Friday my daughter and I attended a benefit auction. We had my two-year old granddaughter with us which didn’t seem like a big deal. Two adults with one child – good ratio!
My daughter decided to come directly from work and I picked Finley up and was meeting her at the school where the auction took place. When I arrived, I noticed most of the parking was remote and with a small child I didn’t think I wanted to park up the road. I drove to the school and pleaded my case and the gentleman kindly let me park behind the school next to the dumpster. Perfect! I didn’t have far to walk with a small child and all our bags.
I wanted my daughter, who is only weeks away from having her second baby, to park at the school as well but a phone call to her went answered. She called back within minutes to tell me that she was waiting for me. She had parked up the road and ridden a trolley to the school. “Oh my!” I thought to myself.
We entered the gym and proceeded to the food line because it was past Finley’s dinner time. Two adults managing two trays, three bags and one toddler proved to be more challenging than I thought it should be but we finally sat down and ate. As we finished our food, an announcement came from the auction stand. “If you are driving a red Ford Explorer you need to go out and turn it off. You left your vehicle running,” said the announcer.
I leaned over and asked Emily if that could possibly be her vehicle. She asked if they had a license plate number and, sure enough, it was her. (We had probably been at the auction for close to an hour by now.) But she had parked down the road and I wasn’t going to let her walk to her car. She is pregnant after all! I gave her my key fob and said I would stay with the toddler and she proceeded outside to my car as a second announcement came from the auctioneer stand. “If you are driving a red Lexus, license plate #123ABC, please move it. You are parked in front of the dumpster and we can’t access the trash bin,” he informed the crowd.
Would you believe it was my car? Of course, it was going to be moved because Emily was taking it to turn hers off. But I had no way to tell her that she shouldn’t park in the same spot because she had taken my purse with my phone inside. She thought she heard an announcement about my car on the way out so she called to ask me about it, only to realize my phone was with her.
She did return and she did park the car in a different spot. It kind of reminded me of that book “Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day” except it was not as horrible as his day – we didn’t call Australia.
It is times like these when I remind myself, “I am just learning here.” Too often I set the expectations for myself quite high. I should know not to park next to the dumpster. She should know not to leave the vehicle running. We should know how to manage with a toddler and trays and bags. We should know….!
But most of the time, I am still learning. Learning what it means to be a grandma and have a toddler in tow again. Once I had three small children to care for, but that was many years ago. I forget what it is like to care for someone who is looking, exploring and learning all the time; someone who never tires of running, running, running.
I am learning what it means to have adult children who need me in a different way. No longer do I need to set boundaries for them or limit their choices to just a few or correct them when they make a choice I would avoid. I’m learning how to listen, affirm and challenge them as adults.
I am learning how to be retired, or close to it. Discussions about next steps for my husband and I come around often. We dream of what we might do when he is finished working in his current capacity. I am learning how to face the future courageously and with anticipation of how the next phase of our life will look.
I am learning what it means to have hobbies again. I take classes to learn new skills and explore more efficient ways of doing the project while maintaining love for the process of working with my hands. Making mistakes has become a regular part of my learning. Rather than becoming frustrated and quitting, I store the memory of taking out the stitching or a finished project that isn’t quite like I want it so I avoid doing it again.
You see, I am still learning. And as long as I remind myself of that on a regular basis, I enjoy life so much more. I don’t need to know that parking next to a dumpster might not be a great idea. I did it and now I know. I am learning.
My daughter is learning too. She is learning how to be a mom to a toddler while she looks forward to her second child. Soon she will be learning how to care for two children with different sets of needs. And she probably won’t leave her car running again in a parking lot. But if she does, that’s okay too. She’s still learning.
Are you discouraged with yourself for “not knowing it” whatever “it” is? I encourage you to take a step back. You don’t need to know yet what you don’t know. It’s okay to be in a learning mode, to be teachable and pliable. God is pleased with that kind of approach and he is so eager to teach you. There is even a sense of gentleness and humor in admitting that you don’t know, but you are willing to learn.
Until next time…
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.Numbers 6:24-26