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A place for everything and everything in its place. It’s the mantra my mother taught me as a child. It’s something I should be teaching my girls. Well, I’m still learning it myself.
Keeping all of my personal belongings together isn’t that hard. But trying to keep up with my things plus a toddler’s things and a baby’s things (like diapers, wipes, training pants, extra clothes, burp cloths, sippy cups, rash cream, hair bows, my nursing cover, blankets, pacifiers, snacks … on every outing)? That’s a different story.
But I’m making progress. An incident a few weeks put a kick-start in me to make sure I always have what I need for the girls the night before the three of us have to be somewhere the next morning.
One night, I locked my keys in the car. I didn’t know they were in the car until I was out the door with the girls at 8:45 a.m. I was balancing the baby carrier on one arm, my toddler on one hip, coffee in my hand, and then it hit me: Where was the diaper bag? It was in the car … with my keys. My keys were in the diaper bag!
I was supposed to volunteer at Mother’s Morning Out at 9 a.m., and now we had no way to get there.
I called my mom. She was still in her pajamas – and she doesn’t have a car seat for the baby anyway.
I didn’t have anyone’s phone number because we were new to the group. I wondered if I should try walking. The church is within walking distance from my house. But I’d have to cross two busy roads with two kids in tow. But I figured it was worth a try.
Then I realized: The double stroller was in the car … locked in the car … with the diaper bag … with the keys.
I called the police. My baby was crying. My toddler was screaming.
“Is there a child locked in the car?” the operator asked.
“We don’t do that unless there’s a child in the car. Here’s the number for a locksmith.”
I called the locksmith.
“How much does it cost to unlock a minivan?”
“Um, nevermind. My husband would kill me.”
Only five minutes or so had passed, but I just knew they were going to kick us out of Mother’s Morning Out for not showing up.
I called the church. The secretary didn’t have the director’s number either, but she walked to the room and waited until someone arrived to tell them of my predicament.
Another mom called me back.
“I’ll come get you when someone else gets here and can watch my kids,” she said.
I told her we’d be standing in the yard – the backyard. We didn’t have a key to the front door.
I watched her drive by three times before I could flag her down.
Finally, we met up. I hooked my 4-month-old into her 4-year-old’s car seat. The straps were just a “little” loose. The mom got my toddler situated in her other car seat.
We finally made it to Mother’s Morning Out. No, we didn’t get kicked out. The mom who picked me up laughed with me. She’s got two little ones, too – ages 3 and 4.
“This is the life of a mom,” she said. “You just roll with it.”
As I write this, Mother’s Morning Out is in the morning. And, yes, I’ve already checked to make sure my diaper bag and keys are in the house.
They’re sitting right by the front door. A place for everything, and everything in its place.
This column first appeared in the April 8 edition of the Mooresville Weekly.