I undertook a small trip this week. The four and a half hour trip down with the kids was almost pleasant. I filled the gaps with pep talk reminders about the joys of project work. Despite a late breaking meltdown ten minutes from our destination, we were happy to be out of the car and got down to business pretty quickly.
The boys were pleased to be cleaning out eaves troughs. Our roof at home is too steep to walk around on,and in seven years we haven’t managed to put up the eaves troughs on our house, so it’s not a job they’ve ever done. The girls and I emptied out a small greenhouse, then set to work with hammers and wrenches to take it apart.
The newness of the tasks made them fun. Milk and cookies from great grandma (who said they needed a break before their mother would have) didn’t hurt. Watching the girls play with toys that I played with as a child made my heart happy.
The way home was a little less fun. All we were doing then was going home, and we weren’t there yet. The movie choice was hotly debated by three. Girl one was the swing vote with the two’s (Boy and Girl) duking it out to win her over. Peaceful resolution required intervention. I chose Boy two’s movie with an option for Girl two to vote it down at the fifteen minute mark if she didn’t like it. She magnanimously said she would add five minutes and make her assessment at the twenty minute mark. I mistakenly thought we were home free.
Girl two lost track of time as planned. After half an hour she wasn’t sure if she liked the movie but it might be okay. In five minute intervals for the next hour she was alternately convinced, distracted, or placated with snack. We then declared it too late to change the movie. For the rest, in between watching intently, she told us every three or four minutes how much she hated Free Willy. It was the second worst movie she had ever seen in her life. She liked the sound of a statement so sweeping and repeated it periodically for the rest of the trip.
We arrived home in one piece, albeit not in one peace. I thanked everyone for their help. The kids said they’d enjoyed the trip excepting the return. A furtive tap on my door brought this counsel:
Mom, my advice is, while we’re still in the working mood, you better work us hard this weekend for as long as you can . . . but don’t let anyone else know I said that or they’ll kill me.
In their own strange ways, they look out for me.