Monday, May 13, 2019

Scheduling for Success

Happy (Belated) Mother's Day to EVERY Lady!

Even if you haven't physically birthed children, I dare say you've mentored; encouraged; corrected; instructed; listened . . . all key elements in motherhood.  So, I applaud you today!

Our Mother's Day celebration will take place tomorrow.  (You know we're famous for pushing holidays to whatever day best suits all the adult calendars in our world.)  But I want to give you a peek behind the curtain of our hilarious weekend.

Many of you also read Smithellaneous, the blog written by my dear friend and co-grandmother, Becky Smith.  (Her son married our daughter almost eight years ago.  We now gladly share three, soon-to-be four, practically perfect grandchildren.  The grands all look like Becky's family but we KNOW Meagan birthed them.)

If you read both blogs, you know that the Smiths have had a weekend filled with sensational celebrating, sighing, smiling and even a bit of singing.  We all rejoiced in the college graduation of Sarah.  Nathan's younger sister is a walking testimony that God can, and does, intervene in our lives.  Sarah is a cancer survivor (in spite of her prognosis of 20% survival chance.)  A true miracle, according to the medical world.

Naturally, this Miracle Girl could not graduate from college without her precious brother and sister present.  So, plans began being formulated weeks ago for Meagan and Nathan to fly up to the graduation - WITHOUT children.  (Do you hear the music quietly opening in the background?)

The Senior Smiths graciously provided the air transportation.  All the arrangements providing for three little human beings (who love their own schedules and own beds) to successfully be without either for five days, rested on Meagan and Nathan.   (Dramatic music builds slightly.)

Thankfully, all three of my girls understand lists and scheduling and do not despise either.  Please be reminded that Joy has four children ages 8, 6, 4 and 2.  She works as a nanny for two more children ages 4 and 2.  Kristin has Parker who just turned 1.  Meagan cares for him each day (along with her three who are 5, 4 and 10 months) while Kristin works.  I remind you of all this information because it will help your frame of reference as we move forward.

Meagan and Nathan carefully plotted out the schedule for the days they would be away.  They packed clothes.  Meagan shopped for groceries so her children would have foods they especially enjoy.  They organized the most comprehensive childcare chart of all time.  Then they got into their sedan at 3AM on Friday and drove to the airport; never once looking back.  (Key change in music to heighten anticipation.)

Noni and Papa went into action beginning at 4AM with the first bottle for Grayson.  Madi and Noah found their way to our bed around 4:30.  "Noni," Madi gazed at me with a totally flat expression. "We can't see the sun so Mama always says we have to go back to sleep but Noah won't let me sleep." 

Papa and I threw back the covers on our kingsize bed and invited both babies to crawl in beside us.  We soon realized a kingsize bed is not big enough for two adults and two squirmy, sharp-elbowed little people.  We left it with the boys and I carried Madi back to the air mattress in the guest room.  She fell asleep just before Grayson woke again.  Right after his diaper change and bottle, it was time to get Noah ready for school.  And that was the first three hours of our five-day adventure.  (Did you hear the full-on musical transition to Flight of the Bumblebee?)

It had been agreed on that Joy and John would take the lion's share of time with the Smith siblings as children do tend to stay calmer with their own tribe around them.  Wanting to give them a break before it really got intense, we covered lunch.  That sounds simple enough until you process that it meant taking five small people (ages 10 months to five years) to a ridiculously crowded Chick-Fila where they gladly eat real chicken and play on the playground.

  • We had to park on the other side of the world!  So, Noni took the girls and Grayson . . . daring either of the girls to let go of my hand during our treacherous navigation of hungry drivers trying to get to the drive-through window.  We arrived safely inside where I stepped right into line to order.
  • Papa wrangled the two lively boys and bags of additional periphenalia across the parking lot.  His task was to locate a table where we could all sit together.  He waited patiently for a family to vacate one and as he moved toward it, a lady loudly protested.  She wanted the table!  My southern gentleman husband couldn't fathom me standing to feed all those babies . . . so he ignored her objection and occupied the only open table anyway.  Good Man!
  • I managed to order two sandwiches, thirty chicken nuggets, accompanying fries and two large sprites to be divided into the sippy cups my daughters provided.  Grayson and I moved to the table of dispute.  (The girls had already joined Papa and the boys on the playground.)
  • Papa reported breaking up only one fight while we waited for the food.  Once it was delivered, we stayed very calm for the disbursement phase but found ourselves saying the strangest things like, "Boys, get down out of the window!"  "Eeeww, no!  Don't eat that, it already dropped on your chair."  "Get your finger out of your nose, Sweetheart."  "Is he choking or laughing?"  "Don't shove your cousin's head down like that."  "Sauce is for the nuggets not your fingers."  
  • Finally, it seemed everyone had taken in some measure of nourishment.  Let's face it, this was about giving Joy a break.  These kids weren't going to starve if they didn't eat all thirty nuggets and accompanying fries.  
  • We cleaned the disputed table; located socks and shoes; collected peripheral bags and meal leftovers.  Papa bought ice cream to be given out after naps.  (Yes, it was bribery.  I have no shame!) That's when we made the treacherous trek back across the parking lot.  We were separated for a time but rendevous'd at the van just before the rain could start.
We safely delivered all five Smith and Schreck Littles back to Joy's just in time for naps.  Papa and Noni wasted no time kissing everyone good-bye then "skeedadling" back to our own silent, little abode.  We promptly climbed into our king size bed and took a much deserved nap of our own.

We offered to help with bath time on Saturday night, as well.  Oh my, what a hysterical couple of hours THAT was! Kristin had to miss one of her scheduled times as Parker decided to surprise them with upchucking his bottle all over her mother's day outfit.  So, we switched out once more.

Meagan and Nathan will be on their way home shortly.  Their flight doesn't arrive in Orlando until almost 11PM. (The scheduling called for a sitter who could stay the night with them.)  So later tonight, they will come home to tiny faces sleeping peacefully in their own beds.   Tomorrow morning, they will be back on track and we won't do this again until Smith baby #4 is born in September.

Bottom line, the scheduling worked!  Sarah was celebrated royally.  Meagan and Nathan had a little time to focus on just themselves before becoming a family of six.  Their three were reminded how much they are loved by all their extended family.  And we got a few more snuggles while they're still small enough to willingly share them.  

I call it a SUCCESS all the way around!

How about you?  What has to happen in order for you to travel?  Are you a "schedule lover" or a "free flow" kind of planner?  We'd love to read your comments in the section below . . .


  1. Sheri,

    You always write so descriptively so I can truly picture every single part of the story.
    It did my heart SO much good to see Nathan and Meagan be able to rest for a few days but I know that their rest meant that you all were working hard. Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping them to get here and for wrangling all those babies. Love and appreciate ALL of you!

    1. You guys set up the opportunity and we were the support team. So HAPPY for Sarah and her accomplishments! Love being part of the Smith Clan! :-)