I try to make Monday's more pleasant, but that is not always the case. For instance, as I was (disinterested in) rolling out of bed this morning, I began reflecting on the last 72 hours. Our kids and I went on a camping trip this past weekend. I find that getting out into nature really does help curb the electronic addictions that many of us face, myself included. Time seems different when you are camping. Everything slows down. You can really take a moment to hear your own thoughts. All weekend, we were laughing, cutting up with each other, and despite our oldest coming down with strep throat (I thought it would miss her), we had a great time. A little campfire chat, a random proposal by my eldest son to a tree during a rousing game of Truth or Dare. All the way down to our camp neighbors running down the lane yelling "The red coats are coming" (We bring all kinds of education to our trips) - we had a blast! I even had a campfire s'more for the first time in over 14 years (I still don't like them).
A blast, right!?! Yes! A great weekend.
That was the beginning of the end.
What a nightmare!
The kids were complaining, griping, hitting (of all things) and being really rude to each other. And I was no better. I was frustrated, frazzled, and truth be told - upset - because I didn't want to come home. Not because I don't love my home life, but because I knew that wonderful, stupendous, relaxing "slow-down" would once again turn into hopping from one task to the next. The streets would be busy, and city life would once again bang into my eardrums the steady repetition of "Go! Go! Go!"
By the time we got our campsite cleaned up and ready to leave, one kid was in tears, the other was overly tired, and the other two were rather preoccupied with how many other ways mom can make her face scrunch into a tight ball!
Yes, the beginning of the end of our wonderful weekend was in full swing.
When we returned home, our moods hadn't really improved much. I was cranky because of all that had happened in just three short hours.
Add to that the stress of getting all of our camping gear stored away, cleaning any items that needed cleaning and then storing them, plus a couple of housework chores that hubby didn't think of, remembering an assignment I had forgotten before we left, and then the hustle of "What's for lunch? What's for dinner? Can I go outside and play? Where's my shoe? He hit me again! Mom, tell her to stop! I can't find my toothbrush! Give ME the remote!..."
*Gasp* Take me back! Take me back to the woods and leave me there until my attitude changes!
Then I sat and thought. Is this how it really happens with other large families. I have in my head a really strange notion that other families seem to have this simplistic, almost surreal way of going about these trips/excursions and they always seem to be so well rested and relaxed, never claiming to have ever experienced a little melt down, much less a full on grown-up tantrum!
Then I look at my family and wonder, "Did I do something wrong? How is it we can have a relatively perfect weekend, and it all go down hill inside of three hours?"
Then I became a little more rational. This is MY family, not anyone else's. My kids experience moods just like any others. They get upset and cranky, too. They may not display their moods the way I would want them too, but then again, if they did, I might not think anything was wrong.
Sometimes, having a melt down helps reassure yourself that everything really is going to be OK, and furthermore, is just what you need to realize how alive you truly are. Perhaps it isn't the surreal life one is expecting, but rather, the random (sometimes annoying, painful or simply bothersome) hiccups in life is all it takes to make you appreciate just how blessed you are.
The next time you are thinking about a camping trip, an excursion, or an outing -- when the frustration level seems to be through the roof, tempers are flaring, tears are rolling, or you simply don't know how to feel - take a moment and Thank God... You are alive to experience it. These are what memories are made of.
Until next time,