Garden Party

Yesterday while Jeff fixed all the sprinkler heads in the backyard (broken sprinkler heads brought to you by Jacky), I spent approximately 27 minutes applying sunscreen to everyone, packing snacks, overseeing people getting pottied and shod, and piling them in the car for an outing to the tulip festival at the gardens.

Jack got mad en route for some unknown reason and by the time we pulled into the crazy overflowing parking lot, he was in full shriek mode with a side of kicking and flailing. I like to think of myself as possessing tenacity, which in this situation meant I pressed onward with our outing anyway. I am such an idiot.
I pulled my two little boys in the wagon and held onto screaming Jack’s flailing hand as we navigated our way through a ridiculously zoo-like crowd of people who likewise came to see the tulips and apparently to participate in some princess-themed event. This I deduced from swarms of little girls everywhere dressed as princesses. I’m smart like that. These girls were behaving nicely, as princesses should (obviously).
I persevered toward the garden entrance with my pack of boys. Jack loudly announced our presence with his sobs and screams. Charlie shouted at Jack to stop shouting. Baby kept calm and carried on riding in the wagon (poor innocent child who thinks that we are a normal family).
When Jack went all Gandhi on me and lay down on the blacktop, I finally wheeled the little red wagon around and peeled my kid off the driveway. We retraced our steps to our van amid crying and screaming. We bailed. 
Inside the car, Jack stopped impersonating Gandhi and started kicking Charlie in the back and head. I confiscated Jack’s shoes (projectiles) and water bottle (instrument of torture when poured down the back of an unsuspecting brother), and comforted Chachi. We went home.
The rest of the afternoon post failed garden excursion, the familiar lyrics of The Gambler played in my mind: You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run….

We walked away. People in fanny packs and tank tops and princess costumes stared at us. The din of Jack melting down filled the parking lot. Sigh.
It was a scene not unlike many others in previous days at the farm, the park, the movies, the rec center, the pool, the grocery store, the dino museum, and the food court. Every time it happens, I existentially ask myself if this is really still happening. Jack turns nine next week and yep, it is.
But here is something terrific: while Saturday afternoon was a bunch of stinky cheese, Sunday afternoon was a pleasant breeze. In a Cinco de Mayo miracle, the entire family made it through all of church! Take that, three-hour-block! We don’t need no stinkin’ Kenny Rogers lyrics to kick your can down the street. 
Jeff and I experienced the thrill of victory when we dropped off Littlest for his first day in the church nursery. Baby of the family is 18-months-old, can I get a heck yeah!? He toddled in happily and promptly found the baby basketball hoop. Out in the hallway, we high-fived and smugly bumped fists. 
Weekend accomplished.

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