This morning the weather forecast was pointing to at least 85 and sunny. I hadn't planned on going with our church's Mom's group to the park. We are supposed to be recovering from travels and re-establishing a routine and schedule. But when I saw my children slink downstairs for breakfast and quickly retire to the couch to whine about the choice of oatmeal for breakfast, I thought we might provide a goal to work towards.
"If we can get thru our jobs (aka chores, but we don't use that word) and do a little math and reading before 10, I think we could meet the Mom's group at the park. They were going to meet at the place with the fountain you can play in."
Noah hopped up and asked for worksheets while eating his breakfast, and the other kids anxiously ate quickly so that they could get dressed. We didn't get out until a little after 10, and had to stop for 5 minutes at Bi-Mart to find some sandals for Maggy to wear in the water, and of course, at Black Rock Coffee for an iced Coconut-caramel macchiato for Mommy. (really Black Rock is a once-a-week or less treat for me... just for the record) It was about 11 when we rolled up to the park with sunscreen, towels, camp chair and a packed lunch, snacks and water bottles. The place was packed! Almost every spot on the brick benches around the fountain were occupied and many had taken up residence on the grassy areas near by.
My wonderful children enjoyed just about every minute in the water and on the adjacent playground, except for Maggy who was intrigued by the water, but less than anxious to get in. Eventually, some of the other kids from our group discovered the joy of filling zip lock bags and finding random places and people to unleash them on.... but only those also in the water. After about 40 minutes between the water and snacks, play began to move back and forth between the fountains, the snack bag and the playground. Most of the time, I was flittering between conversations with other Moms and helping my children with small needs: another sandwich, a slice of nectarine, a towel out of the bag, shoes on or off. There was virtually no time there that left me feeling over-worked or in need of more hands.
Maggy eventually wrangled me into pushing her on the swings, which she would happily monopolize until the sun sets. The mom pushing her young daughter on the swing next to me noticed that I was calling out to more than one other child periodically and asked "how many others do you have." I said, "There are four of them, altogether." And she wondered at how I could keep track of all of them. I don't think I came off as prideful or arrogant, but in retrospect, I am blessed to be able to boast:
"Well, my oldest is pretty apt to keeping the rules, so generally he'll let me know if anyone is doing something they shouldn't. And they generally don't go where they shouldn't. They tend to stay close to each other and play together. They are really pretty good kids."And they are. Actually, they are pretty amazing kids.
I shortly there after, ran into an old co-worker. The last time I saw her she was pregnant with #2 and I had just had Zak (my 3rd). She was pretty floored when she heard that this one in the swing was #4 and would be joined by twins in the fall. She marveled that I would take everyone into Bi-Mart with me for a quick trip, let alone do my regular shopping with my kids, which I almost always do. This has been something we've always done, so they become trained to behave. But I am realizing too, they are AMAZING kids, and I am a blessed mommy, to be sure.
So here is where the life moment hits, that makes me feel the need to blog this... it isn't just to brag about my amazing kids.
We return home, everyone is happy and have been promised juice popsicles before nap time. As we adjourn to the back porch we find that Noah's new boots, that were recently acquired to replace the boots that the dog ate the tops off of, were left in the yard this morning with the dog and are now in the same state as the old boots. I literally bought those boots 4 days ago! I'm pretty sure steam was coming out of my ears and eye sockets. This was after I specifically asked him to check the yard this morning... "make sure there is nothing out there that the dog will chew up."
HOW COULD YOU MISS THAT!? THEY ARE BRIGHT YELLOW!
Maggy's boots were also sitting in the middle of the yard. Thankfully the dog only seems to have a taste for the boys boots. But still! He did not do as he was asked this morning.
So as the children have now adjourned for nap-time, I proceed to share with my husband via instant messenger that the new boots are now a loss. And we begin to realize how much we tend expect from our kids.
Yes, have high standards
Yes, do as you are told
Yes, take care of your stuff
I anticipate this afternoon will be a time to tell them how blessed I am, how much I appreciate them, activities of their choice, and lots of hugs.