I always knew traveling with children would be bad for my health, but the stress of traveling pales in comparison to the geography lessons they pick up and the realization that the grass can be greener on the other side of the fence.
Today was an especially low-key day with little stress and happy children roaming through our home. And some of them were mine.
We decided to invite a neighbor girl over to play. I didn’t even hesitate to have her join the fun. After all, everyone was on Spring Break vacation, the sun was shining, the birds were twittering, or is that “tweeting” now? I’m not hip to the lingo yet…still have preschoolers.
After setting up a lovely picnic/snack under the fir tree for a “kids only” party, I retreated to my chair perched high above on the deck, so I had a full referee-view of the yard. However, the list of demands started up right after I opened my book. I was watching the children closely WHILE reading my book. It’s a gift – don’t challenge it.
The remaining dialog for the next 40 (condensed) minutes follows:
“Mom, we’re thirsty. Can we have some more lemonade?”
“We ran out of lemonade. How about some water?” I said smiling.
“How about some apple juice?” the other child asks.
“How about some water?” I repeated.
“We don’t want water. I’ll make some more lemonade,” says my oldest sassy one while heading for the kitchen.
“If you are truly thirsty, water is the best thing for you. I’d love to get you all some water.”
The youngest of my sassy-pants adds, “I’m not thirsty, so can I have some apple juice?”
**inhale, exhale, inhale…”
By this time, the eldest and most brazen of the group, is huffing past my perch and dragging a kitchen chair over to the refrigerator with a package of lemonade in her hand. Apparently, when you turn five you are able to do what you want and prepare anything in MY kitchen. My fault…I hadn’t let her know in the last hour who is the BOSS in this house.
Not looking up from my book, I holler into the kitchen, “What are you doing?”
“I’m making lemonade and it will be the PINK kind,” she boldly announces.
The next 5 minutes is comprised of inane bantering about who is allowed to do what, where, and when – until a crazy woman screams, “YOU NEED TO GO TO YOUR ROOM, SO I CAN COOL DOWN!” Don’t know where that woman came from or why she can project so well into the neighboring county, but it worked.
There is stomping up the stairs, door slamming, and then…SILENCE. Ahhhhhhhhh. Glance over to the other kids. They are happy as clams and have started another game of find the best pine-cone. Back to my book…
Fifteen minutes later oldest child exits her room, dragging a heavy suitcase down the stairs.
Bump, bump, bump… “Good-bye, Mom!”
“Where are you going?” This mama has cooled down and that crazy woman has thankfully left the deck.
Stating matter-of-factly, “I’m moving to the beach!”
“When did you decide to go on a trip?” I ask.
She kicks out her 5T hip to the side and glares at the enemy, “You sent me upstairs, so I packed. I’m tough now and I don’t need you.” Oh, where did she find that dagger pierced deep into my heart?
Then my daughter dramatically gasps, drops her suitcase and twirls around, “Oh, I forgot my beach umbrella and my sun block!”
“Don’t forget to pack your lemonade!” I call out to the wind she left behind.
Needless to say, we patched things up with hugs and kisses, and apologies followed. My first borne announced she would miss her family and her lemonade…such a touching epilogue.
Isn’t it amazing how these events form our children into the type of adult they will become? It’s satisfying to know my beautiful daughter, who I absolutely adore and cherish, is slowly growing into a self-sufficient young woman, who will take care of her skin, be well traveled, and will have her PINK lemonade no matter what people think!