Fool me once – shame on you.
Fool me twice- shame on ME.
Well, it has turned into my mothering mantra.
I continue to make the same mistakes over and over again- and what’s worse: I continue to come out flabbergasted at the end results.
So when will I learn?
Take today’s little last-minute “grab the end of Summer by the horns” kind of adventure:
I venture out to Burnside Farms with our friends, a place I have wanted to go for years.
It is known for its gorgeous sunflowers in the later Summer/Fall and its stunning tulips in the Spring.
A photographer’s dream, truly.
Or at least a mom with a fully juiced IPHONE’s dream.
And a pleasant dream, it started out as…
Car packed with snacks, drinks, DVDs, and the address put into both my phone map App and car GPS.
Ah, adventure awaits.
30 minutes in…
A breezy ride down the parkway, a painless merge onto Route 66, kids happily nodding along to the movie coming through their headsets and some inspirational tunes on the radio.
Still living the dream.
10 miles later…
Why is my car GPS telling me to turn around?
Hmm, IPHONE app is saying to keep on trekking.
Weird. My car is crazy…
10 more miles down the road…
Stinkin’ car gps lady is yelling at me to turn around every chance I get, IPHONE saying the exit is coming up, as the kids are starting to pipe up about popcorn and blankets.
This place better be close…
I take the IPHONE app suggested exit, continue down two different dirt/gravel roads and hear the phone say “arrived destination.”
I am on the ride of the highway. In a ditch. With my flashers on.
Cue the kids.
“WHERE ARE WE, MOM??? ARE WE LOST??? THIS RIDE IS SOOOO LONG…..”
I’ll spare you the choice phrases swarming around in my head, and the even better ones that eventually slipped out under my breath…
I eventually reset my phone map APP and low and behold- it decided to send me 30 minutes back the direction I came from- and ultimately was in sync with the car gps lady.
Fast forward 30 minutes…
The movie is long over, the girls have resorted to spittting across the car at each other and some, quite impressively- managed to hit me as well.
There is no more popcorn, they have spilled their capri-suns, no doubt between the seats where I will never be able to reach and clean…
And we are pretty much done.
And we have just arrived.
Anyone else see the massive storm a’comin’?
Well, I didn’t.
I mean, I knew meltdowns were possible…but I was still convinced I could give them such a good experience that they would forget ALL about their youthful, silly woes and remember why I am the world’s best mom.
Some highlights: ( at least we were in the company of our besties while all this went down…)
The three sunflower umbrellas they gave us upon entry became certifiable weapons.
The girls fought over the one set of sheers I grabbed, and ran down the rows of sunflowers yelling at each other, threatening to stab one another, and pitching fits when I asked if I could cut one down for myself.
They screamed bloody murder every time they saw a bee.
The bottles of water that I was so proud I remembered to bring, got stepped on and/or “accidentally” dumped.
They squinted for pictures.
They complained about everything.
And then they saw the bounce house.
Out yonder past the sunflowers in a field so far away it was hazy looking…
30 minutes later…
We return three baskets more or less in one piece, three sunflower umbrellas- one which won’t close anymore and is being used to knock over everything fragile next to the cash register, and the mean flower lady asks me to hurry up and pay for my five dying sunflowers.
Add the extra 25 minutes to the ride home because I decided to trust my car gps lady this time and shut off my phone in lieu of getting dinged by Verizon for roaming the whole morning.
And my car gps lady got me lost.
And I got spit on.
So there you have it.
That was the adventure I kept a secret all morning… told them they wold LOVE …. and freak out about… and be so happy.
As I do every time.
Shame on ME.
Why do I do this to myself?
When did everything get so hard?
Is it me?
Is it my kids?
What is the constant ingredient in this recipe for disaster?
I’m not totally sure….
And you cannot quote me on this….
I had an epiphany on the ride home.
It was that friggin’ long.
I once heard the quote:
Ring true for anyone?
It dawned on me during the ride home that my expectations were WAY off. As they seem to be often.
And therefore I resented the whole gosh darn morning.
Somewhere along the lines, I heightened the legit expectations for my children in these such situations.
I am forgetting to check them at face value and then make a discrete and discerning decision about what is realistic if we go forward.
Knowing that my children were tired, irritable, slightly hungry, thirsty- albeit their own fault on that one- but on a whole- and in general: hot messes.
Now, if I had come to this reality before stepping foot into that sunflower field, I think my experience would have been different.
Not theirs, necessarily-
I make good decisions sometimes. I really do.
I made a decision almost 3 years ago that I shouldn’t go to the local Library with Quinn.
Or any quiet place for that matter.
It’s just not a good combo at the moment.
And I know I’ll go back.
But meanwhile, every time I pass it, I smile.
I’m thinking of all the people I am sparing from a ruined not-at-all quiet or peaceful time.
You’re welcome local library goers… :O)
Why can’t I do that all the time???
I know what Q is capable of, and I have adjusted life accordingly.
But I fall back into the abyss of thinking my kids can handle things they can’t. Or that they will react to the 100 degree fields of sweat, bees and not-so-hearty flowers the same way I do.
But they are kids.
They think like a 3, 5, and 7 year old.
They act like a 3, 5, and 7 year old.
As they well should.
Y’all- I’m not defending our kids or saying these trips are our faults.
But I am praying you learn from them.
Even if it’s one small thing.
Repeat after me:
Now, do you feel like you are doing a great job?
If not, try saying it again slowly.
And think of all the people out there- ALL the people, who are struggling day by day.
You are not alone.
You can do this.
If we make it through the day…
With a smile hidden somewhere…
A few laughs…if not AT ourselves, than WITH loved ones…
And remember that life doesn’t have to be perfect.
The kids don’t.
Our houses don’t.
The outfits don’t.
The pictures don’t.
I leave you with a few quotes…
May one find its way into your heart and fuel your perfectly imperfect life.