Looking For Adventure In All the Wrong Places
Last week, I had a day where the kids each went through 3 outfit changes (and 1 mess-related bath) before I ever got out of my bathrobe. Today was one of those days we didn't get out of the house until almost noon. It has been in the 50s and rainy for 4 days straight. I was determined to get out of the house after an entire weekend of Geoff and me shifting the responsibility of watching both kids back and forth as we shuffled around trying to accomplish various things, slowly. We are burned out tired here at the end of Colby's school year. And being cooped up here in May after a long winter and disappointingly dreary, cold spring is really fraying everyone's patience.
So today, come hell or high water, or packing the diaper bag with snacks just before lunchtime, we finally, *finally* headed out toward Augusta's Children's Museum.
The Children's Museum is really more like a big, divided play space with various areas of exploration - dress up, sensory exploration, etc. It's in a shopping center.
I'd never been with them and have been saving this little gem for a snowy or rainy day. This was it.
Then we got there.
It was one of those moments where the universe swirls around you with the imagined suffering of the very things you were trying to escape, but this time compounded by disappointment and 40 miles worth of gas and a low snack supply.
I said, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
The kids joined me at first, but they can't hold a note as long as I can.
Eventually they just started blinking at each other.
And when I was done, they patted my legs and said, "It's OK, Mommy!"
It was. But now I have to think of something else to do on the fly. Not usually a problem for me, but since we were already in Augusta, I felt like we should be taking advantage of its amenities, namely civilized establishments like Wendy's or consignment shops.
I actually feel a bit less isolated now knowing there is a Wendy's less than an hour from our house! We didn't go there, though.
We went next door into the natural foods store, where G could not stop herself from sucking on each of the dropper nipples of all the hundreds of tiny supplement bottles. C couldn't stop himself from squeezing and squooshing the plastic bags of dozens of varieties of grain there right at his level. And I somehow wound up paying almost $6 for a box of gluten-free natural Nurtri-Grain-style bars.
I Googled (do I really still have to capitalize that now?) consignment shops, and the first 2 were out of business. C kept asking about why all the businesses were empty. I tried to explain the recession simply. He didn't really get it, of course, but it did occur to him that it costs money to run a business, and when people don't come, they can't just continue to wait.
In trying to find the second one, we went downtown. Google told me the shop was just around the corner, but I didn't see parking ahead, so I parked where I could, popped out the stroller, and off we walked in the rain. On closer inspection, there was no store at all. Another Available sign. Around it - used furniture, pawn shop, a soup kitchen, a closed down theater that appeared to have a way in. Lots of non-profit offices. Family hair care, businesses that promised to open soon but no sign of life, a used sewing machine shop with 1990's style fabrics, shoe repair, an army-navy store, and a bridal store with yellowed mannequins leaning against the display wall, too tired to stand up anymore.
Finally on the way out of town, I found one store, where I did find a few cute things for G, but then it was time to go. The rain was getting heavier.
It had been a long, fruitless day with very little adventure or little to show.
Then the magic happened.
Right there in the parking lot, a deep puddle got their attention.
I let them play there in the rain, even though it was filthy, instead of hurrying them off into the car. (To get to what, right? Five more minutes of naptime?)
As much as possible, I think it's good to deliberately unhurry. And definitely not to worry about getting gross.
Last Friday, I took them on a rare camera-free day to the LC Bates natural history museum and for a walk in the woods there on the back of their property. I like to escape the screens and even my camera to help me stay present, stay creative, and open my eyes.
But opening your eyes doesn't mean looking harder. It just means keeping them open to seeing possibilities.