In the last few days I’ve been caught in a few situations that required great creativity. Often, I find, that motherhood, in general, requires quick thinking and creative energy. Sometimes, the creativity is required because of my own stupidity (I’m the first to admit that!), but other times it’s just the situation at hand. Here are two examples.
We left home Friday morning intending to spend a number of hours on the Kinneret before heading to our friends at Kibbutz Tirat Zvi for Shabbat. After 2.5 hours of driving to get there, and then another hour in the car looking for a place to run in for a quick bite to eat to no avail, we finally arrived at the water. We dragged all of the kids into the changing rooms, changed into bathing suits and were roaring to go. It was now 12:00 or so, when I realized that we had no sunscreen. I know – I just absolutely know – that I packed it….but the evidence seemed to indicate otherwise. I wanted to cry! There we sat – all seven swimming-clad bodies, ready for a great time in the 100 degree heat – with no sunscreen. There certainly isn’t a 7-11 or CVS to run into, nor is there really any other option for finding a quick way to buy sunscreen. We were stuck.
I wanted to cry - to kick myself - to scream. But none of those things were going to help. So, I did what I actually find I do quite well in these situations.
I got creative. And I begged.
I approached a woman who was camping nearby and explained to her that we needed some sunscreen and that we had driven 2.5 hours to be there and had five kids who desperately wanted to swim...blah blah blah. I figured I would approach 50 people at the water before trying another option - but this woman managed to keep that number to only 1. She gave us a bottle that was 95% finished and we milked it for every drop. I was quite worried that we were going to end up looking like tomatoes with my stingy sunscreen usage, but we all did alright.
We had a fantastic time at the Lake despite our lack of food, our lack of sunscreen and the 100 degree weather!
Then, on Sunday, I decided to take the kids to the pool that we've joined for the summer. The pool choices around us are quite complicated, as some have mixed swimming, some have only separate swimming and some have a combination, etc. I settled, this year, on a pool in Jerusalem and jumped in with a membership. Not a cheap proposition - so I have felt the pressure to take the kids as much as possible to make it worthwhile! Of course, one day this one is sick and one day that one has an appointment, so we haven't exactly taken advantage of this membership yet.
So, Sunday we committed to getting to the pool. Come hell or high water - we would be there!
We were all in our bathing suits and on the road, when we came across a major intersection that was cordoned off. Here, in Israel, that could mean that someone important is driving through - but it could also mean a bomb scare, a traffic accident, or some other unforeseen event. I don't know the neighborhood well at all where the pool is located and have absolutely no idea how to work around traffic patterns and closures. I tried twice, unsuccessfully, to weave through side streets - but it looked like we were stuck and were going to have to head home. I could feel the disappointment in the car (which probably wasn't hard with the screaming and yelling) and I really - really - wanted to follow through on offering the kids a place to swim.
What is a mother to do?
I knew that there was another pool location somewhat nearby, but I had no idea where...and I realized that I had only brought my ID and 200 shekel without a credit card or any other way of getting money. After all, we were going to use our membership, so we didn't need much of anything, or so I thought.
So, after two wrong turns, I found the location where I thought there was another pool. I had Matan run out to check and the guy at the desk said that they did, indeed, have a pool. Then he said what it would cost and I nearly plotzed! It was a fortune and I didn't have enough. Nevertheless, we parked the car, walked to the desk, poured out every cent that we had to the workers and told them our sob story. I explained our membership, our desperate desire to swim, our crying kids, and our lack of extra funds. Could they please (please?) allow us to swim.
And so they did! Yes, I felt like a fool spending the money to swim that one time at a different pool, when I already had a membership elsewhere - but I also felt like a victorious mom who had used her ingenuity and creativity to save the day!
Sometimes I'm amazed by my ability to move through situations and to find clever answers. This is, of course, not always the case...but when it works out, it certainly feels like a motherhood victory for the day!