The busyness of Christmas has passed. The tree has been put away. The house is starting to have some order again. There aren't dozens of people streaming through. The boys are getting solid naps & full nights of sleep. And this mama now has a chance to look back at the craziness of it all and wonder how I stayed sane. There were moments, I will confess, where things weren't so pretty. One in particular, which is definitive proof that there is a connection between what's going on in my belly and what's going on upstairs.
It is not uncommon for random Chinese people to contact us out of the blue during Christmas and ask us to throw a Christmas party for them. We're more than happy to oblige, and we had seven eager college girls with us to help with those very things. One such opportunity came about on Christmas Eve. A week or so before (because that's how planning & scheduling go on this side of the world), I agreed to put together a Christmas program for 40 kids that would be held at a KFC 10 minutes from my house. With a few college girls tagging along to help, I figured it would be a tame morning. We planned to tell the Christmas story, sing a few songs, do a few crafts, play a game or two--we even had centers designed to control the madness. It was supposed to be easy. It was supposed to be fun.
But then pregnancy brain kicked in.
Kevin also had a commitment outside the house the morning of the program, so we figured we would each take a kiddo with us. I didn't plan to stay long since both of the boys were a bit snotty and would have benefited from a quiet day at home. As I was getting Sam ready to go, Kevin asked me to which KFC I was headed. I answered him quite confidently, to which he inquired if that was the one at the university city an hour away from our house. Thus began a flurry of texts with the guy in charge of the party (who in fact confirmed that Kevin was right about the location), waking up the college girls with a frantic phone call exhorting them to get in a cab NOW, and begging a friend to come over last minute to keep our boys so I didn't have to drag them along.
I raced out the door, found a cab, and breathed a sign of relief as a nestled in the back, somewhat looking forward to the hour plus ride without a child climbing all over me. But then I got the phone call from the college girls saying their taxi driver seemed clueless about where to go. I handed the phone to my taxi driver, who attempted to give detailed instructions to their driver. When their driver still didn't seem to get it, my driver offered to wait for them in order to lead the way. So despite the fact I was already running late, I sat on the side of the road for 15 minutes waiting for the other cab, while my driver offered kind exclamations such as, "That driver is stupid to death! (Loose translation) Do you understand what I'm saying?" Yes, dear driver, I most certainly do.
Finally, we were off and, true to expectation, we arrived about an hour later. Our host, a vibrant, young Chinese guy who had chosen the English name Luck, met us on the street. He led us to the KFC, where two kids were waiting to welcome us by shooting fake snow in our faces. I was trying so hard not to inhale for the sake of our little Lao San that it took a few moments for the shock of what lay before me inside the KFC to truly set in.
We were told 40 students but the ENTIRE restaurant was filled with screaming, Santa-hat wearing, camera-wielding Chinese kids, who were more than excited to see a real, live foreigner. That's when we knew that we would never be able to pull off our centers.
The morning went by in a blur as Luck reappeared wearing a Santa suit complete with a scraggly beard. It was somewhat difficult to take cues from him in that get-up but the party went on. We attempted to tell the Christmas story, attempted to talk about American Christmas traditions, attempted to sing some songs, attempted to play a game...are you picking up a theme here? At one point, the KFC kicked us out into the parking lot in freezing temperatures, where we joined in on a choreographed dance performed by a KFC employee. Good times were had by all, and then we went home. For some reason, Luck & his colleagues were so appreciative of the terrific program we put on. All we really did was show up and be foreign but that counts for something around here!
Pregnancy brain convinced me I knew where I was going. Even though I know that I know that I know where the university city is and that it is no where close to our house, pregnancy brain believed otherwise. Pregnancy brain took what was supposed to be a laid back morning and turned it into a stressful situation. But as Kevin comforted me on the morning of, I'll look back at it later and laugh. He was right. I'm laughing now, and I hope that maybe you are too!