Saturday, July 19, 2014

Getting it Together in Philly

There’s this mom I know who doesn’t have it all together.  She sometimes tries to (gather it all into buckets)..but it doesn’t always go her way.  Sometimes she makes time to iron her shorts on a trip so she’s all that, but then she loses her favorite flower bracelet and has to put makeup on in the car since she lost time.

She has the *best* plans.  She had wanted to read her book on raising (almost) perfect kids (which is pretty awesome!) while laying out on the sandy beach while her kiddos played.  She wanted to try to get a tan little color.

But then she decided to just run around (in her body that she’d used to have all these kids) (around bodies that haven't had kids) (ok, ok..some have) and build sandcastles and sand bathtubs and sand pits and take pictures (and take the big chance that she’d ruin her phone in the waves) trying to catch all these happy people ride waves, play around the lifeguards’ boat, and just throw sand in the air.

It was so worth those precious words at the end of the day.. “This was the best day EVER!”  Twice.

She had wanted to give her kids all the rides they wanted down on the boardwalk, but she felt pretty stretched when her husband dropped her off with six kids all different ages, wanting to go in four directions.  She let them all take turns picking rides, and sometimes the kids breathed heavy with impatience.  Sometimes her kids fussed that they wanted MORE tickets, and she just didn’t buy them any more (what was wrong with her?).  Five dollars per person per ride just seemed so steep to her.  And in two minutes each ride was o-v-e-r.

Was it worth it?  Their smiles and laughing made it worth it.  She had kinda thought maybe she’d get to ride one or two with her kids since she’d wanted to make memories with them.  But maybe next year.  Everyone got tired and hungry.  (And then she got her daughter fried Snickers.  The girl with DiABeTeS!)  (She’s clearly doesn’t use her brain much.)

This once she had a suitcase full of wet swimsuits since her fam went swimming on their very last day at the beach.  And she stressed that they’d mildew before she made it to the next hotel to air them out to dry.

She tries to organize suitcases, so the family only has to take two inside for a night (instead of six), but she ends up forgetting to pack everyone’s underwears and her daughter’s shorts for the next day.

But then there’s a total win at the Springhill Suites when they have tiny (easier to control herself?) Nutella individual packets for "everyone". (EEEeeeee!!!!)  (Is it inappropriate to squeal?)  (To take four?)  (and hide them for later?)  Then there’s a dilemma over how many are actually appropriate.  Daughter says all.  She says no.  (She's trying desperately to use her brain in the light of day.)   

Then she plans this day where they learn all about their national history.  First, they make a trip to the US Mint (since the kids have grown since they’ve seen the Denver Mint, and well, now there are two more kids) to see how coins are made.  They go through security, and the kids have to be wanded since they both have on pumps.  She kinda tears up that they are Special.

The baby runs around during the long walk/self-guided tour (but thankfully they don’t lose him), all the workers are out to lunch and the machines are stopped..but they get to see dies, rolls of metals, mistake coins, waffled coins for recycling (so the coins don’t have to be escorted), firey machines, and learn that it takes the power of (something like) sixteen sharks’ bites (she couldn’t take pictures her memory was foggy!) to stamp the metal.  Cool stuff.  Her kids spent some trip money on big, thick coins to remember their tour and trip.

Then it all begins to go awry when the sweet daughter goes l-o-w.  And the momma doesn’t have anything to give her.  The kids are all cute in their red, white, and blue (ok, except for the rebel girl in her hot pink tank under the red) for their patriotic visit..but no quick sugar.  Why can’t she remember EVERYthing?

A quick trip across the street to a couple of food trucks and a visit to the Bourse and they call it lunch.  They accidentally drop the huge cherry water ice on the pavement.  Oops.  They go through the Burial Grounds, see Benjamin (and his wife Deborah) Franklin’s grave.   

They go through security again to see Independence Hall.  The momma yells for Sissy to come here, and the security lady says, that's MY name!  They meet her and learn about what her daddy used to call her when she was little.  (She thinks about how the world is full of people who have an entire childhood that no one ever asks about.  Huh.)  Then they see George Washington's bronze statue and try really hard to take a selfie with him (fail miserably, but hilariously!), then work on getting water, and finding an exit.  The baby was falling apart.

The long, long, l-o-n-g line to (go through yet another security screening just to) see the Liberty Bell again was just not quite worth it.  They'd seen it twice, so the momma decided to let it all go.  The history lessons, the Constitution Center, the Liberty Bell, the art museum..and all that sweet information.  She decided sometimes they are just tired, maxed out, and ready to rest. (and numbly watch Curious George)  (and did you realize Will Ferrell is the Man with the Yellow Hat?  He's very entertaining.) 
That momma I know just gave up, like she didn't have a plan.  She seemed to have it all together: suitcases organized, jewelry sorted, all the kids bathed, clothes laid out, her makeup on before nine.  But it seemed that wasn't the point at all.  She wasn't even sure what the point was: to be the towel carrier?  To be the ticket holder/connection point?  To be the swimsuit dryer?  To gather Nutella?  To to feed them when they were low?  Get them through security without frying a pump?  To teach them about their national history?
Maybe it was all just to teach her it wasn't about her at all.

It was just about sharing.  Sharing your toothbrush with someone else.  Even if they just wanted to tickle their legs with it.

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