seven minutes

At 12:10 pm, I saw I had twenty minutes to get to Mimi’s house for lunch time to stay on track for nap time. 18 minutes of drive time + a chicken kids meal drive thru stop (at the BEST food joint ever, but I might be a biased fan), I just might make it.

At 12:36, six minutes “late” I approached the light to turn into Mimi’s neighborhood. We’re staying here for a week while our aspiring thespian attends theater camp in the south suburb neck of the Atlanta woods.

It’s not that the drive is too far from our house, it’s our nap king (he loves naps, now, y’all!) goes to bed exactly at the time the camp doors open. Since sleep is not simple for James Paul, there’s no way I could mess up his schedule five days in a row or we’d be back at square one. A square I’ve come WAY too far from to revisit. So we are living at Mimi’s so he can nap, and we can get lots of quality time with my favorite second set of parents!

Almost there after a long morning being an actress, Tabby was waiting patiently to eat her kids meal at Mimi’s dining room table and I’d already been notified via text that James was more than ready for his grilled chicken nuggets. Approaching the light, I rejoiced, it was a green left turning arrow. With only one van in front of me I knew I’d make it. Until I didn’t.

The van ahead of me put his right blinker on, ugh, dude, move! At some point I even honked my horn a bit. Toot toot.

Yellow light.

GOD, I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS.

Red light.

Dang it.

Now stopped with nowhere to go, a man exits the van with a sad look on his face and his arms raised in a shrug. “I think I’m out of gas.”

GOD, I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS.

If I delay lunchtime I’ll delay nap time and yesterday’s delayed nap time was a nightmare. Lukas is out of town, James decided to party from 2-4am and I just can’t have another hard night.

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you, worry that they are always watching you.” — Robert Fulghum

What do I want my three-year-old sponge watch me do?

“How can I help?” I asked the man.

With pleading in his eyes, he said, “you could take me to get gas.”

GOD, I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS.

It’s going to take forever, we are going to miss nap time entirely. The kids will be up for days.

“Sure, get in!”

He hustled to grab a gas can out of the back of his work van and scooted into the front seat after I chucked all my “traveling mom” gear to the second row.

His name was Javier, a worker from Gwinett county in the area tackling a residential project. His boss warned him the gas gauge was broken in the van but as his first time driving it, he had no idea how broken it really was.

Approaching the next intersection where I sort of knew a gas station sat, we saw tons of emergency vehicles and traffic blocked in every direction.

“Yikes, that’s a bad accident” is what I said, but what I thought — GOD, I REALLY, REALLY DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS.

Finding my way to the right lane and up the hill to a gas pump, Javier jumped out, filled the tank, used copious amounts of paper towels to make sure it was clean, and looked at me with sad eyes again “it’s going to smell bad”.

“No big deal, I’ll leave the windows open!”

The father of two kids, we talked about the joys of being parents and he told me his job down south was going well. I asked him if I could drop him off at the light and would he be fine walking back across the street to his van so I could make a quick right to Mimi’s house.

“Oh yeah!” he said before getting ready to jump out of the van and thanked me over and over.

I gave a quick wave, put on my blinker and pulled into Mimi’s neighborhood. Peaking at my GPS ETA it shocked me how much time had passed. If I had a dollar for every time I thought “GOD, I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS”, I could have purchased a full tank of gas (even at these ridiculous prices) for the work van.

SERIOUSLY, God, I didn’t have time for it. I don’t know how we had time for it. I sat in awe, so grateful I’d listened to Spirit, and acted on the nudge to “show” instead of “tell” my precious little girl about being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Helping Javier? The getting him in the car, down the street, up the hill, to the gas pump, following the detour around the accident and back to the van? The thing I REALLY didn’t have time to do.

Yep, helping Javier took seven minutes.

xoxo, va

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