Saturday, July 5, 2014

Start Again

Well, I'm glad that's over.

I look at everyone's lovely, happy, smiling pictures on Facebook and I can't help but wonder what their 4th of July was really like. Was it all sunshine and rainbows as it was portrayed? Or were the good moments captured on film and the rest swept under the carpet? I'm not gonna do that. We've got some jolly, happy pictures too, but they don't tell the whole story.

Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. And maybe that's the problem. Maybe I expect too much.

I've spent the last couple of weeks planning out activities and buying fun treats, glow sticks, fireworks, and making desserts to ensure we have the optimal amount of fun possible for the big day. But, and I'm sure you've already got this figured out, the optimal amount of fun was not had. It was not a great day.

It started out pleasantly enough. Todd headed out early to play golf with his uncles who were in town for the holiday. Seeing as how Todd enjoys a 3 hour parade as much as he enjoys getting punched in the gonads a dozen times I was happy to give him an out. I told Todd to go and have fun and I would take the kids to the parade.

The kids and I dressed up in red, white, and blue and took off for the parade. We were thrilled to find a prime spot sitting on the curb in the shade so that we wouldn't be squinting and sweating the whole time but we soon changed our minds. It was only about 62 degrees outside and a breeze was coming off the lake. We were freezing. I even had to run back to the car to get another blanket to cover up with. It was pretty ridiculous. The kids were whiny, Joey was being greedy and mean, Ben was annoying with his 18 billion questions a minute, Tommy was a grumpy pants, Grace was speaking at a DEFCON 1 level (why are you SO LOUD, little girl?), and I was super short on patience and barking at everyone. Snarl, snap, gripe, zing! Add to that the sassy little girls that were sitting next to us standing in front of us the ENTIRE time, and standing so far out into the street at times I was afraid they'd get hit by the cars and trucks going by, and it made for an iffy parade. My kids tried to be good but they were getting very frustrated with the girls stealing their candy and blocking their view the whole time. Even after I repeatedly asked the girls to step back so we could see it really didn't help much (and the parents seemed to think I was being rude). Ah well.
(The only way I could get any pictures was to get up, sidestep the little girls, and stand in the middle of the street.)

We ended up leaving the parade a little early (two plus hours was enough). We ran back to our house, grabbed a bunch of snacks, had a potty break, and dashed back out to our next activity, the cardboard boat regatta on the riverfront.

The kids were in a great mood because I was trying to be as fun as possible and I let them gorge themselves on their parade candy. They couldn't believe their good fortune as I usually limit the candy intake to just a few pieces. And, as luck would have it, because we left the parade a little early we got a fantastic parking spot and great seats on the boardwalk to watch the races.
The kids had never seen the cardboard boat regatta before and they really enjoyed it. It was a great show. Add in the snacks and they were happy little campers. Although we did have another odd incident with other people's kids again (like I don't already have enough incidents with my own kids). There was a boy (who kept giving everyone around him heart attacks because he was climbing all over the railing and almost falling in the water over and over again) sitting a ways away from Joey who kept coming over to us asking for food. I, of course, gave him the snacks (but I insisted he sit nicely if he was going to eat the snacks-which he would do for approximately 10 seconds), and then he came back for seconds, thirds, fourths, and fifths. He had way more of our snacks than my kids did. Again, the parents were right there. So odd.

Anywho, oddness aside, it all went pretty well. We went home and had lunch and because of too many late baseball games and too many early mornings the kids were beat. I suggested we all lie down for a little bit since we were going to be up so late at night watching fireworks. The kids were surprisingly obliging and we all took little naps.

And then all hell broke loose.

I won't get into all of it (it was mostly feeling like I have to be on constant alert and can't trust the household to run without me for 15 minutes without everything and everyone going down in flames) but the end result was me throwing my hands up in the air, quitting, and leaving. For all of an hour. I felt like getting a few drinks in a bar but instead I went and sat in the cemetery at my dad's grave and then vacuumed out my van. I'm a rebel, people! Don't push me over the edge. I might just go sit in a cemetery and then clean when I'm done.

I was still angry when I got home that I gave everyone the silent treatment. And when we went to the fireworks I didn't even take my camera. That'll show 'em!

As it turns out it may have been one of the better times we've had at the fireworks. And I have zero pictures to document it because I was too busy punishing everyone. Punishing them by not talking and not taking pictures. I sure know how to stick it to 'em, don't I? Actually, I think they were all in heaven. Mom's not nagging or taking pictures? Awesome! I am so smart sometimes.

By the time the fireworks were over I was in a much better mood. I think it may have had to do with the cocktail I made myself beforehand and took to the fireworks with me in my travel mug (the travel mug my bff gave me that says, "Today I shall think evil thoughts and try not to say them out loud"). Might have been one of the smarter moves I'd made all day.

Everyone was happy and back on track when we got home and I even let the kids have treats and set off some fireworks of our own outside.

Kisses and hugs were given at bedtime and all was peaceful. All's well that ends well, right?

And that is how life is.  Yin and yang.  Good and bad. Push and pull. Happy and crappy.

We get up in the morning and we try it all over again. We try to have a fun day. We try to speak with kindness. We try to be examples. We try not to drive each other crazy. It isn't always easy. Many times it is really hard. You have in your mind this vision of how it is going to go. How grateful they will be for all the hard work you do and all the ways you show them you love them. But often it goes unnoticed. It is typical. It shouldn't be taken personally but I guess sometimes I just can't help myself.

I'm learning.

Today we tried again.

Today we went to the batting cages and then played mini golf. Half the time I was having a blast and half the time I was pulling my hair out. The kids waffled between being sweet and supportive of each other and whining and fighting and not listening.  It is what it is. These mini people are just trying to figure it all out too so I guess we'll have the back and forth. It isn't all roses and sunshine. It's hard work.

But we just keep trying.


Tabor said...

I am TREMENDOUSLY relieved that your family is not perfect!! Your family is so attractive and so talented and so wholesome. Thank God they are human!

Bijoux said...

Sh*t happens!

I had to laugh at the other people's kids stuff. My kids always lived in fear that I would 'say something' to the kid or parents . . . I usually did! Haha!

chrissy said...

And other people's kids are the WORST. Ugh.

betty said...

I think I would have enjoyed that cardboard regatta myself :)

What is wrong with other parents that they think it is totally acceptable to have their children act the way the kids acted you mentioned and not correct them on it? Don't they realize they are creating "little monsters" that others might not want to be around?

I had a parent last night at the park ask if his little probably 18 month old could pet Koda when I was walking him. I said "no" because now that Koda's blind, I don't think its fair to have someone pet him that is new to him that he can't see. I explained he was blind (though I didn't think I owed an explanation) and that I wasn't sure how he would react. The dad and mom actually looked shocked that I said "no" but got the blind part a bit, but then said to the little boy "she said no". I'm like "don't put the blame on me, you shouldn't be setting your little boy up to think he can pet any dog in the park or wherever" but I kept my mouth shut. Sorry, my own rant :)

I think sometimes when we try so hard to make sure the kids have a good time, it is hard when it all doesn't come out like we think it should, like you said with expectations. I admired parents who kind of went with the flow about things, didn't make a big deal of this or that, but still emphasized manners and were okay with it all. I was usually the parent that was exhausted at the end of a special day trying to make sure everything was done nice and everyone was having fun, etc., so I do get it.

I bet if you were to survey those that you saw with pretty pictures on FB, you'd get the same thing that the majority of their days did not go the way they expected them too.

(((Kat))) you really are doing a good job raising your kids, remember that on the tough days.


Peruby said...

Hell lady, I pulled my hair out with ONE child and came close to choking her a few times. I commend you for getting through ANY day with four kids. Don't beat yourself up too hard. Big breath. You're doing great.

Kat said...

Chrissy- I certainly didn't mean it to sound like I don't like other people's kids but there was definitely a plethora of naughty kids on the 4th. And they all congregated around me. Honestly, I blame the parents more than the kids for not reigning them in. It was a little obnoxious.

Stephanie Faris said...

My husband asked, "Who goes to all these parades?" and I said, "People with kids." My stepdaughter is 14 and not usually with us on July 4th, so we've never done the parade thing with her. I can see how that would be a huge thing for kids, though.

chrissy said...

Oh I had put an encouraging comment before that but I don't see it- something like I have been there, tomorrow's another day, etc. Frankly I just had a house full of company for the week and I had a certain child that caused trouble/mouthed off/showed off for cousins almost the entire week, so I have no room to gripe about other people's kids. but they are the worst.

Kat said...

Chrissy- There always seems to be one or two in a pack, doesn't there? I can't imagine having to put up with it for a whole week.Ugh.

The problem with other people's kids is that I can't discipline them (although, to be honest, I do sometimes). My kids can be equally annoying but at least I can put a stop to it. ;)

Some people's kids, huh? ;)

Wisconsin Girl said...

Another great example why I love your blog! You are so honest and document REAL days and REAL feelings that I totally get. I feel like you are speaking for me sometimes. And I think I need a mug like that, with a good drink in it most days around 5 pm:) Love it!

Wisconsin Girl said...

Kat, can you remind me how you put your pictures into little collages? I know you already told me once, so I apologize for asking again, but I'd like to combine some of them and it's time I learn instead of putting it off even longer! Thanks:)

Verna Lantz said...

THANK YOU!! It is good to see not just the greatness, the sweetness in pictures, but to know it isn't always the whole story. My hubby and I had a big fight, also on the 4th. It happens, doesn't matter if it is a holiday or not. Good to know I'm not alone. :)

Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

Holidays are exhausting for moms....the planning and the doing..even when you try to fly by the seat of your pants, it's still exhausting. And, if there is a chance you don't feel appreciated (not saying that's not the case), but I know all of these feelings all do well.

And, I don't have a cemetery to go to, but I do tend to clean when I get that mad!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

I could really relate to this. I felt a little bad for laughing as I was reading but as you were describing the painful moments you seasoned it very well with funny. :-)

Mom24 said...

I'm so sorry Kat. Thank you so much for the honesty. It's nice to know I'm not alone in days like these.

Riahli said...

I love how real you are. :) I've had so many of these sorts of days, I couldn't even count them. Mix the good in with the bad and you've got life. Never a dull moment. :)

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson