Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We are not ready for Frontenac...

So I had this great idea to take the kids to a state park for a whole day. Pack a picnic lunch. Let Thea Belle skip her afternoon nap. Bring lots of water. Get everybody sunscreened and bug-sprayed. Drive and listen to part of our new Adventures in Odyssey story. Picnic. Hike in the beautiful woods. See some scenic bluff overlooks. Let the kids climb and run and yell and throw sticks wherever they wanted. It was such a good idea. And Monday was that day. The epic my-kids-will-remember-this-and-come-home-full-of-beauty-and-adventure-and-happy-and-tired. It was an even better idea because Brad had a half-day fishing trip in Minnetonka that day -- a free vendor-given fishing trip complete with two of his favorite work friends and a fishing guide and a dinner at a fancy restaurant by the lake. And I thought -- "Everyone is having fun! The sun is shining! It is summer! My baby just got potty trained and I don't have to bring diapers! Yay! Yay! Yay!" So we decided on Frontenac State Park by Red Wing, MN because it was only a little over an hour away, and I've never been there. We got going a little late -- as happens with us. But so far, okay. Arrived around 11. Ate a picnic lunch at a table near the ranger station. Got everyone sun-safe and bug-repellant. The older boys wanted to wear backpacks -- so I put water and a snack, the trail map and my phone in their packs. We started off at the trailhead -- prairie. Rolling hills spotted with farms off in the distance. Hot, humid, perfect summer-ness.

And then the bickering started. And the complaining.

We are looking at scenes like this. This! And the grass is wet causing the water-proof crocs to get wet. Un-acceptable. And there are bugs -- not biting anyone, but still: The bugs are there. And it took too long to get to the wooded part (.2 miles -- said so right on the map. Two Hundredths of a Mile.). And it is too hot. And the backpacks were making their backs hot. And Thea Belle immediately decided she was too tired and would rather take a nap this afternoon. Could we just go home? She stops walking. Atticus starts dragging way behind, kicking sticks, grumbling about how I am ruining his life. Dietrich is stopping every few feet doing a crazy-person dance trying to get drops of water off his shoes.

And, again, this is what we are seeing. Atticus starts saying over and over, on repeat: "I hate this place. I hate this place. I hate this place...." Thea Belle cried and sobbed and whimper-heaved for the entire hour we walked. I tried carrying her but I was sick (carrying over from the weekend) and couldn't do it. So I held her hand to keep her from falling because she was crying so hard, she kept tripping. But she never stopped crying until she was strapped back in her carseat at the ranger station parking lot. And do you know what? -- Lincoln was my golden boy -- He never complained a single time. A single time. And happily climbed any thing that came in his path. And loved it all. I could have kissed his freshly buzzed golden haired big head. That boy was in his element. 1 out of 4.


And I was so sick. Maybe if I had been well, I could have seen some kind of twisted situational-comedy humor in it. But I just wanted to cry. To sit down in all that beautiful, growing, open loveliness -- that 3 of my 4 children were loathing and cursing and being tortured by -- and just cry until my vocal cords snapped and I went deaf and couldn't hear them complaining and crying anymore. But I didn't. Because I was the grown up. Because I was the mom. Because sometimes you just have to drive back home and limp along until the day is over. Bring on the Batman cartoon episodes and naps for hot, tired 2-year olds.

Let's say it together: Being a successful mother isn't making each of them happy at any given time, and certainly not making them all happy at the same time. Isn't that disappointing? I know. I know.


gingersnapps said...

I remember my mom taking us on "field trips" to parks etc... I felt much the same as your kids did (well at least 3 of the 4) Now I love to hike and spending time in parks etc, I didn't have any love for it until I was well into high school. I wanted a swimming pool or a playground. Kudos for trying, keep trying, hopefully they fall in sooner than later. Besides it's much more of a memory than if they all loved and enjoyed it, that you would likely forget all about shortly. This you will keep with you and can remind them of when they are older.


Sarah! said...

Thanks, Ginger -- That actually does! make me feel better -- maybe it's something they can grow into xxoo

liz@carpeseason said...

Wow. That was epic. "Because I am the grownup." I feel like that pretty much sums up most of life, right?
I am the grownup when Owen is grabbing my pant legs for the 5th hour straight, whining to be held. I am the grownup when we get hit with an unexpected tax assessment for road work on my street.
I am the grownup when all I can smell is poopy diaper smell throughout my house.

I love you, Sarah, and even your "fails" are encouraging to me.

Also, write a book, sometime, ok?

Phil & Sarah said...

Oh Sarah! I LOVE YOU! I miss you, friend...this post just speaks my heart on any given day, too...the trials of mothering so many little ones! Thank you for your real-ness...and yes please...write a book! I would totally read it;)

Phil & Sarah said...

Oh Sarah! I LOVE YOU! I miss you, friend...this post just speaks my heart on any given day, too...the trials of mothering so many little ones! Thank you for your real-ness...and yes please...write a book! I would totally read it;)