The Little Engine That Could is one of my very favorite books from my childhood. I thought the pictures were beautiful and I still love those familiar pages. I was fascinated by the engine of the passenger train that thought he was much too fancy to pull the train of wonderful things to the good boys and girls on the other side of the mountain. The big freight engine was too important to help out, and the rusty old engine was just too tired. They were all bigger, stronger and better equipped to pull the goods than the Little Blue Engine, but she knew she was needed and was willing to give it her best shot. "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can," she said over and over as she carried the load.
It's this "little blue engine" line of thinking that is often to blame for my frequent tardiness and busy days. I think I can do it all. The last 24 hours have been a perfect example of this. In fact so much so that I thought I'd document a day in the life. Here's a little glimpse of my comings and goings starting around 3 in the afternoon yesterday. It started with a trip to the gas station for a soda, then to the school to drop off shorts and running shoes, next the car wash, Costco, home to grab clean clothes for Brynne (blog post on just that to follow shortly) and finally to the park. Then it was back to the house to return Garrett from a field trip, unload the Costco purchases and then off to the vitamin shop and the grocery store, then back home to finish making dinner. Just as it was almost done, Garrett needed to get to rugby. We ate dinner, did the dishes and 2 more loads of laundry. I left again to drop off money to a babysitter, pick up Garrett from Rugby, then pick up Drew from a friends, before coming home again. I dropped off the boys and went back out to drop off bags left at our house over the weekend by the kids friends. Once I got home I realized I had forgotten to return the Red box movies, so I reluctantly left yet again. At 9 I was finally home for the night. More laundry, dishes and general pick up of the house, an hour of trying to figure out EFY sessions for the boys on the computer, then scriptures and prayers and kids to bed. By 11 everyone was settled and I put away a bit more laundry and eventually curled up with a book to unwind. At midnight Carter called and a little before 1am we hung up and I decided to try for some sleep. I couldn't. My mind would not slow down, turn off, stop thinking, and stop remembering. When my alarm went off at 5:45 am to wake Wes for seminary I was sure I'd had a total of maybe 2 1/2 hours of sleep. I felt like the rusty old engine. I'm certain I looked like him too.
When Wes was ready to go to the church I rolled back out of bed, wrapped a blanket around my shoulders, slid into my slippers and stumbled out the door. My phone rang half way to the church. It was my friend who recently had major surgery and has been miserable in her recovery. Through her tears she explained that she hadn't slept the night before. She was in incredible pain and needed to go to the hospital immediately. Could I take her kids to my house and take her to the hospital? Of course I can, of course I can, of course I can!
I went straight to her house from the church and gathered her and her two kids and raced out the door, grabbing sports gear, clothes etc. I sent her kids into my house to make lunches and finish getting ready for school with my kids and my new helper girl while I took their mom to the hospital. She threw up into a bucket 3 times on the drive there, and just as we were pulling in to the hospital the bucket dumped onto my rubber floor mats. Poor girl felt horrible, and I felt so bad for her! As we sat in the lobby waiting for admitting orders from her doctor, a couple walked in and glanced over at us. My poor friend was doubled over in pain clutching her bucket wearing a large down quilted bathrobe, and all of a sudden I was painfully aware of what a mess I was! Sweat pants, slippers and a thin hooded sweatshirt. I hadn't brushed my teeth or even run my fingers through my bed hair, I wasn't even wearing a bra! I was relieved when they called her back and got her situated. I promised to grab her two dogs from her house and call her dog sitter to come pick them up and then I was headed home to get 5 more kids off to school. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
While driving home from the hospital Tara called, we hadn't missed the deadline for Provo EFY registration after all. It was in 15 minutes. It would fill within minutes and I still had to log into the site, enter in the registration information, and coordinate with Wes' friend to make sure the first and second choice dates would work for all of us. School started in 45 minutes. I would have to get the dogs afterwards. Registering two boys and coordinating things was crazy and the site was so busy that I couldn't even log on. By 8:15 all of the spots in Provo were taken and I was barely able to open the page to register the first of the two boys. We were back to choosing another location and I was trying to convince Brynne to get dressed and eat breakfast. Miraculously the kids all made it out the door and off to school on time. Nine phone calls later and countless text messages, we had settled on dates and I had one son registered and was on hold to log in for the 2nd one. I had a class at the gym at 9 that I really needed to get to if I ever wanted my clothes to fit again. I could squeeze it into my schedule. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
Garrett had stayed home from school with a sore throat but I put him to work anyway. I gave him the credit card and described the steps for registering and raced off to the gym a few minutes after the class had started. I was late but I had made it. Unfortunately I was interrupted to answer Garrett's questions via text and phone calls SEVEN times. Yep I was that annoying chick who answered her phone in the middle of class. Desperately embarrassing. Luckily the music was loud enough to drown out my voice. Just before class ended I got a text from the dog sitter saying she was on her way to pick the dogs up from my house but they weren't even there yet! I had her meet me at my friend's house immediately after class. We walked in to find dog poop, bloody dog poop, all over the floor. I sent her and the dogs off to her house, and began cleaning the mess. I gagged cleaning up the bloody dog stools! When that mess was finally cleaned up there were grody paper towels in the trash and soiled rags that needed laundering, and my friend wasn't going to be home for a few days. I couldn't just leave them, so I stayed and got a load of laundry going, dishes washed and the trash out, and then I remembered my puke covered car mat. Might as well take care of that right now too since I was already kinda nasty. I just tried to hold my breath and started scrubbing. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
As I was pulling out of her driveway, just after 11am, Garrett called me again. "Mom I never did finish that registration because I didn't know what you wanted me to put for the roommate thing and you told me to stop calling and wait til you got home. Are we even going to be able to register now?" I raced home and opened the page. It had timed out and everything had to be reentered. Then there was a complication with the dates and more discussions with the kids about when they could go. At 11:45 operation registration was finally completed. Only problem was that I was due at a lunch appointment in 15 minutes. I smelled of sweat, cleaning supplies, and still a faint aroma of either the poop or puke I wasn't quite sure, either way it wasn't pretty. I had to get ready and FAST! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
At 12:15 I had showered, done my hair and makeup, and all that was left was to get dressed. Ha! Nothing in my closet fits right now. I was in and out of three pairs of pants and several tops. In the end I left the house a little after 12:30, luckily wearing pants that fit, but a top that really should have been ironed first and a cardigan that wasn't really working with the top I had underneath it. I didn't have time to worry about it. I had to just let it go and get out the door. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
As I sit here tonight, my house is clean, all of my laundry is done, and my family had a nice home made meal. Everyone got to everywhere they needed to be sports, piano, friends houses etc. My sons are registered for sports camps and EFY sessions for the summer with friends and cousins. I had great visits with two of the friends I visit teach each month. I squeezed in a good workout. My friend is in the care of doctors at the hospital and out of pain. Her kids made it to school and are with their dad. Her dogs are happy with the dog sitter, and when she comes home, it will be to a clean house. So, it was a little busy this morning. So, some of the jobs were pretty gross. So, I was late to lunch. So, I'm deliriously tired. So what? So I didn't look as fancy as some of the other trains in the yard. So I might not be as important, organized, and timely as some of the other trains. I might be old and rusty, sweaty and stinky, or just plain tired. But, somehow I squeezed it all in. I was able to serve people I love. It's the best way I know how to show my love. Sometimes my life and all my activities might resemble a bit of a circus or look like the cars in the train below. But I just can't imagine what I might cut out. Go ahead, try telling me I can't do it all. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!