Karen plopped down on Karyn’s outdoor love seat with a warm cup of tea in one hand and a toddler squirming in the other. “Oh for goodness sake, Karen, let the kid run around!” Karyn urges her friend. Karen looks up at Karyn unsure of how to respond. “Seriously, I don’t care if he breaks something, we all have kids here.” Karyn reassures her. Karen takes that as an OK and puts him down, ever so gently. Because if you place a kid on the ground softly, he might take that as a sign that he is to follow suit. Not this kid, though. Dillon quickly found some entertainment in chasing the crickets that hopped by while the two friends talked. “You’ll never believe what Ron said to me this morning.” Karyn chimed. “Apparently, I don’t give him enough attention.” She rolled her eyes and held her breathe for a few seconds, almost as if to find a much needed follow up. “He left for work early this morning after I declined his invitation for sex.” Karen burst out laughing, nearly spilling her tea on her yoga pants. “Carson and I had that same squabble two days ago!” Karen freely adds, continuing “It’s like they except to come home to a shiny and put together house as well as fed and happy children. One or the other, dude.” “And shaven legs and a waiting vagina.” Adds Karyn. The two friends laugh at each other’s attempts at mocking their spouses, but ultimately agree that they could try harder to please their husbands. “You know what I read the other day, Karyn?” Karen goes on, not waiting for a response, “that, like, 3 out of 5 women don’t want anything to do with sex after they have children.” The two sit in silence for a moment, Karyn sipping from her tea, thinking. “Well that’s got me written all over it.” She admits, somberly. “Yea, me too.” Says Karen.
Little Dillon interrupts the two as he scurries on by chasing a bumble bee. Karen jumps up, setting her glass of tea on the side table as careful as she can, “I better take care of this one.” Karyn smiled and nodded in agreement as she picked up her phone. She scrolled through her apps to get in a quick session of Facebook when the Lord spoke. Just kidding, her husband was calling. But Karyn likes to think that God is always trying to get her to stay off of social media by throwing road blocks in the way, and her husband calling at this exact moment was no exception, she laughed. “Hey honey” he was heard from the other end. “Would you be able to bring me the food that I left in back fridge? We need it for Guy’s Getaway tonight.” Karyn’s husband worked at the church and helped organize the men’s retreats twice a year. It was a big todo. He planned for months in preparation to bring an incredible event that had Christ written all over it to the guys that came. Last retreat the pastor had 12 men give their lives to God, which is pretty significant beings an average of 300 men come to Guy’s Getaway. Karyn was always so proud of her husband and his servant heart–except on the occasions he roped her in to watch twenty five 2-year-olds who showed up with crappy attitudes and crappy pants. “Lord help me” she’d pray before entering the smelly room.
Karen went her way and Karyn went hers–loading up the van with the food her hubby needed delivered to the church. “Mmm” she thought as she noticed a box of mushrooms, perfect for those lobster stuffed mushrooms she used to order at a local restaurant. But, alas. She hasn’t partaken in any mushroom hourdervs since her youngest inherited his dad’s allergy. A girl can dream–and Karyn loves to dream! She got the van loaded up and was headed out the driveway almost right behind Karen. “How cute!” She told herself, “best friends in their matching mini vans.” She laughed as she thought of how that happened. Purely coincidental. Karen’s husband had showed up at their house one day with a new vehicle. Just like that, magic! Karen hated it with all her might. How dare Carson force her to ride around in a mom-mobile! About four months later, Rob and Karyn decided to reduce their amount of debt–you know, Dave Ramsey style–and sell what whatever they owed money on. So out went the shiny vehicles and in came the not-as-shiny, 10 years older, second-hand whips. Karyn’s van didn’t match Karen’s in year, but it did match in color and attitude!
Karyn’s love for daydreaming sometimes got her into a bit of a pickle, and this time it came in the form of flashing red and blue lights behind her enchanting mom van. As she made her way to the side of the street, she went over everything that she may have done wrong. “Was I speeding?” “Do I have a brake light out?” “Are my kids throwing stuff out the window?” “Oh, wait. I don’t have my children.” (Sometimes she forgets.) She watched as the officer got out of his car and walked to hers. She couldn’t help but wonder if the officer had a sense of humor. She hoped so. As he approached her open window, Karyn looked up at him and studied his face for a moment. He didn’t seem to be very outgoing, she thought. He looked her dead in the eyes and asked her why she was speeding. Karyn felt obligated to bring a smile to this baby officers face. She knew it could end badly but she proceeded anyway. So, she looked him dead in the eyes and said “officer, I am transporting mushrooms.”
She was right, he did laugh–after he searched her vehicle. She made it to church just in time to repent of her wrongdoing–of speeding–obviously. She felt zero remorse for giving the young officer a little scare just now, he needed it, keeps him on his toes.
Meanwhile, in Karen’s van, she is fighting a battle not many moms have won, or walked away from unscathed. Her child actually was throwing something out the widow, a shoe to be exact. You know those toddler shoes that you see along side the road? Yea, chances are half of those belong to Dillon. “You put that shoe down right now, Dillon, or so help me God I will pull this van over” Karen threatened. She was able to roll up the window and lock it before he could get the 10th pair of Nikes’ out the window. But now, Dillon was aiming for her. Every mom’s nightmare–when we actually have to come through on our threat. Karen pulled the van to the side of the road, stopping before her breaks had a chance to ease into it–she needed that extra jolt of fear to convince Dillon of the hammer that was about to be laid down. He threw the shoe anyway. At her head. Cars passed, and cars slowed down to gawk at the chaos that was taking place inside the van. Karen had to admit that as much as she despised this van, it did allow for a quick move to the back to straighten out her child’s shocking, yet expected behavior. And to think, she still has to go to the grocery store with this kid. Eye roll.
As Karen drives to the store, she thinks about the dreaded outcome of having to chase after Dillon with a full shopping cart. She says a little prayer, asks for patience, and pulls into the crowded parking lot of the local grocery store. At least there’s no homeless people sitting outside, she thinks to herself. Last time Dillon encountered them sitting on the benches, he ran up and stole their money right out of their jar! Talk about embarrassing, Karen remembers. There is no better way to get over embarrassment than to have kids, she knows that to be true. Dillon loads himself up in the fireman cart and proceeds to press the horn with his forehead, much like a crash dummy would. Karen smiles and waves at the onlookers as she pushes their 2-foot wide cart through a 2.3-foot-wide greeting card aisle. And wouldn’t you know it, the cart just has to have a wobbly, self-steering wheel. Nonetheless, off the two go, down the aisle–Dillon batting thank-you cards of the rack as if his hand was a baseball bat. Karen steering the cart with all her might–and the other shoppers trying their best to look away, while using their peripherals. “This is my life” Karen mutters under her breathe and breathes a sigh of relief as she acknowledges that life could be a lot worse. “THANK YOU, GOD FOR THIS MESS!” She yells unapologetically. Other customers look at her as if she’s lost her mind–but to Karen, it is them who have lost it. She laughs to herself and accepts that this is life as she knows it.