Today I had a car.
This only means one of three things:
a) my dear mother-in-law is giving me a mental health break by watching the girls
b) Ben has the day off from work
c) one of the girls is sick and I'm going to the doctor.
And the correct answer is C!
That's right. Leah has been coughing up a lung every night for two weeks or so now, so we decided it was time to seek some medical advice. The doctor was on the verge of declaring me an over-cautious mother when he glanced in her ear. And stared a while at the Milky Way galaxy. The other one had the same yuckiness, so she was diagnosed with a double ear infection.
After a trip to the pharmacy, which I had chosen based solely on its juxtaposition with the post office, I grabbed a couple boxes out of the car to deliver to the postmaster. Mind you, it's drizzling, and the girls are hungry. It's 12:30 in the afternoon, and they have not eaten lunch. I instruct Grace to take Leah's hand and hold onto my skirt. Those boxes? Oh yeah, one was the size of a refrigerator and weighed nearly the same. We hobbled across the parking lot, leaving only a small grassy plot left to the front door. A man is standing at the door, talking on his cell phone, so I'm confident he'll help me get the door open. I can taste success by this time.
I look down and see Leah crouching in the grass to pick up something small, white....and oh no! It's a cigarette butt. With both hands occupied, I tell Leah, "Don't touch, Leah, yucky!" She ignores me with single-minded determination. Thinking quickly, I attempt to step on the cigarette butt, but she is too fast for my slow reflexes. My toe engages her little index finger and immediately loosens howling wails of protest and pain. I finagle the boxes between my thigh and one arm, grab my poor, sick, now-wailing, hungry child by the non-injured hand, and offer her pitiful little apologies and comforts as I dash for the door, calling Grace to follow along.
I get to the door, and the Mr.-Engaged-in-a-Deep-Cell-Phone-Conversation-Man is so engrossed in his discussion, he doesn't notice the howling child and distressed, over-loaded mother trying to get the door open right next to him. As I roll my eyes, I again shift the boxes against my very ample hip and manage to get a hand almost to the door handle. Just then, Mr. Cell Phone snaps out of his little world, and grabs the door for me. I step in with a sigh of relief and immediately drop the boxes. Leah, still wailing, clings to my skirt. I pick her up and look ahead to see the line is backed up all the way to the inner door, about 8 or 9 people deep.
I sighed, wondering what possessed me to think 12:30 pm was a good time to come to the post office. A gentleman and lady step in line behind me. Their conversation strikes me immediately as the type that occurs between two acquaintances who would like to become something more. As I struggle to move the box which is now resting stubbornly on the floor, Mr. Nice Guy behind me offers to hold it for me while we wait. He generously suggests that it's no trouble at all because it now gives him justification to be there. Obviously, he's looking for a reason to stay.
Waiting in line, I listen bemusedly to snippets of conversation like "Did you know I love Elvis?" "No really?! You're never going to believe this, but so did my aunt!" and "My word! Aren't those girls adorable and such lovely matching hats..." and "I never knew our birthdays were so close--just a month apart!!" and "Do you think I should pick up some boxes and more stamps?" and (my personal favorite) "I never got to see Elvis in person because I was born in '78, and I know you didn't either, because you weren't born until like '89, right?" Mr. Nice Guy, obviously fishing for the lovely lady's age by disguising it as a compliment on her youthfulness, gets no bites. She smiles and evades his obvious intent by bemoaning her sore luck in never getting to see the King live. He's an avid fisherman and tries again with the same bait, "Oh wait, it was '85?!" She gives up and lets him reel her in. "No, actually, I was born in '80, but I was really close to being '81!" He doesn't get it. He hesitates, "Almost '81?" She spells it out for him, explaining her birthday is December 24, (which she had already shared) hence her declaration of "close to '81'". I chuckle inside, wondering if he know how close he is to losing his current favored status.
Meanwhile, Leah determines her injuries are not life-threatening, and settles for an occasional whimper. The line gradually inches to the counter. Mr. Nice Guy deposits the refrigerator box onto the counter for me, with only a slight flex of the muscles for his lovely lady's appreciation. I buy my stamps, pay for my boxes, and wish my best for the fledgling romance behind me.
We retreat to McDonald's, and I assuage my motherly guilt with a bribe of French fries. The girls, happily munching, heartily agree to forgive and forget.
It's a good day.