch, get to Disney, park, find friends, run, laugh, stand in line, rush to next ride.... It wasn't until 8pm that night that my son and I realized we were desperately hungry, tired, feet hurt, sleepy, and while we started off with two kids then at the park acquired two more, then lost three, then gained three more plus a parent to hang around with, then another couple of parents, then lost them all... that we finally decided to slow down and eat something and regroup before the awards ceremony.  By that time we were both cranky from hunger and snapping at each other. But finally I got my coffee!

At the awards ceremony his 6th grade choir placed first in their category and his school got a few other awards as well.  We were all excited, exhausted, and ready to go home when on the walk out of the auditorium we heard the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - working!  It had long lines all day, then closed, then opened again, then when we got in line closed not five minutes later.  So, even though it was already 11pm, and the three sets of parents of the kids I was transporting (I acquired another kid to drive home, in case you're counting) expected us back in Palm Desert somewhere around 12:30 am, we HAD to ride it.  And it was worth it.  And it was worth it to make sure each kid had a treat before we left, and mama/driver had a Starbucks (the one in Downtown Disney stays open an hour after the park closes - they know their audience!), and we got a picture of them in front of the lit up castle looking happy and proud, as they should be, even though by the time we were all loaded in the car and heading down the road it was already 12:30 am...

As I drove down the not nearly as deserted as I had expected highway towards home - pushing 20 hours awake by that time (with not nearly enough coffee, do I need to add that?), with four sleeping middle school kids in my charge, the thought came to me that I was once a kid just like them.  And some parent took me on field trips and excursions so that I could have great, long, exciting day like this one, and then sleep in the car on the way back, knowing that I would be magically transported home safely.  A wash of gratitude came over me that I could be that person for these four lovely little human beings, so they could rest, so they could dream about their day, and on Monday share how tired they had been arriving home at 2:30 in the morning on Sunday!  It was an attitude that I have been chasing for years, that everything is enough, that finally caught up with me.  It is the little things that matter the most. The very small big deals like getting a bunch of happy kids home in the middle of the night, and tired as you are, being glad to do it.

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