We have a gate to our home.
But we only have one gate opener.
This means that each day, we need to communicate about who is going to use the gate opener for said-day. If I am not going out that day, JB will just take it. If we are both going out, he usually opens the gate and then leaves me the opener. There is a button on the gate wall that will open said-gate, but it is a pain to get out of van, hit button, get back in van, go through gate, get back out of van, hit button again, and then do the same thing upon return home.
JB had committed to help some Portuguese friends make the "Holy Spirit Soup" -- it is used to raise money to celebrate a religious holiday here on the island.
Mom K. is still not feeling too good. She's been down and out for over two weeks with some nasty fever/cough bug that's been going around.
So I was running solo on Sunday morning.
While JB was running late.
I was going to church. He was going to make soup. So we both needed the gate opener.
He decided to open gate and leave gate opener on kitchen counter.
Mind you, we have a dog that always has to be factored into this equation. While Scrubs doesn't run off for good, if he sees that the gate is open, he will take that opportunity, every time, to take a little jog around the neighborhood. He'll mark a lot of trees. Visit the neighbors. You know, normal dog-stuff.
So JB reminded me that gate was open. "Don't let Scrubs out before you close the gate," was the last thing he said to me as he kissed us all good bye.
Not ten minutes later, spotted dog wakes up and climbs up the stairs, into living room where kids and I are hanging out. He then begins scratching at the glass to go out.
Not two minutes after scratching begins, I open the glass for him. He trots away merrily.
It is probably near an hour later that I go downstairs, see gate opener on counter and realize what I have done.
I walk outside. Gate is wide open. Dog is nowhere to be found.
I call his name a few times, but I am in no position to go on a dog look-around. Abigail is in the bathtub. Hannah is lying on the middle of Abigail's bed having just taken her bath. The boys are playing in the living room.
(It's moments like this that I think, "Why do we have a dog?" But that is a story for another day. As JB would say, "Can you blame your dog for being smart?" Gate is open. Wouldn't you go for a joy ride?)
So I leave gate open, hoping Scrubs will return on his own (but knowing this isn't very likely.)
Thirty minutes later, I am pulling Abigail out of the bathtub when the doorbell rings. I go outside. Our neighbor across the street (an American) is standing there in her pajamas, obviously having just woken up. She's a very to-herself-person and so I barely even recognize who she is.
"Did you know your gate was open?" she asked.
"Well," I said. "Yes and no."
"Well, spotted doggy here came right into my bedroom."
She was nice enough but obviously a bit perturbed that a doggy had woken her up on a nice Sunday morning.
(Why her door was open so that he could run into her bedroom is a whole 'nother issue in and of itself. Scrubs was known for going into the previous tenant's home as well so I have no idea what they are doing with a door into their bedroom that a dog can walk into. Doesn't sound real safe to me.)
I apologize to American neighbor, more than I probably need to, bring Scrubs inside, and shut the gate.
My morning drama didn't end there however. Later, Grama and I decide to take the four kiddos to church. Grama is still nursing a big-time cough. It hits her right into the middle of service, forcing her into a bathroom stall until she can stop the lung hacking up.
Wouldn't you know that it was right smack in that moment that Hannah decided to blow out of her diaper. I have no choice but to change her on the pew. We are in the back, sort of by ourselves, and so I don't feel too bad about this. There is no way I can leave the other three kids by themselves while I go to change a diaper. While I am changing Hannah, Abigail decides she wants to give Hannah a gazillion kisses, and, well, here comes the offering plate so all the kiddos want a quarter. The wonderful Richards family, gracefully sent their fifteen-year-old to my rescue. And their twelve-year-old helped me get the boys to their Sunday school class.
It was during that moment that I couldn't help but think What in the world am I doing trying to go to church with four kids without my husband here? Am I crazy?
I think that a lot actually. (Not the part about going to church. The part about whether or not I am crazy.)
What in the world am I doing living in Portugal?
Why am I trying to raise a dog along with four tiny tykes?
How did we think four children under five was something we could manage?
But then this morning, Scrubs laid by my feet while I nursed Hannah. Abigail sat on one rug doing puzzles. Sidge and Isaac were perched on dining room chairs working in their homeschool workbooks.
And I thought, "I should get a video camera to capture this moment."
It was perfect.
Of course, it lasted only a few minutes, but it did happen.
This is the life God has given me right now.
And I must believe He will give me the grace to do it well.