Just another morning as a stay at home mom with 3 children carrying on the daily tasks as usual getting ready for school to start in two weeks (gasp!). We were running some errands this morning and somehow, somewhere I lost my keys. I know, I know.... "didn't you just lose them at the metro after getting back from DC?" "Yes, yes I did." But hey, it's been almost a month now, so I'm way over due to lose them again. (Not sure why I just had a conversation with myself but anyways...)
Aubryn had been crying/screaming (she has found her voice and her opinions) the entire time at the last store. I was ready to go, the boys were ready to go, heck, the whole store was ready for us to go. I check out, grab my bags, man handle Aubryn and she kicks and screams and goes limp not wanting to be carried, but she has already kicked off her shoes which have been thrown into a bag somewhere, shout out Bryce's name while we cross the street as he is spinning in circles repeatedly slowly getting farther away from me and I see a car coming, lecture the boys about proper store behavior, tell Aubryn we're going home soon and everything ok as she continues to screaming in my ear and have a limp body, and arrive at our van. I strap in Aubryn, other kids strap in their boosters, strap in myself, wipe some sweat off my face, look for my water bottle which I left at home and get ready to go. Only one thing... we need the keys. BOO!
I get out, continue to tell Aubryn we're going soon and she's ok, look all over the van. Boys unbuckle to help and in the process find lollipops which are more exciting to them than keys. I hand them each one b/c by this time it is 1pm and no one has eaten since breakfast and what's better for lunch than pure sugar?
I unbuckle and carry Aubryn back in, remind the boys we are going in not to look at more toys, but to look for keys, remind them again for proper store behavior, take a deep breath, hold back tears and walk in. I check at the front desk... no keys. I start re-tracing my steps. The boys are actually very helpful. We look all around isles, in the cracks, on the floor, in empty carts... I am even closer to tears starting to think about who I could call to come get us if it came down to it. I think to myself, it's a good think I left my car unlocked. Could we walk home?? The thought makes me want to cry harder.
I start to look around a bit more frantically in the toys isle and look down one Carter has been searching and see his sweet little head bowed, his hands clasped and his eyes closed. He is praying. He knows that God knows where our keys are. He knows that we are not in a great situation. He knows to "be still and know the (He) is God." I can't hold back the tears anymore. Here is my 7 year old teaching me in that moment. I am relying on myself to come up with a solution, and my child knows exactly who has the solution... and it's not me. Immediately I feel calm. I begin to pray too in my heart and continue to look. A lady approaches me and introduces herself as Ilene. She is in her 60's and has on bright pink lipstick. Her hair is white and she is kind. She says she overheard me ask the cashier if she found any keys and asks if she can help look. I tell her I would appreciate it. Some time passes and the lollipops are now just slobbery sticks, it is time to admit defeat. Perhaps it was in the previous store?? Sigh.
Ilene comes over and tells me she didn't find anything but asks if I would be comfortable enough for her to drive us home. She says she has a car seat strapped in her car already for her 18 month old granddaughter. Again, holding back tears. She asks if I'd like to see her license or anything else to verify who she was, etc, but I tell her I am trusting my instincts and heart and feel grateful she is so willing to help. She says she will bring her bags to her car and drive the car to the front entrance so I don't have to carry the baby around anymore. She tells me she has lost her keys plenty of time, but not with 3 small children and can imagine how hard that would be. I leave my name and number at the front counter. We get loaded into her car, then think I should leave my name and number at the previous store just in case it was there I left them. I run in quickly with Aubryn still on my hip and ask if anyone has found any keys, immediately the lady hands me mine. Relief rushes over me and I rush back to the car where this angel is entertaining and talking to my other 2 children. As we switch boosters back into our car, and get the kids re-loaded into the van, I give her a huge hug and thank her for being an angel to me and my family that day. We come home and I give Carter a big hug and tell him how blessed I am to have him teach me and be an example to me that day. How he remembered before I did that God knows and loves us all. How lost keys might not be a very big deal to him, they were to us and because of that, he sent Ilene and helped us find them. There are angels all around us walking about. I pray that I can at some time, somewhere be an angel is someones life as Ilene was to me today.