This morning Sam had to have tubes put in his ears and have his adenoids out. He has been having trouble hearing for a few weeks and a visit to the doctor revealed that his ears were full of fluid. This is the second time he has had tubes put in. It is pretty routine procedure, takes about 10 minutes, and usually isn't a big deal. Nevertheless it caused us to have to get up pretty early and drive into downtown Austin.
The surgery center is next to a big parking garage. When we arrived at 6:10am the garage had its gates open and was pretty much deserted. I wasn't sure of the protocol so I drove in and parked. I did notice that there was a sign that the parking garage only takes cash or checks, but I didn't really have time to deal it before his appointment. (I never carry cash and I hate checks)
Sam's surgery went very well. After he recovered from the anesthesia and got his IV removed we were free to go. He was a bit groggy but felt pretty good. I picked Sam up in my arms carrying the can of soda that he was given, his bag of random items (prescriptions and whatnot) and headed for the car. I headed down the elevator, across the courtyard and up the stairs in the parking garage. The parking garage was manned by this time, and I knew I needed to figure out how to get some cash.
In my head I was being frustrated with the garage. Who doesn't take credit cards nowadays anyway? In fact, I think I even mumbled out loud something like "...these ridiculous cash only people..." Which I had to explain away to Sam, since I realized that it was inappropriate as soon as I said it.
After dropping Sam's stuff at the car, I picked Sam back up and headed back down the stairs in the garage to see if I could find an ATM somewhere. I decided to go ask the garage attendant since he probably gets asked this question at least 40 times a day. I was kind of half hoping that the attendant would simply say something like "its okay, I see you are carrying a little boy in his pajamas, I'll just let you out." Obviously this did not happen. He told us where to find an ATM in an adjacent building, and we were off again.
It was at this point that I was humbled by the 6 year old that I was carrying in my arms. In our family we have a tradition to list things for which we are grateful before we say our family prayer at night. Each person in the family gets to list what they were grateful for that day. These can be very small or big things. Jacob is always grateful for "frogs." Sam is often grateful for "the whole world except mosquitoes".
But today, as we walked to the other building to find that ATM, at a moment when I was clearly tired and a bit frustrated Sam looked up at me and said, "Dad, I'm going to be grateful for that man tonight." (Referring to the garage attendant) Sam was obviously genuinely grateful for this man that had helped us find an ATM so we could get some money and go home.
I am grateful for the Thanksgiving season and for beautiful children that often understand what we teach them better than we do. And after some repentance I am also grateful for a garage attendent that told me how to find an ATM so I could go home.