I'm sharing a photo of my children sound asleep in their bedroom at my dad's beach house.
Sometimes I feel like the laziest/least patient/shortest-fused/moody/incapable/failing parent in the whole world.
Obviously, an exaggeration; but, one I believe most parents can easily relate to.
Yes, my kids are fed, clothed, loved. Sheltered. Warm. Educated. Basic needs are met and then some. Yay!
Yet...like all (most? Some? Help me out here...), I'm super-critical of my parenting foibles and quick to highlight my missteps, when I should revel in the right or good or commendable things I'm doing for my kids.
I had this brilliant idea of escaping to the beach for Easter weekend.
Any semblance of Easter traditions or rituals have all but disappeared since my mom died (which isn't saying much, as we've never made it a big deal; nor, are we a religious family). Easter has always meant celebrating springtime (blooming dandelions, pink trees come to life, bunnies hopping through the yard), candy, and hunting for hidden eggs. I don't know if I've dyed eggs with Max ever.
Our Easter baskets are modest compared to what I've seen posted on various social media by friends & strangers alike.
We visited my brother in Coal Township Friday morning (Good Friday, as it were). Two hours in the car with two kids and admittedly paltry snacks, yet they behaved beautifully with zero complaint.
The visit went well.
My brother was so happy to see all four of us together. He & Max bonded over Max's detailed rundown of Batman v Superman (spoilers encouraged by Rob)...we caught up, reminisced about my dad's various road rage incidents that may or may not have informed some small part of our childhood, talked about art and music and food and family and jail.
We departed before the kids got antsy and began our three-plus hour trek to the beach.
Again, the kids were awesome.
I declared the remainder of our Holiday Weekend "Plan-free. No agenda."
We basically followed the kids' lead; walk to the beach after dinner? Yes. Go to the place with the Easter bunny for breakfast? Sure. Visit the boardwalk & spend what seems like eternity in the comic shop? Absolutely? Eat tacos for dinner? No problem.
Maeve was insistent on playing at the beach Saturday morning & I indulged her for as long as she was willing (gusty winds, forty degree temps). Luckily, that amounted to mere minutes.
Friday night, we watched Overboard & most of National Lampoon's Vacation with Max after Maeve went to sleep. Max wanted to sleep on the couch with the tv on. "Sure, go for it."
I kept saying to Bill, "they're really being so good."
(As if they're usually mischievous heathens; they're not, by the way).
Max and I caught a cold which leveled me the better part of Saturday afternoon.
Because the Bunny had baskets to fill, we encouraged Max to share the room with his sister at bedtime.
I was expecting whining & arguing (he likes the door open & lights on; she likes the fan loud & room dark, door shut).
They compromised together & we could faintly hear them talking. No idea what they were chatting about and I refrained from eavesdropping...the chatter was short-lived, as they both crashed out. Exhausted & deep into that wonderful slumber one can only fall into at the beach...damn, it's good to be a kid.
I peeked in before basket-filling could commence & gave myself the metaphorical pat-on-the-back for a job well done.
The night light was on, fan on medium, and door cracked slightly.
Compromise & consideration, all on their own.
Lately I get more than I give; to my spouse, to my kids, to our life.
I'm in & out of sickness, adjusting to meds, taking more time for myself than I deserve or even need (running, painting, sleeping)...I can see my husband is stretched thin/juggling/picking up all sorts of slack all while providing for us & driving a shitty commute day after day after day.
Even during this holiday weekend, when he probably needs a break more than any of us, he is taking care of me once again.
As we assemble our kids' Easter baskets (and dig into our new addiction, Cadbury WHITE CHOCOLATE mini eggs; don't knock them til you try them), I thank him and apologize for being a slacker.
We're in this together, always, he reminds me.
It was a good Plan-free Easter weekend.
We didn't quite reset or rejuvenate, but those weren't really our expectations anyway.
We set out to simply connect with my brother, enjoy a change of scenery, unplug from our devices, and follow the whims of our kids.
Now we are home.
I am riding out a fever & chucking lots of tissues into the trash from my bed.
Bill is piecing together a makeshift Easter dinner for himself & the kids.
Maeve is grumpy from a day that began at 6am with way more candy than any little kid should consume in one sitting (whose idea was the trail of jelly beans??).
Max is stuffy and sniffling on the couch, completely wrapped up in a new animator app on his phone.
I hope they had fun & I hope they remember these impromptu adventures when their parents say "yes!" more than "no" or "not right now" or "maybe."
I hope they find ways to connect when they're grown and have their own families; however, I hope when they reminisce, they're not doing so over vending machine snacks & soda in a prison visiting room.
I hope they remember the trail of jelly beans and bunny pancakes and playing together, but I also hope they remember visiting their uncle in jail; I hope they pull those experiences from their memory banks when they're in the throes of making tricky decisions.
So, there it is.