Thursday, July 26, 2012

I'm a Big Girl Now

(This is from last week.  Someday I'll share today's failures with you; but, for now, would you celebrate last week's successes with me?)

Today was a day I had to put on my big girl flip-flops.  I was taking the kids by myself to a place I had never driven to in a city I’m not too familiar with so that we could explore a living history settlement that I haven’t been to in years…since college actually.  Huge unknowns, like how I would wield a double jogging stroller in and out of multiple restrooms, how I would keep two kids from falling apart in record-high heat, and how I would keep my pregnant body hydrated while also chasing after two very active boys, were swirling around in my mind. 

I felt like such an adult (cause maybe I am) going to Starbucks in the hotel with my double stroller and ordering the caramel macchiato that would sustain me through the first two hours of our adventure.  Then I almost outdid myself by going to the concierge desk to ask for directions to the settlement. 

There I was with my picnic, purse, and diaper backpack loaded into my stroller, coffee in one hand and directions in the other. I can do this.  I can do two kids by myself.  Right?  With almost no hassle, I pushed the kids to the parking garage, loaded them up, and started off. 

Then we hit the road-closing construction on the main road we were to take.  Umm… thanks, Concierge Lady, for mentioning that.  What amazed me was that I had acquired enough big-girl directional skills over the last five years of marriage to a directional genius that I managed to maneuver around the construction and make it to the settlement without too much of a headache or excessive turning around…even without detour signs!  Woohoo!

We arrived before the settlement even opened and had time to look at the maps to see all the changes that have taken place since 2003.  Yes, there have been a few, including a preschoolers’ history discovery center AND a big Civil War-themed playroom and water play area.  Thank goodness both the discovery center and the playroom were air-conditioned.  The kids had a blast; and when we weren’t playing trains or climbing around the Union soldiers’ bunks inside, we were meeting the animals on the farm, watering the garden, and learning what school was like 180 years ago.

I’m not gonna lie.  We got baked.  As much as we tried to stay in the shade, it was incredibly hot, and there was an EMT driving around giving out free water bottles to prove it.  About the time we were leaving, the rain clouds started rolling in, bringing life-giving shade and water to a scorched land. 

I’m also not going to pretend my children were perfect.  We walked in, and one of my children (I’ll let you guess which one.) explained to me that he wanted to do what he wanted to do and I needed to listen to him.  Excuse ME?  I don’t think so.  I was within about 30 seconds of leaving behind all our fun day plans when his little heart broke, and he decided obedience and fun would win over disobedience and a day sitting in a corner at the hotel. 

Now having handled public disobedience, a heat wave, and a giant sheep that decided it didn’t like Ben in the petting zoo; I wasn’t even worried about getting back to the hotel through the construction.  The boys were exhausted, but Caleb was even excited when I had to run an errand along the way.

One might ask why a mom would put herself through this or why she would expect her children to have respectable behavior in the midst of a heat wave.  I guess I just want my children to know that every obstacle does not need to be avoided, that we can still make right choices in less-than-perfect circumstances, that we can learn and grow together, and that the world is too exciting of a place to hide in your room and just watch television because it’s easy.  That pep talk there was as much for me as for anyone. 

So despite the ugly, I’m calling this vacation day a success because right now I’m eating leftover cheesecake from a certain factory and sipping decaf Starbucks I made in our room and remembering all the things we accomplished today, all the situations we navigated together as a team, and all of the smiles that my children wore as they discovered a little more about this world that God has made for us.  For us right now, that is enough.  Glad I suited up and took on the challenge of this day, armed with my Starbucks, of course.

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