The joy of (brief) getaways…

I had a conversation the other day with a friend on the subject of, among other things, how absolutely fantastic and wonderful my children indeed are.  She said it first.  And yes, you read that right- I, the mother that tells it all, just like it is, agreed that my children were amazing little individuals.  And while I did agree with her synopsis, it is necessary to add that I was also high on the weekend buzz that is a late Friday afternoon full of promise, so I do confess that my judgment may or may not have been slightly clouded.

And so I say.  That these same children whom exhibit less than desirable behaviors that I write about in my lengthy, candid blogs and discuss openly and honestly on Facebook  and other social mediums are actually quite fabulous and incredible when all is said and done.  In fact, they are awesome.   And I can say this and believe it because every single one of them is now tucked away in their various sleeping cubicles in our house.  And all is well in the world again.  Blessed silence.

Notable mention: I am most generous with my descriptive writing allowances after hours.

Actually, even as little as one hour ago, I would have begged to differ with the above commentary.   My children, I would have contended, are the opposite of great; they are horrible little beasts intent on my utter ruination and eventual demise.   And I was thinking all this (in no uncertain terms, albeit quietly to myself) as I drove out the driveway to get a break from the mayhem that is the witching hour at our house: bedtime.

In fact, I was so convinced I would under no circumstances be persuaded to think anything to the contrary that I was actually talking to myself about this very matter as I drove feverishly up the road.  And I must say that I felt this feeling of doom and despair more or less until I arrived home again to our sweet little yellow house on the corner of Gard and Mill River East Road.

Indeed, I felt this pervasive melancholy settle and weigh down on me until I had taken an entire hour to cool my jet engines.  During which time I felt the urge to go the Dollar store and buy a bag of otherwise useless items that will gather dust on a shelf somewhere.  And then another urge to go to Foodland and buy up the last seven pie pumpkins they had on the shelf, along with two bags of sweet bar-b-q potato chips (and a few other things that brought my total to just under forty smacks).  Just because.   And all this, because retail therapy works, and I live in West Prince (P.E.I.)

So these are the places I shop at 9:00 p.m. on a Monday evening.

But when I came home.  Oh, the feelings that came over me.  For starters.  I found a report that my diligent daughter had revised and edited- a writing project that was not assigned for homework, but which she corrected and re-wrote anyway so as to show her teacher what she is capable of doing.  And I believed again that children are wonderful creatures- full of promise.  Then, I had a conversation with my husband about another of our children and some struggles they are going through at home and school of late.  And I believed again that children need patience and understanding.  And room to grow.   And later still, I walked into a darkened bedroom and watched my oldest child gently sleeping.   And I believed again that this parenting hat is the most important hat I will ever wear: raising our children to live up to the high esteem in which they are held, both by God, the community, family and by us as parents.  Raising them to be honorable, diligent, respectful, humble, ambitious, loving, honest, kind and truthful individuals.  To be as awesome as a person can possibly be in this world, with God’s help and guidance.  So that we as parents can be fully proud and humbled at one and the same time by the children that will someday rise up and call us blessed.  Whom I believe will be grateful for all we’ve done.

Because I know I am.  Grateful.  For all I have been blessed with in this life, both past and present.

When all is said and done, I still believe that sometimes what a parent needs is to escape the crazy house and the bedtime frenzy so as to remember this simple truth: kids are great.  They are actually pretty awesome.  And even as little as an hour away can help us remember that and put our lives into perspective.

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The Joy of a Pampered Life…and other myths about resorts

As the children have started swimming lessons, we now are the proud card holders of a two-month membership at the local Rodd Mill River Resort Aquaplex and Squash Courts.  We have the card for two months, and I plan on making the aquaplex our second home.  The kids commented today, while we were home eating lunch together on an Easter Monday, that we can now go to the Rodd for free.

Well, not actually, kiddos- that’s why Mommy works a day job.  To pay for swimming lessons for four.  Which, by the way, cost close to three hundred and fifty dollars because we have to have the membership to get the swimming lessons at this particular resort.   I am planning on moving my essentials over starting this Thursday while the second swimming lesson is underway.  That will be the only point in time over the coming week in which my kids will all be in the watchful care of their new babysitter, er, I mean lifeguard, who will be closely attending to them while I unpack.   I look at my membership fees as the equivalent of one month’s rent.  Squatter’s rights to the second month.

We tell the kiddos that we are going to the pool after supper, and it seems a spell has been cast.  It is as if a magician has waved a wand and obedience dust has been gently sprinkled over their perky, little noses.  All day, we have nary an unkind word or moment of complaint.  Love prevails.  Temper tantrums cease.   Okay, I am exaggerating about this last one: nobody in a household of six really has it that good.  But it is better than normal around here for most of the day.  My husband and I look at each other at various points throughout the morning and afternoon and give each other the raised eyebrow- an unspoken signal that allows you to say the unspeakable.  We salute one another with a high-five when we accomplish the unthinkable: that is, we manage to get all four children working simultaneously at various jobs around the house on projects that might have only gotten off the ground when pigs fly.

Can this day really be happening?  Or, am I watching an early episode of 19 Kids and Counting?

Since the day has been such a roaring good time, we are more than willing to take the family for a nice “top-off-the-weekend” swim before retiring to bed for the night.  What could be better than a nice swim, a relaxing drive home and then a gentle tuck-in and cozy hug to finish the day?

Just about anything would be nicer, actually.

For starters, the pool is freezing.  I mean, something has to be broken in the plumbing department tonight.  And they call this a resort?   However, I am a Canadian girl, so I make it work.  I find the one warm spot in the shallow end, but let’s just say that two little girls have already been laughing about how they always pee in the pool.  As if this was a secret.

Exactly.

We swim, we freeze.  Double whammy.  And, since the hot tub is also not working, I do my best to stay warm in the pool, treading water when necessary and doing various acrobatics to maintain body heat.  Meanwhile, husband mentions he might take a little break in the sauna.  I am now on duty with four little swimmers while he sweats it out in the warmest place in the resort: the sauna.  After about a half an hour, I notice that my husband has not returned to the pool.  I say to my sister-in-law, “He is going to lose five pounds if he doesn’t soon get out of there.”   My youngest, having overheard this comment, abruptly turns and looks at me with genuine worry in her eyes.

“Do you mean he’s going to melt in there?”

After having rescued my melting Easter Bunny from the oven in which he has been slow roasting, we proceed to leave the cold pool area for the even colder shower and changing room.  My three girls and I huddle in one shower stall and wait for five, solid minutes for the scalding hot water to gradually return to a steady stream of warm water.  As I am the mother, I am the last to get out and dress myself.  This night has not really gone exactly as planned, but at the very least, the kids are still in good humor.  With my rose colored glasses retrieved and sitting on the brim of my nose, I can also try to see this whole experience as cup half full.

Right?

Wrong.  The minute we step foot in the van, everything completely falls apart.  The kids start fighting, and before we have made it into our driveway, the oldest has lost video games for two days.  The youngest, not to be outdone, has also lost video games for one day, and she is still crying as we proceed into the house and edge our way toward the staircase leading to her bedroom.

Are you kidding me?

I am flabbergasted.  And quite ready to revoke the kid’s memberships to the pool so I can instead buy myself a makeover package from the local beauty salon instead. Or a big bottle of Asprin, at the very least.

Spa life ain’t all she was cracked up to be.