Monday, September 19, 2011

A night out with Aimee.

It's 8:04 on Monday morning.  I'm still in pajama pants, sipping my coffee.  3 kids are watching Jake & the Neverland Pirates, 2 are sleeping and will be woken soon, and 1 more will be here in a couple hours.  It's raining, and the weekend was long.  It's slow-moving so far, but soon we'll be really busy.  :-P 

While I sip my french vanilla yumminess, I want to share my Friday evening.  The whole weekend went differently than I had planned, but I'll just share my Friday night.  :)

On Friday, Aimee and I went to a Secret Keeper Girl conference at a local church.  It was a pig pajama party for moms and their daughters, to talk about modesty in today's culture. 

The conference was good.  I don't feel like it got really deep, but it definitely opened the door to future talks between Aimee and I.  

The evening, however...UGH.  I've mentioned before that Aimee's love language is quality time, so I took the evening and tried to make it really special.  She's been under a lot of stress lately, and really needed some mommy+Aimee time.  Unfortunately, everything fell apart.  :(

Since the conference was a pajama party, and pajamas were on sale at Target, I asked Aimee if she wanted to get matching pajamas (unfortunately, I didn't think of the idea until the day of).  I knew it would be a really special idea to her, and she immediately jumped on it.  After, on the way to the conference, we planned on having chicken nuggets and chocolate shakes at McD's (her favorite meal).  Simple plans, but very special.  :)

We ran off to Target around 5:00, the earliest we could get there (the conference started at 6:30).  It took us some serious searching, but we found matching pajama bottoms and matching clearance tops that made a cute little outfit.  Just to be sure everything fit and "looked good" (Aimee's BIG concern), we headed to the fitting room.  I could tell by all her giggling and smiling that she was having a great time.  :)  And the pajamas fit perfect and passed her "cute" inspection.  Lol.  So we ran to the check-out, entering a time crunch, and rushed out of Target.  On the way home, we stopped to get pizza for Papa and the other kids, who would all be at home for the evening.  By this time, it was just before 6:00.  My original intent for the day had been to get to the conference at 5:30, when doors opened, so save a seat for our friends Gretchen and Megan, but it didn't work out in the course of my day.  So in my mind, we were already late...

When we got home, we flew upstairs to my room to change into our new pajamas.  Aimee was so excited.  I wanted to wrap her up in a big, tight hug.  It made me so happy to see my girl so happy. 

And then we discovered that Aimee's shirt wasn't in the Target bag.  I searched all over, thinking I had dropped it or overlooked it or SOMETHING, anything but the shirt still being at Target. 

In desperation, I grabbed the reciept...

I had never paid for the shirt.   :(

At this point, Aimee started to cry.  I told her she had a few options.  We could just wear matching pajama pants, and different sweatshirts.  We could wear regular clothes.  Or we could run back to Target and buy her top, but that would most likely make us a little late.  She opted to run back to Target, so we ran out the door in regular clothes, hoping we could find a matching top and find a place to change before the conference.

We got to Target at 6:20.  I ran back to the rack, that an hour before had several of the shirts we were looking for.  Aimee ran to the food court to buy us pretzels and Dr. Pepper's, since we were both starving and at this point McD's would have to wait until after the conference. 

I couldn't find the shirt.  Not one, in any size (of course).  I ran back to the fitting room, thinking we had dropped it somewhere and it was there.  Nothing.  I checked every rack they had, and couldn't find a single shirt like mine.  In 45 minutes, Target had sold each of the 6 or 7 gray screen-print tees.

I walked back to the front of the store wanting to cry.  I knew how excited Aimee had been, and now we were late and we didn't even have a shirt to make up for our tardiness.  When she saw me empty handed, she started to cry.  

"Nothing ever works out!!" she said.  "I always get excited about something and then it never works out!!"

The feeling I had in my chest was a horrible one.  I had wanted this evening to be so special and it was blowing up in my face.  She's been through so much, more than a girl her age should go through, and this evening was supposed to be special.  I knew it wouldn't fix anything, or make up for the stress in her life, but I had so badly wanted to give her a special evening with her mama.

As we walked back to the car, I tried to think of something comforting and wise to say.  I think that's the hardest part in parenting.  It's not the continuous use of patience, the sleepless nights, or the busyness they bring to your life.  It's trying to think of the right things to say when their little hearts are breaking, even though you're just as hurt and confused as they are.  I had prayed and prayed that the Lord would bless the evening and it would be something she would remember for ever.  This was so not what I had in mind.

We headed to the conference, Aimee crying during the drive.  I told her that the evening could still be special and to not give up hope.  We talked about choices we have (choosing to persevere and not let the circumstances bring us down), we talked about how Satan can try to screw things up for us, but God can make good come out of everything.  We had a really, really good talk and I could see her calming down and finding comfort.  She told me that she wasn't going to let it get her down, and she was still really excited about the conference.  I told her we'd get our chocolate shakes on the way home, and she said she was at least grateful that Target pretzels are super yummy.  :)

The conference was good.  She had fun with Megan, and also Charity, another friend from church.  The girls giggled and danced and clapped.  It was a fun time.

We said our goodbyes 2 1/2 hours later, jumped in the van, and headed to McDonald's for chocolate shakes.  The drive-thru line was slowwwww, so slow that the car in front of us drove off before he could even place his order.  It was after 9:00, and I knew my dad was expecting us home any second.  Papa loves his grandbabies, but 3 hours with them can wear anyone out.  :)

And then Papa called.

"Where are you?"

"We just got out, and we'll be home in a minute.  Is everything okay?"

"Well," he said.  "Amerie was playing and waited too long to go potty.  She peed all over the floor and I can't see it to clean it up."

For those who don't know, my father is visually impaired.  He can build decks and redo bathrooms and make really good omelets for the kids.  But this situation was a little out of his comfort zone.  I knew I needed to head home.

I looked at Aimee and asked if she'd take a rain check.  There was no way we'd make it through this drive thru in less than 20 minutes.  I told her that one night during the next week, I would put her siblings in bed and head out to get chocolate shakes just for me and her.  She said that was okay, since the evening was so messed up anyway (and when I picked her up from her dad's last night, she told me that she had thought about it and liked that idea better, because it gave us another evening with something special to do).  But it really bothered us both that so much had gone wrong in one evening.  :(

On Saturday, after i dropped the kids off at their dad's house, i went back to Target.  Hanging on the clearance rack, right on the end, was one little shirt in an XS.  It had to have been the shirt.  Her shirt.  The one that should have been in our hands Friday night.  I bought it anyway, knowing that it didn't fix what happened the night before, but at least we'd still have matching pajamas.  

We're going to try for another fun evening in October, after El Salvador is paid off.  She's worried that the evening will somehow screw up, too, but we 're going to see a movie and have dinner, on a Saturday.  It's hard for something like that to get messed up.  Plus, when we look back on Friday, it was still a really good evening in spite of what happened.  We grew a little closer, in choosing to persevere together.  She enjoyed the time with her mom and her friends and the conference. 

I don't know why Friday played out like it did.  I had prayed and prayed that it would be special, and yet it seemed like everything fell apart.  One thing Aimee and I talked about, in the ride between Target and the conference, is that we have to trust that God is in control and has good in mind no matter what happens.  I had prayed about the evening, given it to Him, and we live within His will.  Which means that nothing in our lives happens without Him overseeing it and keeping His eye on the big picture.  We'll probably never understand the "why" behind some events in our life, but it's a huge comfort to know that God is still in control.  Bad things (big or small) don't happen because God "forgets about us" for a moment.  He's always watching, always in control.

Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."  We love Him, and we live for His purpose.  So we have to trust Him when things seem to "fall apart." It's not an easy thing to do, but there's a comfort in it.  My girl learned that firsthand on Friday. 

And in October, we'll have another evening together.  Aimee and I are both looking forward to it.  Maybe it will seem "perfect," or maybe it will fall apart again.  But no matter what, God already has it in His hands and He's working all things out for our good.  It's such a comforting thing to know.  :)

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