I am sure I've used this quote to anchor a blog post before, but I decided not to look, to save myself from the concern about being unoriginal. I channel Anne Lamott on most days in some way or another, so she's the original and I'm learning from the best.
Regarding that, I recently read and was inspired by these words of instruction in the book on my nightstand. I love the book so much that I've magically found time to read during the daytime hours as well this past week.
This past Sunday afternoon, Annie was yet again my brilliant mentor. I had taken the kids to a Greenville Drive baseball game / birthday party for a friend from church. It was our first local baseball game, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I just knew that with TJ away for work and lots of kid time on my hands, it would likely be a worthwhile effort to push myself to do something different and hopefully fun, to "experience the experience," as Gretchen Rubin says.
Right away, we found a good parking spot on the street and had to walk only a couple blocks to the stadium. I found out upon arrival that you aren't allowed to bring in any bags or purses unless they are see-through. So back to the van we walked to leave my purse there.
To the stadium, take two. I found out later they don't check party gift bags or wrapped gifts, so go figure. Anyway, we were in, and my pockets were full of sunscreen, game tickets, a granola bar, keys, and my phone. The kids went straight to the playground to get hot and sweaty, and I found my friend Kristy (the mom of the birthday boy) to talk to. A bit later, I was in conversation with another kid's dad when Sailor came over crying and saying she fell. I wasn't sure what had happened, but I leaned down to check on her, give her a hug, and lead her to a shady spot away from the playground. I saw a little blood in her mouth, but didn't want to scare her by making a big deal out of it so we just sat in the shade and waited for the party to get under way.
Ten minutes later, Sailor started to ask about the funny taste in her mouth. I asked her what she tasted and she said bananas. At that point, I wanted to see where the blood was coming from, so I asked her to stick out her tongue, and oh dear! That's when I realized she must have taken a hard fall because her tongue was bitten deeply on both sides and was bleeding profusely. I am surprised she could actually keep swallowing so much blood. Poor thing.
Right away, I took her to the first aid station, where they tried to stop the bleeding. They washed out her mouth, tried to swab her tongue with orajel, and inspected the wounds closely with a flashlight. The EMT said there isn't much a doctor would do, and they thought she would be okay without me taking her in. So we left with a cup of ice water, some gauze, another packet of orajel for later, and even more stuffed pockets than before.
Back at the party picnic tables, the kids had started eating their hotdogs, chips, and juice, soon followed by Darth Vader cake. Sailor was only able to drink her juice and try a couple tiny pieces of watermelon. After that, it was just ice cubes. Surprisingly, she cried very little even though her tongue continued to bleed for the next three hours! She was one brave little girl.
The baseball game had started at this point, and the sky was getting darker by the minute. As raindrops started to fall, the adults moved the picnic table of food and gifts under a covered area of the stadium. I could tell we would need to leave soon, but I didn't take the cues soon enough. By the time our gift had been opened, and I had gathered the box lunch Sailor couldn't eat and made sure I had all the important stuff still in my pockets, it had started to really rain. This is when I realized it was a blessing, not a curse, that I couldn't have my leather purse in tow. I had nothing to worry about getting wet other than our clothes, our hair, and the paper box lunch.
As we waited no longer, but stepped right into the pouring rain, I heard Annie's words going through my head and coming out of my mouth: "It's okay, kids. You can get wet." I must have said it five times during the two-block walk, and even though we would dash for cover to the awning of a building in the couple places where there was one, there was plenty of walking done right out in the pouring rain and not a thing we could do about it but experience the experience.
Mostly I try to avoid getting wet (or cold or windblown), but once I surrendered to the idea, it was encouraging to see that it is actually not only okay, but sort of fun, to let the water from the sky pour down on you like that. My mind kept trying to tell me, "But there's no towel in the car, and what will you do when you get there soaking wet?" but my mouth kept reminding myself and the kids that "It's okay to get wet, and this is fun."
We embraced what the day brought: rules about purses, steamy jungle weather, playground mishap turned tongue injury, and finally the jaunt in the rain. And what was the outcome? We got wet and then we got home and we got dry. The girls got in the bathtub right away and I blow-dried my hair. The wet shoes sat on a towel inside the front door and I put a load of laundry in. We were cozy in our house, while the rain came down at home, but we had that knowing feeling of rain on skin that you only get one way.
We have had to feed Sailor only soft foods, like scrambled eggs, applesauce, and non-dairy yogurt, for the past few days as her tongue is healing. We have a hard plastic red baseball cap souvenir bowl that the EMTs gave Sailor for being so brave, and I'm learning that a souvenir or other trinket doesn't have to be junk when it tells a story. On that note, we've gotten to tell a good story ourselves to a few friends and family.
We've also been privy to the stages of a tongue on the mend and pray the body heals as it should. We know that peroxide doesn't sting and that it's hard to talk properly when your tongue is torn up. We know we have one brave, strong girl who is happy to show me her tongue for a picture as long as she gets to see the picture right after.
On top of that, we know what a Greenville Drive baseball game is like and what the first aid station is like too. We know not to bring in bags or purses next time. We know where to look for parking and what a birthday party at the stadium includes. We already knew that kids anywhere, anytime will eat hotdogs, chips, and juice, and that cake and party favors are always well-received. Most of all, though, my kids and I know, "It's okay. You can get wet."