Parking Lot

To anyone waiting for our parking space,

You saw us walk up to our minivan with several small children and that was not enough to deter you from waiting for our space. There is an open parking space a mere 100 feet farther from the door, but yet you choose to wait for us. You must really want this space. It must be the principle of the thing, getting the very closest space possible. Because by now you could have been in the door getting your cart from the cheerful senior citizen greeter.

So you must be willing to wait. Good thing. Hope you have some time. Here’s what we have to do before we can give you our space:

Set down the baby carrier, threaten kids to not so much as move a step because you are in a PARKING LOT and there are CARS and you could get RUN OVER, while you fish out your keys and unlock the sliding van door.
Referee the argument over who gets to open the sliding van door.
Settle the argument by opening the door yourself.
Chase down the toddler who has decided to wander the parking lot, ironically looking for you.
Negotiate relative seating. Usually seats are assigned. But if one kid is not present, then there is a seating vacancy which opens up a number of possible permutations. Each of which must be evaluated and one chosen. This requires, alternately, the diplomacy of an arms treaty negotiator or the iron fist of a dictator.
Make a half-hearted attempt to get the children to buckle themselves in their seats. Because buckling ones’ self in the car is a Life Skill that we must teach our children. Life is full of teaching opportunities, you see.
Exhale sharply, roll eyes, and buckle in the children, bending at the waist while standing on the running board of the minivan. So much for teaching Life Skills. At least this counts for an abdominal workout. Feel the burn.
Speaking of feeling the burn, muffle the obscenities that come to mined as you grab the metal seat belt buckle that’s been sitting for an hour in the Texas sun.
Negotiate the dissemination of the various toys and books in evidence on the floor and seats of the vehicle.
Distribute bottles, sippy cups, and juice boxes before departure, as in-flight drink service can be problematic.
Go around to your side of the car. Return the nasty look from the exasperated person waiting for your parking space.
Climb in the car, buckle yourself, start the car.
Negotiate air and radio settings.
Back the car carefully out of the parking space.
Stop the car, go around the car, and get the baby carrier. Put the baby in the car.
Back out slowly, counting children, waving to the people in the waiting car, who are now applauding.

Anyone with several small children knows that transitions are often a source of great frustration. Getting in the car is one such transition and it takes a lot of patience. So if you want our spot, you need to have some too.


The Clark Family

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