It doesn’t always work out. Sometimes, you plan the perfect family outing, and in your head, it’s going to be wonderful. Fun family memories that will make everyone smile twenty years from now.
I’m thinking specifically about a mini-golfing trip from a week ago. It sounded SO good. We’d go mini-golfing, just the five of us, and it’d be fabulous. And looking back, I do think it was fun, overall. But during the game, it was kind of craptastic. It started raining in the middle of it, Marc was grumpy because nobody took it as seriously as he did. Sam and Julie started a massive brawl in the middle of the the fourteenth hole, and Jessie stormed back to the car and kept firing off angry texts to me about how her fourth of July got ruined by her siblings. Twenty years from now, we probably will look back and smile – “Hey, remember that time we went mini-golfing, and it rained, and Daddy got mad because we kept cheating and then Sam and Julie started screaming and crying and Jessie stormed off?”
But today – today really was perfect. I work Mondays-Thursdays during the week, and Fridays are my days home alone with the kids. Marc tries to cram a lot of work time in on Fridays, because he has to be so flexible the other days, so he left really early. Everyone slept really late, and I worked from home a little this morning. Jessie was in her room, repainting her nails (reinforcing why I don’t like paying for manicures – Girlfriend would rather do her own nails), and Julie and Sam were playing in his bedroom. Around noontime, I closed the laptop, got everyone dressed and bounced off to Walmart. We picked up Shabbat supplies, and I indulged them in crappy Lunchables. Bought fruit and drinks and we went to a park. We spread out the picnic blanket, ate our lunch together and then I laid in the shade, read my book and watched them play for a few hours in the sunshine. The weather was blissful – everyone got along perfectly (I’m ignoring the five minute crying jag that Julie had half-way thru). I even bought a $5 CD at Walmart, and got Katrina and the Waves Walking on Sunshine. I played it super loud over and over again while we were driving. Everyone was happy and loving each other and being outside. It was exactly what I always want those family times to be like.
And even if I don’t always get the perfect afternoon (I’m looking at you Crystal Caves Mini-golf Course), it’s so worth it to keep planning them. Because when it works, it’s so awesome.