It’s not that some days are tougher than others… It’s just that, some days, I let it get to me more than usual.
Some days the sink is full again as soon as I finish washing the dishes. Some days I can’t see the floor underneath all the soccer balls, basketballs, and assorted other potentially ankle-twisting balls that have been unceremoniously dumped out of their basket for the umpteenth million time. Some days I can’t figure out why I’m tripping over what feels like every single pair of shoes in the house, which for some unknown reason have been removed and left directly in front of the door, rather than put away in the mudroom where they belong (and you know, thereby actually allowing anyone to USE the door – novel concept, I know). Some days I just want to vacuum up all those little Lego pieces, rather than continuously battle with the 5yo to pick them up. Some days I wonder if my kids just like to fight. Some days (actually, this one is EVERY day) it makes me absolutely WACKO to nag and nag and nag my kids into putting their coats and shoes on (please, oh please, why do they require me to repeat myself at least 285 times?!).
And usually I am fully aware that none of these common, little irritations are particularly dreadful; they are (thankfully!) not life-changing incidents or horrific accidents. Most days, even if I am a teensy bit whiny, I’m also grateful for having good food to put on those dishes in my sink (even if the kids would prefer to live solely on goldfish crackers), that my children prefer playing soccer and T-Ball to spray-painting their names on the neighbor’s dog, that some of those shoes in front of the door are mine, that I’d much prefer Liam to play with his Legos than goad his sister into another cage-fight style kicking match, and that someday I just might miss nagging my kids into putting on their coats and shoes (well, no, probably not).
But sometimes, some days… well… all those pesky annoyances, when added all up together, can just really make a person – or at least this person – a tad grumpy. Okay, maybe spectacularly grumpy. Oh, fine. Grumptastic, if you will.
On the Saturday before Easter Sunday, my husband, perceptive guy that he is (poor, poor man…), realized that I was about one “You’re the meanest Mama ever!” away from sweeping every single toy in the house off the shelves (and floors) and into bags, to be carted off to some charity that would give the playthings to children who just might actually appreciate them, and suggested that we head to my mom’s house in Gig Harbor (a little over an hour’s drive south of Seattle) a day early; we were already planning on going to her place for Easter, so why not just make it an overnight stay? Why not? Do you have any idea how long it takes to pack up a family of five and two dogs, even for just a one-night getaway??? But… as the sun was starting to make an appearance (and who knew how long that would last?), and my mom lives on the beach (truly one of the prettiest places ever, I could admit in spite of all my grouchiness), I couldn’t think of a better place to at least try and get away from it all. Or rather, get myself a little much needed perspective.
So… three hours later we were packed and finally on the road.
My mom poured the wine as soon as I arrived (at 4:30pm; c’mon – I’m not that bad!). Bill took the kids and dogs down to the beach to collect pockets full of shells (the 9yo), discover sea stars and crabs (the 5yo), eat rocks (the 21mo), and fetch tennis balls (the dogs).
And I felt my grouchiness just melt away…
It was a PERFECT WEEKEND.
The kids had a fantastic time rediscovering all the awesome toys that make Grandma’s House the most thrilling of adventures – and please understand, Grandma is very strategic about buying “the best” toys for her beloved grandbabies, toys about which she can proclaim, in mock innocence, “Oh, that’s too bad it’s so big you can’t take it home; you’ll just have to come here to play with it, I guess.”
After what feels like a decade of non-stop rain (I know I shouldn’t complain, after all it’s my decision to live in wet Seattle, but still – it’s been a particularly dreary spring!), we couldn’t get over the amazing, warm weather that compelled us to remove the fleece coats and stay outside all day long. While the baby napped and the big kids splashed in the hot tub (another “toy” I can’t take home!), I read a magazine (decadence!!) and finished the New York Times Sunday Crossword (my favorite!!) in the sunshine (sunshine!!). And did I mention that my mom made every meal that weekend (decadence!!)??
But what really put the cherry on top of the weekend was the 5yo losing his second tooth on the night before Easter, just as he was being tucked into bed. His little body was literally quivering with excitement as he shouted, “THE TOOTH FAIRY IS GOING TO MEET THE EASTER BUNNY!!”*
The kids were so jacked about this meeting that they woke us up AT 3AM (!!) on Easter Sunday. Liam proudly showed us the Sacajawea dollar the Tooth Fairy had left him (our kids always get Sacajawea dollars from the Tooth Fairy; in a rare parenting win – woot! woot! – I’d actually brought one of the coins with us in anticipation of just such an event). Though both kids were more than eager to go discover their Easter Bunny loot, we sent them back to bed; I don’t believe they actually slept, but at least they didn’t return until 6am…
While I hooked up my coffee IV drip, the kids squealed in delight as they hunted up all the plastic eggs filled with M&Ms and Peeps the Easter Bunny always hides in my mom’s living room (as it’s usually raining in the Pacific Northwest, the Easter Bunny kindly keeps the egg hunt indoors). This was, Liam loudly proclaimed, “THE BEST DAY EVER!!”
Their enthusiasm was infectious…
And I thought: if only I could bottle up that pure, innocent, unadulterated BLISS in a bottle, to bring out and use to spike my coffee (or wine, depending on the time of day!) on “those” days where I, for some reason or another, let all those dishes-in-the-sink and balls-on-the-floor and shoes-in-front-of-the-door and Legos-in-the-toddler’s-mouth and siblings-making-each-other-scream and repeated-admonishments-to-put-on-your-BLEEPITY-BLEEP-BLEEP-coats get me to the point where I just want to throw a good, old-fashioned, foot-stomping tantrum that would rival any of my children’s melt-downs…
Well, I guess I’ll just have to look forward to the next time the Tooth Fairy meets up with another bigwig childhood legend to get another hit of such bliss. The kids still have lots of teeth left, after all.
Or, I could just run away to my mom’s house again. Now there’s a thought…
* My 9yo daughter would like me to inform everyone that she was responsible for the Tooth Fairy meeting Santa Claus, back when she was “little” (she was 6yo) and lost a tooth on Christmas Eve, also at Grandma’s House, and that that, too, was a VERY VERY EXCITING time.
In apparent attempts to keep today from being one of those “tough” days, Off Duty Mom (you can read her blog here) has kindly nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award. Thank you!! It’s so nice to hear that my stories are even read, let alone enjoyed. You made my day!