Today was a crazy day. Our dog Dusty is under contract to produce three litters of puppies for the breeder that is essentially leasing her to us. Once Dusty fulfills her obligations, legal guardianship gets transferred to our family. She spent the last week in Eugene with her boyfriend, Hero, and today was the day we got to pick her up. It's a two hour drive each way for a ten minute errand.
We were 45 minutes into our drive to Eugene when Alli said, "My stomach hurts. I think I might barf." She said it flippantly and then never said another word about it so I just assumed she was bored. I gave her a lame, "Oh that's too bad. Why don't you color?" and kept driving. Thirty minutes and three cucumbers after her prophetic statement, she did just that. Barfed. In the car. On the Interstate.
I don't DO vomit. That's Curt's job. But he was at work. I strapped on my big girl panties, pulled across two lanes of traffic, and stopped on the shoulder of the Interstate. There we were: Alli and I on the side of the freeway, cleaning up the carnage (which we left on the side of the road for the lucky litter patrol people) and me mentally moving "Clean out inside of the van" from the bottom of my To Do list to the top. Thankfully I carry a Costco-sized jar of hand sanitizer and box of baby wipes in the van so we had some ammunition for cleanup. Alli immediately perked up and said with a huge smile, "My stomach feels awesome now. I'm hungry," and proceeded to beg for a snack for the next hour.
Grant skipped the trip to Eugene and opted to spend the day with his best friend at OMSI. Imagine his disappointment when he felt terrible ALL day! Plagued by bad stomach pain and a headache, he finally succumbed to barfing before bed. Curt was home but downstairs, so that left me to rub his back while he hovered over the toilet. I managed to do it without getting sick myself - these kids just might make a mom out of me after all!
Katie apparently swapped her 8-year-old bladder out for a 4-month-old infant sized bladder and declared her need to pee a minimum of every thirty minutes while we were driving. I'm pretty sure she hasn't peed the rest of the day because we hit every rest stop between here and Eugene. (It was a good chance for me to practice patience.)
At the first rest stop, we encountered a homeless family. A mom with her two daughters (ages 5 and 6) were sitting in the sun by the bathrooms on a quilt with their laundry drying on the ledge and a big cardboard sign that read, "Anything is a blessing.". The girls were filling in worksheets from a workbook and the mom was cussing one of them out when I walked by. My heart just broke for all three of them.
The whole time we were in the bathroom I prayed, "Lord what can we give?" The situation just seemed too big. It was tempting to pretend we didn't see and go on our way. But on the way back to the van I busted Alli openly staring over her shoulder in disbelief at this family. I herded the girls into the van and then sat there, mindlessly shuffling piles around and stalling. I didn't want to leave, but I didn't know what to do. I just kept praying, "Lord, what can we give?" I could tell the girls were as disturbed as I was so I asked them, "What can we give?"
We had packed a big picnic lunch because I was being cheap and didn't want to buy lunch. It had chip packs and juice boxes (a rare treat at our house) as part of the picnic and a huge bag of left-over burgers and hot dogs from the church picnic last night. The girls immediately offered up their lunch, including their juice boxes, which was hard for Paige. Alli also grabbed her favorite toy phone and said, "The little girl needs it more than I do."
We walked back to where they were sitting and introduced ourselves. The 5 year old girl beamed and played with her new phone while I asked the mom (Spring), "What's your story?" They live in a bus and Spring was quick to point out, "It could be worse. We have a roof over our heads, but diesel is expensive and we can't stay for more than 12 hours at a time at a rest stop. The state troopers know us by name and they patrol for people like us. Work is hard to come by..."
Their story was so sad. A big part of me said, "This isn't enough. I need to do more." But Curt reminded me that we gave from what we had in the moment. I was reminded of the little boy who gave Jesus his lunch. A hungry crowd of 5,000 men. One lunch consisting of five loaves of bread and two small fish. Hopeless odds. But that little boy gave what he had in that moment and Jesus multiplied it.
As I watched my daughters fork over their coveted juice boxes, big bag of burgers, and favorite toy to two precious little girls who hadn't bathed in weeks, I prayed, "Jesus multiply it. Make it enough."