There are some parents who have jam-packed activity schedules for their children. Every day. All the time. They go to art galleries…museums…rock climbing…harp lessons…wildlife reserves…kayaking…wine and cheese tasting…flower arranging classes…skydiving…snake pit dancing… They take them everywhere and their children have lots of fantabulously exciting and intellectually stimulating experiences. I don’t actually KNOW any of these kinds of parents personally, most probably because they are far too busy taking their children everywhere to have a spare moment to talk to me. Or it could be because such parents would never deign to be friends with a loser like me because:
I don’t take my kids anywhere. (Heck, I don’t even go anywhere myself. The cave is a scintillating place to be, why do we have to go out for?!)
But that’s because the few times that I do try to take them somewhere…really irritating things happen.
I decided to take the three daughters to the library. Sounds simple enough, right? Ha. First drama erupted when Bella decided her regular shoes were just not good enough to go the library in. ‘I want sparkly glitter shoes. Why don’t I have any pretty shoes?’ A five year old having a fashion crisis meltdown is a horrible thing.
Then the trio couldn’t find an overdue library book. Much searching and yelling ensued. Much messing up of an already messy house was involved in this hunt for the elusive book. Bella cried because she couldn’t find it. Big Daughter snapped at Little Daughter because “its all your fault the book is missing. Why didn’t you take better care of it?” Little Daughter cried. Then Big Daughter asked, ‘Why don’t we just tell the library we lost the book and pay for it?”
“Do you have money to pay for it?” I snarled.
“Well, then don’t make such ridiculous suggestions. Get out there and FIND THAT DAMN BOOK!”
After thirty minutes of emotional upheaval, the book was found. Hallelujah. We traipsed downstairs and got in the car. Which is when I noticed my car registration had expired. Just fabulous. The library parking lot is always riddled with parking cops, eager to hand out tickets and fines.
‘Don’t worry,’ the Hot Man said. ‘Go pay for the registration online and print out the receipt. You can put it on the dashboard when you go in the library.’
I went inside. I got online. I paid the registration. I tried to print the receipt. But I couldn’t. Because the printer had run out of ink. Just fudging fantastic!!!!
I went back outside. I slammed the door behind me. It didn’t make me feel any better. This day sucks. Who’s dumb idea was it to go to the library anyway?
For one tremulously wonderful moment, I contemplated cancelling the trip. Telling them all to ‘get out of my car, go inside and watch TV and don’t talk to me for the rest of the day. Not if you want to live…’ I thought about how crappy an ordinary thing like going to the library can be when one leads a messy, disorganized life like me. Those OTHER parents who take their kids everywhere can do that because their kids have sparkly shoes, they have a special shelf for library books so they never get lost (probably bar coded and GPS tracked for extra organizational wonderfulness points in heaven), their cars are ALWAYS registered on time, and their printers ALWAYS have ink in them (with extra cartridges stored for emergencies. Like the Zombie Apocalypse.) This is the problem with taking my kids out of the house. It’s a reminder to me of what a loser parent I am. Why am I even bothering?!
But then I looked at three hopeful, patient, excited faces. In the car. Waiting. Anxiously. Because I never take them anywhere. Because a visit to the library is about as exciting as their lives get.
So I took them to the library and resigned myself to getting a ticket. What the heck, every other annoying thing has already happened…ticket me! Come on, do it!
And you know what? We had fun at the library. In spite of all my dark threats, there was no overdue fine to pay because little kids books don’t get fined apparently. Everybody got lots of books. All three of them found friends from school to talk to and look for books with. Bella played games and did puzzles. And I watched them all and asked myself, ‘Why don’t I do this more often? Its nice in here…’
Oh – and we finally caught a break – and didn’t get a ticket.
That night, I sat and read library books to Bella. She snuggled in beside me, listened avidly, laughed at all the funny bits and made me read the best books twice. Then she said, ‘Mama, this is so fun. I love you.’
Which of course had me all choked up on equal amounts of happiness, love and guilt. And promising, yes I will take these children to the library more often. Possibly to the park. Maybe even rock climbing! (yeah, lets not push it. Keep it real Lani.)
And resolving to get some blasted spare ink cartridges for the printer, never be late with my car registration again, buy some sparkly shoes for Bella, and DON’T LOSE ANY LIBRARY BOOKS.
How about you? Please tell me I’m not the only one who dreads taking kids places?