Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day of Firsts

Any time I see someone walking down a busy road with a little gas can in their hand, I think, What sort of idiot runs out of gas? I mean, I admit to generally driving around until my gas light comes on, but then I also generally get myself to a gas station at some point that day.

Yesterday, for the first time in my life, that idiot walking down a busy road with a little gas can in their hand was me.

I had driven to Jason's office to swap cars with him when he finished work so he could drive the girls back home and do dinner and bedtime while I could continue on to Holland and get my hair cut. When I got in his car in Grandville, it said 40 miles until empty. I drove (the 15 miles or so) to Holland, stopped at the Gap Outlet to do a few returns, and then got in it again. Now, it said 20 miles until empty. I called my stylist's cell phone and left the following message:

Hey Amanda! I'm just going to get gas and go through the Starbucks drive thru, and then I'll be there right on time, so call me if you want me to bring you a beverage!
I hung up my phone, turned onto James Street, and the car coasted to a stop. For a minute, it didn't even occur to me that the car had run out of gas. (It still said 20 miles to go!) I pushed on the accelerator and wondered what was wrong with it. I put it in park, turned off the car, and tried to restart it. I said the f-word. And only then did I realize that I had become the idiot who runs out of gas.

I set off on foot for the nearest gas station - which was in sight but across a busy highway - and paid $8.00 for a little 2-gallon red gas can and filled it with gas. Then I lugged the gas can back across the highway, praying fervently the whole time that nobody I knew would see me. When I got back to the car, which I had left sitting in a lane of traffic on James Street with its hazards on, there was a friendly Ottawa County sheriff waiting for me. He was nice about it and all, asking me if I was a tourist in town for Tulip Time, but I was totally mortified because, again, who runs out of gas?????

Interestingly, after I filled the tank with the two gallons from my little gas can and went on my merry way, the car said 15 miles until empty. Something is not adding up there, Audi, and I am suspicious of you.


Also yesterday, I did Level 3 of The Shred workout for the first time. I've been alternating between levels 1 and 2 for the past few weeks, and I can finally (mostly) do them both the whole way through. I made it through Level 3, too, if by "made it though" we mean "did it with all the possible wuss modifications." I hate mountain-climbers; I hate doing jumping jacks with 5-lb. weights in my hands and feeling as though I am under water; I hate plyometrics and traveling push-ups and being in plank position for what feels like years. But I love how much stronger I feel than just a month ago and how much faster I can run when I really try.


I have these moments when I do something that feels incredibly mom-like and even as I'm doing the thing, a small part of my brain is watching from afar and going, I can't believe you're doing that mom-like thing. I remember touring a babysitter through our house for the first time - "Here are the diapers and wipes; the emergency numbers are on the fridge; help yourself to anything to eat . . ." - and I remember Annie's first preschool open house. When Jemma gets chocolate ice cream on a white shirt, I whip it off her head and run it under cold water. I prompt my children with the words, "What do you say?" when they forget a thank-you. I lick my thumb and use it to get peanut butter off Annie's cheek.

And I think a did another mom thing for the first time yesterday when I sat on our front steps and talked to Annie about why she can't get her ears pierced yet. I talked about how different families make different choices about money, chores, food, church, vacations, sports, clothes, manners, sleepovers, dating, bedtimes, and, yes, pierced ears. I said that we expected her to act a little bit more like a responsible girl - one who does her best to follow basic rules and takes good care of her things (the implied subtext being instead of spreading them around the house and never, ever putting things back where they belong, ahem). I said that some families get their daughter's ears pierced when they are babies and some girls have to wait until they are in high school and everywhere in between.

She sat quietly, if grumpily, and listened. Then I said that I had felt exactly the same way she does when I was a girl and Aunt Connie got to get her ears pierced a little sooner than my parents would allow me, and the look of disgust and annoyance that Annie gave me when I threw that bit of Mom Wisdom out there is pretty much what I'm going to be looking at for, oh, the next thirteen years or so.


  1. Oh man, I can already see that mom-like side of me and I don't even have kids yet. I'll think to myself, "I would never let MY child play that extremely violent war-like video game," even though I'm sure all his friends would be allowed to play it and he would despise me for being strict, uncool, etc. I distinctly remember my parents saying things like "Well, we're not other parents" and "Because I said so" and "If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?" (I SWEAR I'll never use that last one... how is going to the mall the same as throwing yourself off a cliff? One is fun; the other would result in broken bones or, you know, death.)