Sunday, September 06, 2009

Last Hurrah of Summer

On Saturday, our family finally went on a little "field trip" I'd concocted in my mind way back in June: driving up to a swanky, uber-yuppy-young-family neighborhood in southwest Minneapolis near my two former offices in order to take the girls to a unique and much-beloved children's bookstore there, and then around the corner to one of the best ice cream shops in the city.

We met friends at the neighborhood park/playground first for a picnic lunch, then our two families walked to the shops. Between us, we have four daughters ranging in age from five months to five years. We parents go back nearly a decade, and used to do all sorts of fun things together pre-kids--things that involved eating yummy foods, ingesting beverages made from alcohol, staying up later than 9 p.m., and completing entire conversations uninterrupted. Conversations about things other than potty training, sleep schedules, and preschool registration. Thank goodness we all have kids now, so we're all equally boring and yet none of us thinks we are.

The day was picture-perfect, just how I'd hoped it would be when I first came up with the idea to go.

I continued my Summer 2009 pattern of marveling at how cute Genevieve is despite her incredibly stubborn temperament,

spending nearly every daylight hour in close proximity to playground equipment,

remaining as pale and Scandinavian-looking as possible even at the height of sunny summer,

unsuccessfully trying to keep Julia from sucking on her fingers,

and negating all previous 30 Day Shred workouts by ingesting as much ice cream as humanly possible, while making last-minute vows to run like a fiend all autumn long to undo the damage:

Yum. It was a good day.

Summer with my girls is done. We had a lot of fun, and I hope in years hence I remember the good times and not how much I raised my voice to them, how impatient they made me feel, how many weeks we struggled over sleep issues. I hope I recall the joyful evening runs I took and not the way I ate too much sugar to gain energy I didn't have or to distract myself from feeling like a bad mom for raising my voice or being impatient. I hope my girls remember the picnics, bike rides, playgroups, pool visits, backyard doll tea parties, sidewalk chalk, and farm trips, not the way I seemed crabby pretty much every morning and they didn't know why. It was a good summer and a hard summer all at once. I can't really explain why it was so hard; I guess because the girls were two and barely-five, and one of them hated sleep and screamed a lot and threw tantrums every day, and there's no one nearby to help on a regular basis, and I felt beaten down by day after day of doing all the never-ending cooking and cleaning and child-wrangling and bedtime-battling. Maybe because it's hard to feel alone in the middle of young-child full-time mothering, it's easy to feel like you're working really hard but hard to feel like you're doing a good job. Maybe that doesn't sound like reason enough, but it was.

I hope next summer we go to Wild Rumpus bookstore and Sebastian Joe's ice cream shop an extra time or two. I hope we eat the ice cream guilt-free.

I hope this fall is a happy, exciting one for my daughters and a productive, creative one for me. I'm busy trying to figure out what exactly that means and what's in store for me.


Mnmom said...

What we moms do is SO worthwhile, even though we have to wait years to see that. I marvel at how much my kids know about books and music, and I attribute that to all those longs days at the library, and cozied up on the sofa with a pile of books. I take pride in all the music I played for them. All the park trails we explored, even if it was one foot at a time. All those parks. All those playgrounds. The vacations, the picnics, the sledding, etc. It was worth every single screamy tantrumy minute.

Question said...

When Oatmeal gets nervous she puts her fingers in her nose. Who knew boogers could be so comforting?