It was a Tuesday afternoon seven months after Willie J was born, and we were in the thick of t-ball season and ballet recital preparations. Mr. Right was out-of-town on business for the week, so I was hanging on by a thread (a state in which I often find myself).
In an effort to make our afternoon as easy on myself as possible, I changed B into his baseball uniform for his game at 5:15pm, Sister into her leotard, tutu, and tights for her class at 4pm, and pre-made dinner “to-go” so each child could eat their dinner in the car while in route from one place to another. I was hopeful to squeeze Willie J’s feeding in, too. I loaded everyone in the van (an undertaking in and of itself) and began the dreaded afternoon schedule.
Everything went according to my plan. Sister was in her ballet class, B was in the backseat of the van eating and watching Veggie Tales, and I was in the front seat discreetly nursing Willie J. As soon as Sister was done, she could eat her dinner while we made our way across town to B’s t-ball game. It was a brilliant plan.
All was calm and relaxed until Sister’s teacher began waving me down from the door of the ballet studio. I quickly rolled down the van window. “Come quickly, Sister needs you,” she yelled. Afraid to leave B in the car, the three of us got out of the van. One hand held B, while the other cradled Willie J. We walked into the building to find Sister feeling sick. Unable to comfort her with my hands full, I sat B on the floor and positioned him just right so he could hold Willie J without dropping him. I ran to Sister.
“Mommy, my tummy hurts!” I sat her on the potty as I ran through the crowded waiting room to ask her teacher for toilet paper for the restroom. With a disgusted look on her young, blonde, childless, twenty-something face, she pointed to a cabinet in the opposite corner. I ran past all the moms (again) to the corner cabinet and back to the bathroom where Sister’s tummy was obviously upset. Once she was ready, I washed Sister’s hands and made my way back to the waiting room to check on B and Willie J (who had thankfully fallen a sleep)—which was common after a feeding. With sweat pouring, my post baby clothes sticking to me like suction cups, a baby in one arm, Sister in the other, and B holding my shirt—I glanced around to see the look of judgment from the mothers and dance teachers. I started to get angry as the staring worsened—some mothers even started to smirk. I thought to myself, Could this day get any worse? But before I got the nerve to ask these women what their problem was, Sister’s dance teacher spoke up.
“Umm…Mrs. Preus…your boobie is hanging out.” I quickly fastened my nursing camisole. It was at that moment I realized I never needed to ask myself if things could get worse because where I am concerned—it absolutely can and most definitely will.