Memorial Day could’ve gone pear-shaped for us. It sort of looked like it was going to because:
*Dutch was on call and had to go into work.
*Jack was having none of the game I invented called “Let’s stop eating all the sliced Havarti that is locked up in the garage fridge.”
*Charlie was running feral from the backyard to the front, amping up his brothers and stirring up malcontent.
*Jack wasn’t into the sporadic rain showers and the “being inside.”
Everyone was wholly snippy and grumpy. Until:
*Jack’s sitter came by and I took the little boys for a picnic in the park. I looked around at the families picnicking around us and thought, “Look at us, doing a normal family thing, a simple thing that for us isn’t simple.”
*Truman went down the twisty slide at the park 87 times, making train sound effects every time. His curls bounced heartily every time he ran for the stairs of the play structure and he told me, “I’m the fastest engine going up the bridge.”
*Charlie agreed to have quiet time in exchange for a dumb whirling helicopter toy from the gas station.
*Henry mowed Grandma Shirley’s lawn with a deft hand. He could probably do it in his sleep now, nimbly.
*Jack sat nicely in the car all the way to Grandma Joyce’s cabin, and spent most of the evening laughing and sucking down Otter Pops. We call this VICTORY.
*We went on a hike to the water tower and Moose Poop Ledge. Charlie ran for all of it. Every step. The other boys ran for most of it, because boys like running uphill and downhill.
*We ate Joyce’s roast chicken and watermelon and orange watermelon (which is what we call cantaloupe so that Charlie will eat it) and spinach salad and cupcakes.
*I thought about my parents and Dutch’s parents, and what it means to be a part of a family.
*I thought of my grandparents and Dutch’s grandparents, picturing them in the different phases of their lives. “They did this too,” I thought. “They raised children and worked and cleaned up and felt tired and ate watermelon and chicken with their families on summer holidays.”
It was a day that threatened to go pear-shaped, but which instead took me from my boys to our parents and grandparents, all the way back to Dutch and me. Full circle.