I was so proud when Dylan turned five last September. Such a big boy! But this business of growing up? I don't think I like it. Not one bit.
We spent this morning running errands, going to the bookstore (HA! What timing! Just as I wrote that, Darren came into the room carrying our enormous stack of newly acquired books..."In case you want to blog about books again later"...which I do! But not in this post.)
Anyway, I digress.
So this morning, we stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up a few craft supplies, some things for dinner, and to get our most recent photos developed. ($59 worth of photos! Something tells me I need to stop taking so many pictures!)
Since it was already after noon, (nearing one o'clock, actually) by the time we finished our shopping, I suggested stopping at Quizno's in the adjacent strip mall to pick up a quick lunch. We drove across the parking lot, and since Meghan was asleep in her car seat I offered to stay out in the van with the kids while Darren ran in to get our sandwiches. I thought I'd keep us all amused by reading aloud from "Insectlopedia", an awesome book which I've been wanting ever since Celeste wrote about it back in October, and which I was thrilled to find this morning!
But not three minutes had passed before Dylan was shouting from the back of the van, "I need to go pee! Right now!" Accompanied by a lot of squirming. And tugging at his seat belt. I knew this was urgent, but I didn't want to risk waking Meghan by unbuckling her from her seat. So, I helped Dylan get his shoes back on, hurried him out of the van, and, not wanting to leave the girls but not keen on the idea of Dylan crossing the parking lot by himself, either, I walked a few steps with Dylan, made sure he knew exactly which store to go into, reminded him to look for Darren the second he was in, checked for oncoming traffic, then said, "Okay! Go!"
I watched as Dylan ran into Quizno's, but squinting towards the reflective glass front of the store, I couldn't tell if he actually found Darren. For a few agonizing, indecisive moments, I stood watching, hoping for a sign from Darren, wishing at once that I had just unloaded the girls and gone in with him. Reaching what I deemed a reasonable compromise, I turned off the van, locked the doors with the girls still buckled into their seats, and ran the few steps to the door of the restaurant, which was way more crowded than I imagined...and where I saw no sign of either Dylan or Darren! Assuming that meant they had found each other and were at the moment taking care of business in the bathroom, I went back to the girls, resumed reading, and then thought with a jolt of panic, "Maybe he's not with Darren and all! Maybe someone else snatched him and I just didn't see!" So I got back out of the van where I could keep a close eye on every single person coming out through the door. (In hindsight, I am definitely kicking myself for not just going in to the dang store to begin with, but I figured they'd be right back out and all would be well.)
The minutes dragged on. ("What the heck do they do in there?!" I agonized. "Butcher their own meat?") Finally, after an interminably long time, my guys came ambling out, hand in hand, chatting happily and gesturing animatedly when they saw me standing paralyzed by the side of the van. Darren laughed as he recounted for me his surprise when Dylan came up beside him at the counter, tugging on the hem of his shirt. He said that everybody inside got a big kick out of Dylan's little-boy antics, story-telling, and general good cheer. The looonnnggg delay was caused by the indecisiveness of the patron ahead of him in line.
I had spent those few terrible minutes imagining Darren coming out to the van by himself, at which point, I imagined, I would frantically shout "Where's Dylan?!"...before every parents worst nightmare would go spiraling out of our control. Oh, the tricks my mind plays. Silly, really, how worked up I let myself get! And I realized after, on the ride back home, how all of this is just a part of growing up for Dylan, and will later be for my girls, too. Letting them go, a little at a time. Watching as they spread their wings. And praying we've prepared them well enough to fly.