I rolled over reluctantly, knowing that morning had arrived, and groggily focused my sleep-heavy eyes on the glowing red numbers on my alarm clock. As my brain struggled to register that they read "8:08 am", my first thought was, I am going to kiss those girls a hundred times on their beautiful little faces for playing quietly enough that I could sleep this late.
A moment later my heart skipped a beat as my second thought raced through my head: They have doctor appointments at 8:20!!!
And it gets better. These were new patient appointments -- you know, the ones for which the receptionist always tells you on the phone, "Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time, so that you can spend five minutes handing over your insurance card, photo id, and preferred method of payment and watch while our prehistoric computers scan them all excruciatingly slowly, and then five minutes staggering around the waiting room under the weight of all the paperwork you have to fill out, and finally spend the last five minutes getting intense cramps in your hand from writing like lightening as you rack your memory for obscure details about your ancient family medical history...." (Or, you know, she says something sort of like that.)
I allowed myself five seconds of motionless horror, and then adrenaline took over and hurtled my body out of bed. I flew to the foot of the stairs calling, "Girls! Are you up?! Can you please get dressed as quickly as you can, because we have to go to the doctor RIGHT NOW?!" Reassured by a cheerful chorus of agreement floating down toward me, I raced blindly around the bedroom, hopping out of my pajamas and pulling on the first clothes I saw. In the bathroom I tugged a comb through my sleep disheveled hair, gazed despairingly at my barely awake reflection for a moment, and then took the stairs two at a time to check on the girls.
To my intense relief, I found them finishing dressing, and told them to put on their shoes while I ran into the kitchen to grab my purse and granola bars that would have to serve as breakfast. Good job, mom! I thought guiltily. Take your kids to their doctor appointments without a proper breakfast! Glancing at the time quickly as we headed out to the car, I was impressed to find that it had taken us only five minutes to get to that point. All right! I thought as I hurtled into the van to buckle Bethany. We'll be late, but not TOO late! And then I smashed my head on the door frame.
Everything went into slow motion for a while. I remember being on my knees in the van, holding onto the back of a seat for support, and then I remember being on the floor with the girls hanging over me and calling me. Eventually I was able to stand up, and I took tylenol (kept in the car for just such an occasion!) for the headache that was clearly going to last all day, and walked around the car a few times to make sure the dizzy fog was cleared.
We live 12 minutes away from the doctor's office, and we were 12 minutes late. *sigh* Thankfully, the girls had consecutively scheduled appointments, so they took us even though we were late, and I got to fill out mountains of paperwork while the girls had their exams. Did you know that little kids' exams come with all sorts of fun, probing questions? Oh yes...
"What sort of diet do they eat?"
Oh, you know, the usual...granola bars flung at them from the front seat as we drive down the road.
"Are they able to dress themselves at all?"
Yep, good thing, too! Because they have to dress for the doctor completely on their own at the speed of light while their mom races around the house like a half asleep madwoman!
"Do you consider your home to be a safe environment for them?"
Please don't notice the giant swollen lump on my head, please don't notice the giant swollen lump on my head....
The girls were fantastic, loved their new doctor, and didn't cry when they got shots. I have incredible children -- even if, when we finally made it home, I hung up my jacket and discovered that I had spent the whole morning with a big Tinkerbell sticker right on the front of it. Mother of the year, that's me....