This weekend was perfect.
Not because we spontaneously skipped the boys’ Saturday activities to catch the last weekend of our favorite pumpkin patch, or because of Sunday’s storm accompanied by Kevin’s homemade pho, or the video game-like World Series Game 5 between the Dodgers and the Astros providing much excitement and bonding for everyone across the country late Sunday night.
The forecast showed that Saturday would be in the 60s before Sunday’s storm and though I craved rest, AND I didn’t want the boys to miss their Saturday sports, I couldn’t pass up this last chance to take Olive to our favorite pumpkin patch for her first visit. We hadn’t missed a year yet for maybe the past four years?
But this would require effort. Effort beyond scrounging up something to wear these days for my still postpartum body.
Grabbing all the costumes, refilling the diaper bag, packing extra blankets for Olive, charging the camera, finding and charging the selfie stick (which we never used once we got there), and other mundane but necessary To Do’s. I even insisted on M and E getting haircuts before we headed out because I can’t stand looking at shaggy hair in my holiday photos.
Kevin took them to the car first because I can’t hear myself think when we’re trying to head out. I packed a final tote bag of more stuff, to add to the corned beef and PB&J samiches I had packed during their haircuts and Olive’s morning nap.
I was already sweating from getting ready and I had grown irritated that getting out the apartment was harder in part because we had to repeat ourselves. The boys were hurting my supersonic ears and Kevin reported back that the boys had fought the entire way down and had gotten in his way AGAIN at the garage steps, where he has to hoist the Snap n Go to level ground.
By the time I got into the passenger seat, I warned them that I was NOT having it:
“It’s already hard for our bigger family to get out the door but when you guys don’t listen, and get in our way, it makes it harder and it is NOT okay. You guys know better and can do better. You have to choose the right thing. Mommy doesn’t even feel like going any more when you fight and make it harder to leave. When it’s already hard, you should say, ‘How can we help?’ rather than make it harder. And if you can’t help, at least don’t make it worse.
Now, I won’t force it but can someone other than Mommy or Daddy pray for me and for the rest of the day? If we want to go, we can’t go like this.”
I was sure that they would sulk so I was surprised when M volunteered. “Please Lord, help us to listen better and to break the cycle. Thank You for letting us go together and please keep us safe.”
I am all too familiar with going to fun destinations and having a horrible time because we weren’t able to break the cycle of conflict and emotional turmoil before or during a special event so *THIS* was the highlight of my weekend, as awesome as the rest of it was.
This gift of UNDERSTANDING at a young age that just because you messed up, it doesn’t mean you have to stay in it and sabotage the rest of the day in order to subconsciously or consciously match it up to the initial jacked up-ness. The kids are grasping this idea that at any moment of any given day, THEY have to power to redirect themselves. There is always more grace and His mercies are not just new every morning but every moment.
I didn’t live this out myself until recently, after about five years of struggling in our marriage and now that I’m doing much better, this day at the pumpkin patch started off on the right vibe and the picture perfect moments were truly that. Also, as third-time parents, knowing how crazy I get about preserving ALL the moments, we intentionally practiced the art of taking a deep breath and saying, “That’s enough picture-taking. Let’s just take stop and enjoy.”
So, Olive turned five months old at the pumpkin patch and as the third child, she is inheriting an emotionally healthier family.
Here are some photos: