Mothers Day in a new light

Today is the first day of May.

Today is the first full month of 2018 that I feel somewhat less lost as a mother, as a daughter and as a woman.

I have grown children, and teenage children, and fur children. I have a wife who I have been accused of treating like a child on occasion. Nobody is perfect, judgmental Judy.

I even have feathered children (I love those little cluckers).

I know, I look way too young to have grown children, thank you for thinking it.

The fact is I do. The oldest are adults, adulting in a grown up world far from my nest.

In case you need a quick refresher note here is a mini version of my sorta-adult life:

A long time ago in a land far away there was a young “know it all teenager” who found herself pregnant and stupid. She married her boyfriend, bought a house with a white picket fence added in a couple dogs and had everything but happiness.

More ridiculous things happened in the middle. Blah, blah, blah …

Fast forward 20 something years and that stupid teenager is a self proclaimed wise(r) woman. She made mistakes. She fell down alot, skinned her knees and nearly broke her neck emotionally and mentally. Eventually that lost girl found her happiness. She distanced herself from her own mother for fouls of a personal nature for years but has since, very recently, found forgiveness. Her grown children are distanced now, not by spite but by miles and sparse communication.

For all of my woes there is a light in distance, there is a summer plan to bring all of my people to the same harmonious place.

By harmony I mean grass and lawn chairs, sipping cold beverages and cheering on a game of corn hole or horse shoes. There will be laughter and loud voices, there will be barking dogs and trash talk. There will be breezes to blow the smoke from the grill.

There will be a stillness inside me finally even in the midst of reunion chaos.

Mothers Day may come in mid May but I am celebrating a little earlier. For the first time in a long time I have something entirely and unexpectedly related to extended family to look forward to.

Something that isn’t a surprise pile of dog poo in the hallway in the middle of the night when I get up to pee.

Something not related to a bag of cheese puffs in the pantry with a single cheesy puff left in the bottom of the bag.

Something uncommonly good to look forward to. Something not at all like a field trip leaving tomorrow at 4 in the morning which I learned about the night before.

Nope. Something really, really good.

Something great is on the horizon. A Happy Mothers Day indeed.

 

Latest-Happy-Mothers-Day-Rose-Images

Breakfast with the boy. Mom, the kitchens on fire.

On occasion I take my kids on breakfast dates. The time over a meal we share is priceless. It’s a mommy and me session with a teenager, one on one time without arguing kids. It’s lovely.

Plus there is coffee. I need that in my life.

Today it was my son’s turn. He was able to pick the place, had to be local but still anyplace he wanted. I do the same for my daughter and she usually picks someplace with real menus. Nice places with fancy pancake options and flavored coffee with frothy tops. The places with real napkins and actual eating utensils. With servers and a laid back, take your time, savor your freshly squeezed orange juice, atmosphere.

Not my boy though.

No. Not this time. He wanted a breakfast burrito stuffed with every animal available on the morning menu topped with eggs and cheese. He a added a side of deep fried potato and a fountain soda to make it “perfection” … sure kid.

A plastic, paper lined basket filled with food sure to clog his arteries some day. I’m not complaining. Not even a little. For under $20 I had a date with my youngest child. The one most like me most days, sarcastic and inquisitive. He makes me laugh and he also makes me want to sell him on the black market. Sometimes both in the same day.

We sat in the way back chowing down in mostly content silence. Occasionally giving each other dirty looks when all of a sudden from the back kitchen we hear someone yelling.

It was mostly words we couldn’t make out in frantic voices.

“Fire!” We heard that one loud and clear.

We looked at each other, mouths full of burrito and wondered if it meant what we thought it meant. There was more yelling before he swallowed his bite and wondered out loud if we should take our breakfast to go.

I gazed out the window at the miserable rain and chilly air and sighed deeply. Weighing my options there was but a single choice.

I decided it was probably just a small manageable issue.

Kitchens have fires all the time. There was no alarm going off so I thought it was probably fine to continue to sip my soda calmly.

It was then a member of the staff ran from the kitchen to grab an extinguisher from the counter under the register. I mention this to the boy in comical amazement. He seems to be much more aware of danger than I. He turns to me and asks if it was “probably protocol to evacuate customers when there was a fire” which really is a good question.

We pondered this for a good 3 minutes before a frazzled woman in a restaurant uniform wearing a crooked headset booked it out the front door. She didn’t make eye contact and didn’t stop to say a word to patrons eating in the dining room.

We declared it clearly wasn’t a thing. There would be no evacuation. Whatever had happened in that back kitchen stayed there. Like Vegas but with eggs and bacon. We can only wonder what poor sap was served a charcoal biscuit.

What exactly the employee did with that extinquisher and why exactly there was no concern to leave the building is still a mystery.

All I know is it may be a little while before I feel the need to conquer a burrito for breakfast. Our next date most surely will be in an establishment with forks.

We might ask about the protocol in the event of a fire too. You know, just in case.

Oh to be a working (puppy) mom … 

I’ve been doing some side work from home lately. It’s been nice, the kids are away for summer and my only home responsibility is our new puppy, Charlie. Today I had a huge project and a deadline.

I started on my work early; I forced the dogs out of bed and outside so as not to be interrupted for at least a little while. All was going well until about an hour ago …

It’s been 12 hours since I opened my laptop and began my project. It’s finished but so is my brain. I’m basically numb in the noggin.

In my infinite wisdom I pulled back my chair in triumph only to knock over a very large, very full potted plant. It didn’t seem too bad considering someone forgot to water it. Just loose dry dirt in a heap. I got the broom and started to sweep. While I was basically just moving potting soil around (to make it look like nothing happened) I noticed it was probably time to just turn on the robotic vacuum.

Yes. The easy way out.

And so I did.

I tapped the clean button with my toe and it sprang to life with a little tune. In no time all this will be a memory, I thought to myself. My work was done, the floors would be cleaned up and I could set about convincing the wife to pick up take out on her way home.

I checked Charlie before sitting back down, and sure enough he was being a little saint. Just chewing a plastic tire on the dog bed. Good boy.

I went back to browsing the online menu selection while the whirl of the robot vacuum made it’s way around the furniture picking up dog food pieces, dirt and pet hair, plus any random stuff we kicked under the tables.

Just as I paid for the food and text the info to the wife I heard the strangest noise, like the robot vacuum was in some sort of trouble. I peeked around the sofa to see indeed, there was trouble.

Charlie, sweet Charlie, had taken every last toy from his plastic toy crate and made a rug of ropes and balls and mangled stuffed toys. They covered the entire floor. All I could see was chew toys and squeakers. It looked like a bomb went off in a Petco.

My poor roomba had been surrounded and dare I say it, sabatoged. In the chaos it had sucked up a half unstuffed panda and a rope string. Poor thing was desperately trying to fight it’s way out of the toy mob alive.

I jumped in like a true hero and pulled the toys off the spinning bar. I tossed everything back into the puppy toy box and set the vacuum back on it’s way. Charlie just looked at me from his dog bed like he had no idea how any of that happened.

Anyone who says puppies are easier than kids is welcome to come puppy sit anytime. I’m almost positive the kids were easier toddlers and one of them once buttered a long haired cat.

Nope. I’m not kidding.

I’ll save that story for another time.

For now if you are also a new puppy mom or dad or grandma or whatever you should probably invest in a crate. Also a crate bed for your little terror. Check out some reviews here: Dog product picker they have some cool ideas for keeping the doggos comfy AND their toys safe from the vacuum.

Parenthood. We are probably doing it wrong.

There is a lot of noise on social media lately about motherhood. Not really about fatherhood, not really calling out the dads. I think there are flows every now and again where we the people get on our platforms and proclaim to the world that they are doing “it” wrong, whatever the new “it” thing happens to be.

Right now it happens to be parenting.

Aimed directly at mothers to be precise.

We have heard about the zoo incident where the young boy climbed into a gorilla pit. The one where seemingly the mother had no eye on her child for the entire time he climbed a fence and other security measures to find himself face to face, in a pit, with a 400 lb gorilla.

While I wasn’t there and I am by no means one to judge another mother I find it extremely frightening that this teeny tot was unsupervised in a public place. Surrounded by strangers and more danger than one could possibly imagine.I am infuriated by this parents lack of concern for where her child was until it was too late. I am appalled other adults must have seen this happening and said nothing. Did nothing. Stood back in judgement? Wonder? Horror?

How does the child escape the watchful eye of a parent?

I will tell you how. Mothers are human too. We are expected to be on a constant watch for our offspring, for potential pain, possible death. While I managed to watch mine for as many years as it takes to basically not fall into a pit at the zoo … I wasn’t exactly perfect.

Pick up any parenting magazine or surf a parenting website and try not to be persuaded to read about the struggle of working parents vs those who stay at home and how hard it is to make a life choice to be either.

Or the blogger who I briefly scanned proclaiming BS on stay at home moms who title themselves super human and their children saints.

I have been on both sides here. When my brood was teeny I stayed at home with them. We budgeted to the last dollar and we never had much but I was home.

Are my children saints because I was there 24/7? No.

Was I some kind of super human for making a choice to stay home? No. I was barely human. Have you seen The Walking Dead? I was the mommy version.

Mostly I was a mess chasing toddlers around in my pajamas from yesterday, wiping faces and picking Cheerios out of my hair. I usually didn’t know what day it was and I didn’t care as long as my family was fed and alive.

Once they were older I worked, I went to school, I got a better job, I found a career and I love it. I can provide things I never had, that they never had, and sometimes that means I work alot of hours.

Do vacations and big screen TV’s make me a better mother? No. If you ask my kids they think I’m pretty cool but that would only be so they can go back to playing video games on the new console.

Are my kids saints because I work to support them? Hell no. They spend alot of time being grounded for not helping with the dishes.

Then there are the celebrity parents on social media. Those with cute little baby pictures on Instagram followed up with attacks on parenting. Everything from when it might be alright to leave your newborn for a dinner out to how to dress a toddler or style their hair. Or those adopted kids to gay parents and how they can possibly be thriving in such an environment.

I received my fair share of parenting advice, lucky for me I could just hang up the phone or close my front door and not hear it if I didn’t want to. Social media seems to have closed that gap. There are plenty of opinions on everything. I have mine too but generally I just scroll on or unfriend or unfollow people who irritate me.

I simply don’t subscribe to those I can not seem to pass by without voicing a negative opinion.

I am well aware nobody wants to me to point out those dirty little kid faces in every photo posted. (please wipe your kids face, seriously)

Do I have cute little food face photos tucked away somewhere to embarrass my kids later? You bet.

The point is parenting is hard enough without someone in your face telling you that you are doing it wrong.

You probably are.

I probably am too.

…. but since nobody handed us a manual with our newborn we have to make it up as we go along. Be a good person. Wipe your kids faces and don’t let them wander off in dangerous places and you will be just fine as a parent.

Try not to judge others out loud and you will be an excellent mother. Kudos.

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

 

 

 

 

The day they ate all my cocoa almonds and the world almost ended

It may seem a little dramatic for a blog title … “The day they ate all my cocoa almonds and the world almost ended”  but it’s the truth.

I was having a bad day at work. I had skipped lunch because I knew we would be celebrating one of our favorite friends birthdays that evening.

My wife on the other hand had the day to herself and decide to get her snack on.

She found a hidden bag of cocoa almonds tucked away in the pantry. A delicious dark chocolate snack I was saving for a day of all days. The kind where you want to eat something deliriously chocolaty for dinner and wash it down with a chilled bottle of wine.

I wasn’t even so upset about it when she text me. She was giddy. Like she found a pot of chocolate wrapped gold coins at the end of a Skittles rainbow.

I didn’t pout when she told me she opened the bag and sampled the goodness inside.

It was alright. Really.

I was focused on making it the rest of my work day and getting to the restaurant on time. I knew what I was having when we got there too; a buffalo fried chicken salad with ranch, a couple beers and a big ole piece of that red velvet cake we bought the birthday girl.

To say I was hangry by the time we got to our favorite lakeside patio and were seated would be pretty accurate. I was both agitated by work events and starving from a lack of lunch break.

I needed sustenance … pronto.

We were seated and approached by non other than the server from our last visit. The one we didn’t like. The one who was slow to fill our drinks or even check on us last time. I was hopeful that this visit wouldn’t be a repeat.

I was so naive.

We did get our appetizer, and our first beer. He did take the cake to the cooler for us and promised to bring it out when we finished our meals. That was about the extent of my hopefulness.

Our friends orders came out wrong and missing side items. Our food never came at all. He never came back to check if everything was alright. I was getting more and more anxious and well … pissed off. I watched other tables get their orders. I watched the sun slowly setting on the horizon. I watched a small child nearly fall into the lake and  most importantly I watched my glass empty.

I was getting more and more irate. Have you ever witnessed a professional in the business of customer service be under served? It isn’t pretty. I said bad words. I shot a glare across the breezeway that made the server want to jump right past that unattended kid and into the lake.

Our friend flagged him down and forced him to confront our table. He nodded that he understood our complaints and ran off. A manager quickly came back to smooth things over. She made it all well, apologized for ruining our evening and summoned the remainder of our order.

We finished our meal and a second round before I requested the special item we brought in with us be delivered. The manager looked at me quizzically, she had no idea what I was talking about. Or she did and realized that this meant not only was dinner a disaster but it was a special occasion.

In the end everyone was fed, we shared cake with other tables and the helpful manager. Our bill was comped and we were given coupons to come back, all totally unnecessary as we are regulars and would have come back anyway. It was a nice touch though and I appreciated the efforts.

The end of the night came and I strolled into the house, put down my bag and went to turn out every light in the house so that we could go to bed.

I walked into the kitchen and there it was … my bag of almonds. Or should I say the bag that held my almonds when I left that morning.

It was like the final smack in the face.

One tiny chuck left in the bottom of the bag. The kids had polished off the sweet open bag of goodness like it wouldn’t be noticed.

I took a deep breath. Then another. I turned off the lights and took a shower. I climbed into bed unable to turn to the wife. I just couldn’t make her understand why I was so damn mad. My work, my birthday dinner surprise, now my almonds. My cocoa almonds!

When I was a child I was told once the world wouldn’t end if I had a bad day.

Yesterday it almost did.

 

Mother’s Day. The real kind.

I am not a fan of this mothers day thing. I am intentionally seperated from my family tree mostly because of who I love.

Generally this is wonderful. It’s absolute bliss really.

However, when mothers day rolls around there is a deep pit in my stomach. A longing for unconditional love I never knew.

We celebrated a “moms’ day” Saturday instead. A full day of stuff we love as a family. Not because we had to but because we want to. An all inclusive splurge you might say. It was glorious. I felt loved. Honest and truely.

This the day of the official “Mother’s Day”,  so says the calender, started a little differently. I casually stepped over piles of laundry ignored  all week and strolled to the kitchen. I was greeted by a real life family kitchen, basically a mess of things not quite put away and a pile of dishes in the sink. I stopped and pondered who’s turn it was to load the dishwasher and I sighed deeply knowing it would be a long day of house chores.

I called to the children for help with today’s clean up. They came, with sad faces, to have left whatever it is adolescents do on the weekends.

They proceed to tell me they can not complete chores as we are out of a list of things, most importantly in this moment, dishwasher tabs. My son asks me if I picked them up yesterday. I snap back that we were together all day, how could I possibly have picked them up? I feel bad instantly. It isn’t their fault I have a deep issue with today and of all days I will spend it scrubbing toilets and folding other people’s underwear.

I sigh deeply and ask him to “please just load the dishwasher … alright?”
Seriously. Just load the damn dishwasher and stop giving me crap.

Instead of sulking and throwing plates into the rack, my child walks over to me and without saying any words just hugged me. I held him tightly and mom melted just a little, just long enough to relax.

The moment ended ubruptly when he said “no” … no?
As in no, I will not just do the dishes?

This kid.

He knows how to make me laugh. I love his sarcastic nature, he clearly gets it from me. This kid knows me. He appreciates me for who I am.

Even if he didn’t utter a single Happy Mothers Day this morning.

Even if nobody made me breakfast in bed. Let’s be honest, they didn’t even clean up their own breakfast.

But my boy hugged me so sincerely for 30 seconds I will forgive him for just about anything. Even not doing the dishes.

Vacation planning – AKA slow torture

It’s that time of year again.

I am planning the “big” vacation. Not our mountain weekend trips or mini last-minute romantic escapes. This is the big one, where we coordinate days off, convince the kids they will love the destination and then convince ourselves we will love spending a week in close proximity  … all together in one place …. for a week.

For a family that stays as busy as we do, formally getting together for anything longer than dinner is like herding kittens in a yarn store. Nobody has the same sleeping habits, food preferences, hobbies, athletic ability or desire to leave the confines of their bedroom and personal electronics. Did I mention the kids are pre-teen & teen-aged? Good times.

This is how things generally go:

2 minutes from home – “I need to pee”

10 minutes from home – “I’m bored”

30 minutes from home – “I’m hungry”

5 minutes after pulling into the parking lot of the hotel we intend to stay at – “I think I forgot to pack underwear”

30 seconds from opening the door to our room – collective bags drop and everyone falls into the beds for napping

Then there are activities:

“Let’s go to the pool!”  … blank stare “but we have never explored this area, there are bike trails, museums, shops, historical monuments ….” blank stares, holding swimsuits. Same swimwear they always wear .. to the pool we can go to back home … for FREE.

“Let’s go visit this lighthouse! We can climb to the top and take family photos and read all about the people who lived and worked here a long time ago!” My families typical response? “Can you just take a picture, from the car, so we can go get ice cream? We passed the shop just back there.”

“Mountain trails?  uhhh … hiking? That sounds like it will be hot and there will be bugs. Is there even wi-fi?” Where did I go wrong with these kids?

“The sun is in my eyes.” … “where are your sunglasses?” … “I lost them.” We bought them this morning!

Shivering in July sun …”The water is too cold”

“I don’t like sand.” Just spent 2 hours digging a giant hole … in the sand.

“I want to go to the room, I’m bored” 100 people on the beach, books, snacks, football, waves perfect for boogie boards, random friendly dogs. Definitely nothing going on here. Nothing at all.

or my favorite – random activities from the hotel booklet things we either didn’t budget for or would cause at least one of the family members to have a panic attack. It seems the kids know just how to push my mom buttons… “Skydiving!” No.

I’m on the hunt now for someplace affordable, where nobody will be left out, or bored, or too frightened to enjoy the experience. Where there will be places to eat that everyone likes and in an area family friendly enough to be safe but not resemble a nursery rhyme.

Maybe a stay-cation is in order. Somehow I don’t think we will all agree on that either.

 

 

 

 

 

Parenthood: tales of the lesbian step-mom

My kids are amazing. My wife is amazing. Together they are sorta a train wreck and today I feel a little like a helpless damsel in distress tied to the train tracks with nobody to save me.

This is how it all happened …

My youngest son (preteen) and my youngest daughter (barely a teen) live with my wife (acts like a teen sometimes) and I (always the mean mom) in our lovely rural home while their father lives across the country (we like it like that). This means for the bulk of the year we co-parent in my household with 2 moms. One of those moms never had an actual human child before this relationship, let alone a pair of prepubescent know it alls.

My kids love her, she is an amazing step-mom. She does everything I do as a parent plus more, mostly without complaining.

Like I said she is ahhh-mazing.

The kids absolutely agree, her meals taste better, she is more fun … she yells less. Whatever.

Then there are the days, like today. I get a text as a I exit the shower that the boy child is home. He didn’t catch the ride to school with his sister.

I wonder to myself what happened … is he sick? Should I check on him?

Then the real questions begin …. did I bring a robe to the bathroom?

Is this towel big enough to cover me if he is lurking in the hall?

Will he see me sprint naked and afraid the 3 steps from our bathroom to the bedroom door?

After the wife arrives home from the obligatory school drop off she begins to tell me the tale of 2 children. Of how the female child was dressed, back pack and shoes ready while her younger brother was most definitely not.

She describes for me in detail what happened with the boy.

He was standing in wrinkled shorts and holding his arms wide, in a gesture we can only guess was to make himself look bigger and scarier, like a grizzly bear in an old western movie. He stood there defiantly in support of his inaction this morning, making some desperate argument about why it is he wasn’t out of bed and ready to go. He stood there insanely ranting, thin arms spread wide, arguing about whether he did or did not wake in time to leave by 7:15.

As this was unfolding the wife was processing the entire scene in her head.

This kid was wasting precious teeth brushing time. In her infinite mom wisdom she decides the boy shall stay home. The punishment stood and she left him, in his sleep clothes, red eyed and cranky.

When she returned she checked in on him and found him playing video games. Like any kid home from school (as punishment?) would be doing. I didn’t have the time to argue as I slipped a cardigan over my shoulders and grabbed my bag for work.

A few hours into my work day I receive a Skype from the wife, not abnormal as we communicate periodically like this during my work day. This time it wasn’t about after work plans or when we were scheduled to take the car in for an oil change. No. This time it read like this:

[11:42:14 AM] Wife: Your son is up here looking for borax and glue
[11:58:44 AM] Me: uhhh, no?
[11:58:48 AM] Me: for why?
[12:00:01 PM] Wife: Making messes. Aka slime.
[12:00:14 PM] Me: No.
[12:00:29 PM] Me: Welcome to parenting boys 101
[12:00:35 PM] Wife: He was about to get into the Tide. I said no.
[12:01:09 PM] Me: this is the shit I need to blog about
[12:01:24 PM] Wife: Ha.
[12:02:02 PM] Wife: Yeah. I told him we aren’t making messes today.

I am 99% sure I am going to go home this evening to find no detergent for my laundry this weekend, a slime coating on my kitchen table, an empty potato chip bag and some soda cans mixed in with a beer bottle or few, and my kid still sitting in the same wrinkled shorts playing video games.

The truth is I really don’t think I want it any other way. Except maybe if they didn’t use all the Tide for slime and maybe tossed the dirty socks into the washing matching instead of kicking them under the couch. That would be good.

That seems like the perfect equivalent to untying the distressed damsel from the train tracks …

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These people are my heart. They make me laugh, make me cry. Mostly though they make me shrug my shoulders and smile.

 

 

 

Sexism. In my own house?!

I was recently promoted.

I will give you a moment here to cheer and clap. It’s kinda a big deal.

My son, 11 years old is ever so proud. Sorta. In a way kids are proud of their parents life success.

We were all having pizza at a local Italian joint and he says to me …    “So. Mom. You’re a manager now, right?”

I smile at my sweet innocent boy and wait for him to be adorable and congratulatory. I just knew he was super proud of his hard working momma.

That’s about when the dramatic mother – son music moment going in my head screeches to a halt.

Instead of lavish congratulations he snatches the last piece of cheese bread and gives me what he affectionately calls “a life lesson”.

My kid. “I guess you’ll need to be wearing tuxedos to work now.”

I just stared blankly as he continued to chomp the last piece of delicious cheese loaded carbs.

He swallows the last bite and then catches himself …

“No. I know tuxedos are for weddings and proms. You need a tux-odd-o.” … “You can’t be wearing what you always wear.”

What I always wear?! I clutched at my sweater collar and shifted in my seat a bit.

Mind you my office is casual and our work wardrobe is generally dress casual. I wear skirts and dresses and tunics and leggings.
Mostly.
Never a tuxedo. Or a tux-odd-o. Whatever the hell that is.

I dismissed entirely that he just made up a word. I didn’t or couldn’t understand any of the other words that were coming out his mouth.

My daughter did though. She advised him to shut up.

“Shut up now!” I believe is how she put her advice to him.

I asked, almost nervously, what it was I should wear and he gave it to me straight.

Ties and polos and black pants.

Because that’s what people wear when they wish to be considered serious.

He went on to tell me that I should no longer wear dresses and skirts as being attractive wouldn’t be professional. Nobody is going to take orders from a women in a skirt. If she is attractive people won’t listen to her. She can’t be the boss. Managers wear pants. and ties.

Seriously.
It got worse.
He pointed out the most powerful and well known lady in politics and said that because she wore dresses and looked pretty nobody cared what she had to say. Her husband wore the pants. Literally. He wears the pants. He also manages an entire country but that’s not the important part.

I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say. He sensed the potential immediate danger and so did my lovely co-parent. She made a joke about shopping where Hillary Clinton does to lighten things up a bit. Pant suits?? I was not amused.

I’m not sure where a kid with 2 moms gets this stuff.
Other kids?
School?
TV?
His dad??
Not from me.

I can assure you I am taken quite seriously with my dresses and cardigans. It just goes to show it doesn’t matter entirely what you teach your kids at home, society will influence their thoughts.

As for his “life lesson” it’s pretty funny. It’s pretty sad and it’s probably pretty true.

By the way I will most likely be bombarded with neck ties for Christmas from my coworkers. They thought that story was hilarious.

I may even rock a tie and some black pants on occasion in the future.

My wardrobe style is versatile enough to pull off even a “tux-odd-o” on occasion.

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Why amusement parks are family glue

I took a long weekend from work so we could escape to our favorite amusement park for a few days. Little did I know that it would be more than roller coasters and a few trips down some water slides.

This was a big weekend. The weekend. The one before the kids catch a plane destined for a location across the country to spend summer with their father. It had to be right. It had to be awesome. Alright, it had to be awesome to the kids.

And it was.

It was more than awesome. It was family bonding and moments that can not be taken back.

Alright so in true fashion here’s what happened the last couple days …
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Friday morning we scrambled to gather our backpacks and overnight necessity stuffs. Just a couple backpacks for the park and water park and a hotel bag each. We left at the crack of dawn. Alright maybe it just felt like it, with my love rushing me to get out of the bed. It’s easy for her, she just showers and miraculously is put together. I on the other hand need a team of experts and a barista to get me to look alive.

I gathered my things quickly and waved goodbye to the dogs. I explained that everyone was waiting for me in the car but the dog sitter would be by later. I gave them each the “don’t eat the sitter, just burglary suspects” look and hoped they understood. I think the little one winked. I’m not sure why but it seemed like a good sign.

Our drive was easy, our passes from last year had indeed been renewed and scored us free parking. We even found a spot right near the entrance of the park. I love when that happens. Even getting the kids past security was a breeze. So far so good.

The first day we split our little family into pairs and the bravest amoung us went to ride the brand new giga-coaster. I won’t lie, it was intimidating and I wasn’t sad to be taking on smaller rides with the scaredy cat child.
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After a few thrilling and a couple little less than thrilling rides we made our way to the water park and took a leisurely stroll ran like newly released zoo rhinos to the wave pool.
I don’t think I have ever seen more excited faces.

It’s not as if I have never taken my kids to this amusement park.
I have.

This time was the first with our little family as it is now. The first time ever for teams of 2 and a family of 4.
My love and I were called out equally, to watch new dive moves and to ride water rides with my offspring.

It made my mommy heart swell with such pride.

The kids announced that they were having such a great day, a perfect day. I danced a happy dance in my head.
I mean it.
I broke it down like nobody’s business.

I was ecstatic that my kids were having such fun. That our little family unit, on this little family outing, was so sucessful.

There wasn’t a fight, there was no whining, no complaining no sarcasm. Okay, there was sarcasm.
Lot’s of sarcasm. It was epic.

On day 2 I didn’t want to get up. Suprise, surprise. So I was rushed. Hair in a messy bun and everything from the hotel room thrown quickly into our bags.
Again, everyone was waiting in the car for me.

We got to the park at the same time but didn’t get as great a parking spot. It still wasn’t terrible and we were grateful to not have to walk from the next town to the park entrance.

Like the day before, we split in pairs so that the adventurers could use their season passes for early ride privileges on the new coaster. The more level headed child and I went straight to the water park so that we could get in and get our favorite location claimed before the masses came.
We were met at the gates with a very colorful family. The mom may or may not have been a star on that show “Here comes Honey Boo Boo” I’m not totally sure but there were some clear similarities to the mother. They seemed polite but eager and we waited in the #1 and #2 spots at the gate. I was worried I might have to kick a leg and trip a reality TV star but they headed a different direction once inside the gate.
Lucky break.

I secured our prime location, some drinks and snacks and we were soon joined by the adventurer crew. I listened intently to tales of the feeling “the free fall” and “almost coming off the tracks.” Whatever that means.

It didn’t take long before the sun beating down and the intense crowd began to take their toll. My sweet, happy family started to get cranky, sunburned and begin to turn on each other. It was time to ride some more coasters and consider the drive home.

We left the water park and began to notice the sky was becoming dark. Ominously black.
Then it started to rain. I began to second guess trying to ride any more rides as we took shelter in a vine tunnel. with about 50 other people.
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We waited out the storm and then ventured out, damp but our spirits were unbroken. We found a cute diner and the kids ran off together to ride a neighboring coaster.

Finally, a moment alone.
It was short lived but long enough to chat and we collectively decided to head home after the kids exited the last ride.

It was not our first trip, with,the 4 of us, but it was so much more meaningful than any other.
There was bonding.
I don’t just mean the sticky dried coke on the souvenirs cups kind of bonded. I mean actual love and good energy and laughter.

I didn’t just get a killer tan, I got family time. I don’t know which I’m more excited about. In fairness red heads don’t tan like this.

The thing is amusement parks really aren’t just coasters and crowds. It’s a chance to bond, reconnect, and fall in love. I am pretty enamoured with my crew right now … and my tan.