So I have been working hard on making time for physical activity for my kids when I get home from work. I used to simply get home, put cartoons on (for the kids:)), start cleaning up the messes from the day, make dinner, clean up from dinner, run the kids a bath and then do my best to wrangle them into bed at a decent time. Now I consider myself a relatively intelligent person. I know about the benefits of physical activity and I’m fully aware of the positive impact that physical and mental stimulation would have on the girl’s desire to, actually eat their dinner, and increase the likelihood that they would be happy to go to bed…so I recently made the conscious decision to take them out of the house every day after work, either to the YMCA or to the park.
A few days back we opted for the park, it was one of the last beautiful days of the week, it was also going be a great time for me to sit in the sunshine and read my book for a half-hour. On our way to the park I thought it would be nice to have a coffee with my book, so we made a slight detour to the Tim Horton’s close to our house. Now normally a trip through the drive-thru at this particular Tim’s would be about 3-5 minutes. I often opt for drive-thru over going inside because…well…
I’m lazy and I can’t be bothered to unbuckle my children, cross them safely through the parking lot, keep them still in the lineup and then lead them back safely through the parking lot with my hot beverage, to then buckle them back up, all of which would take longer then any drive-thru.
So there we were waiting our turn, 3 cars between us and the order screen; when I quickly realized that something was not quite right we weren’t moving…no one was.
Here in lies the ultimate in coffee drinker decision-making, which must be done before moving forward to a place in line where I am pinned in and must commit to the process… I had some choices… 1 – I could decide to leave the line up and either take my chances inside, which you already know I am not a fan of, or 2 – decide against coffee all together and 3 – stay and take my chances. (there of course is another option where I could have driven for 5 minutes to the next Tim Horton’s and take my chances there). I analysed my situation…”girls are super happy in the back seat we could probably manage a few more minutes of buckled in peace, this is the closest Tim’s to the park and if I turn on some good music maybe we can have a little dance party’.
So I opted to stay in the line and wait my turn. Five minutes goes by and we finally move up 2 car lengths. I think to myself “In seconds I am sure this line will regain it’s normal speed of less than one minute per customer…
I am pretty sure they time this shit, I have seen the clock beside the drive-thru window”.
Now I will admit my patience was starting to wear a little thin and I started to doubt my decision to stay. My oldest then asks for the Shake, Shake, Shake song (you know what I’m talking about Taylor Swift fans!!) which I happily put on, if for nothing else a little distraction from our situation (the irony does not escape me…so ya feel free to roll your eyes at me :)).
We finally get to the order screen, I place my order, 1 coffee and 1 muffin,
(the girls told me they didn’t need any donuts because they are going to the park…seriously who is raising these children??? clearly not me, who is willing to wait for 10 minutes just to order a pumpkin spice muffin because I am addicted to the icing they squirt inside!).
We move a few inches forward after placing our order and I realize that we are stuck just far enough to say we have moved forward but not far enough to give the car behind us a chance to order…he is stuck in drive-thru limbo…I feel bad. I believe that this may have been what prompted my release of tension in the form of an agitated non-specific yell out to the universe…
“Come On, For Crying Out Loud, What is Taking So Long!!!!!!!”
To which my 5-year-old daughter replies…wait for it…my parenting win moment has arrived…In her most calm and patient voice she says
“Mommy, maybe they are really busy and well things just take as long as they take. It’s okay, we’re having fun!”
Oh ya the inevitable onslaught of guilt intricately mixed with pure parenting joy washes over me like a monsoon. I was so proud, so moved, I thanked her for saying that as it reminded me what was important and surely needing to move “quickly” through a drive-thru when the park was clearly not going anywhere, the sun was still shining and both girls were still dancing in their seats, was the least important thing in the world.
I literally shook the garbage thoughts out of my head and decided to replace my negative thoughts with positive ones. To reinforce this I wanted to share the positive energy beaming from my daughters with the man in the car behind me. I decided to pay for his order. Initially I thought, “well I better see what he ordered first before I make the decision to buy…what if he ordered a lot? How much am I willing to pay to feel better”. Fortunately the line was still moving 1 inch per minute because that gave me plenty of time to process the fact that no amount of money is too much to re-align myself with the positivity of the universe. I knew that when I got to the window I would happily pay for whatever he had ordered in hopes that by “paying it forward” his day would improve as mine had. I knew that my girls had enough positive energy to share with the world, and the least I could do was share it with one other person.
When I got to the window what I found there was a very apologetic and slightly scared young girl, who was doing her best to keep her shit together in what I am sure was the worst day she had had in a long time. I knew the type of negative responses she may have been getting from the other patrons (as I was just thinking of them only minutes beforehand) and I knew that I would NOT be contributing to her bad day. She told me that a machine had broken and I flashed her my biggest and most sincere smile and I said that’s okay, I understand.
My daughters in the back, whose windows were open, were laughing and saying hi to her in their most cute and loving way. She responded in kind. She nervously told me that they did not have my muffin and I could see her body tense as she told me this, anticipating that my smile would quickly dissipate and be replaced by the evil glare she had been dealing with all afternoon.
I smiled again and said that’s good, my ass does NOT need it anyway 🙂.
I told her that I would like to pay for the order of the car behind me (which turned out to just be a coffee). I felt her relax a bit, she took a deep breath and thanked me for being so nice to her. I wished her a better day and we moved on.
The girls continued to emanate joy and they were so happy that she was nice to them. I can barely explain the rush of emotion I felt as I drove away from the longest Tim Horton’s line up I had ever been in…I looked at the clock 17 minutes to move 6 car lengths, the best 17 minutes of my parenting life. I hope that the man behind me felt some of the peace and joy my daughter’s shared with me. I hope that the young girl’s day improved and most importantly I hope that this experience of patience and compassion resonates with my girls, as it will me, all the days of their lives.
Wishing you all a reflective and coffee filled day 🙂
All great things are rooted in love, laughter and learning!
P.S If you need a little pick me up…Shake it Off is only a click away 🙂
P.P.S If you know the Tim Horton’s Employee I am referring to please, please, please share this with her and let her know how much I appreciate all she had to go through that day!
P.P.P.S If you are interested in reading more about my parenting (lack of) skills click here.
P.P.P.P.S As always, my friends, I would love to hear your thoughts. Drop me an email here, let me know how you are winning at this parenting thing!!!