It was going to be the kind of day that made the strong, weak in the knees. So much to be accomplished, the list alone was enough to pop my head back under the covers in defeat.
I needed help. My 9 year old and 5 year old struggled to accomplish their own chores. How would they respond to my request for extra. It's also summer. They need adventures. So I made a simple list... on one side, the work that needed to be accomplished, on the other, 3 simple adventures I could incorporate into my own requirements.
1. Go to the $ store to pick up matching flip flops to decorate with her favorite cousin. (I needed to go to the salon next door for eyebrow waxing)
2. Pick up a movie at Redbox (by where I pick up my Rx and few groceries we need), watch it with popcorn (while I iron and they fold socks)
3. Take a bike ride to get a special treat. (To all of the above places).
The two not at girl's camp, marked off their lists one by one till it was time for our first adventure.
As we faced the mostly uphill ride for our errands, little Sunshine's feet pedaled faster and faster, 20 times to my one as she worked her miniature bike without gears. "I can do it mom. I ran the mile. Emily can do it. I can too." She wobbled in and out, crashed once on grass, once on a light pole, and once on the sidewalk. The sergeant's voice that sometimes escapes my throat, barks, "On the right! On the right! Look up! Look Up! Stop! Hey. That's a car! No more tricks. Keep your feet on the pedals, not the handlebars or you'll never ride with me again!" Now I know I parents bark from fear. Well, take a look at my demonic dare devil who has only been riding 1 month. I'm scared.
After our errands are complete, we pick our favorite treats and stop at the town fountain to munch. We are hot so we cool off a bit. Their heads rest on my shoulders. We coast all the way home, our backpacks filled with groceries.
We watch Hatchi and cry over our folded socks and crisp colors. They eat popcorn in cute containers.
We go out to eat at Chic Fill A Kid's eat Free night.
"This is the luckiest day we've ever had." says Sunshine.
"You mean this summer?" I query.
We work till 9:00 p.m. I'm exhausted.
The disastrous basement that has been staring at us for 6 months is walkable. The laundry is all done and pressed. More wheat bread is made and delivered. The girl's chores are complete. Little Mother winds the cord around the vacuum. "I feel awesome! Don't you feel awsome Mom?"
The day after was a complete party. Swimming, one friend after another, special treats.... Sunshine declared it was a lucky day. "But not as lucky as yesterday."
Why was yesterday so special I wonder? I had a major "ah ha". We protect our children too much...from hard work, from responsibility, from tasks that encourage independence. 1.The joy of biking, feeling the wind in your hair, zooming along from your own power coupled with the knowledge that YOU are capable of getting important places, that you need not be dependent on parents is heady stuff. It must have been like riding your horse to town when they did that kind of thing. 2."It was a girl day." said Sunshine. They loved being with me all day. Even when I got bossy and sharp. 3. They felt the pleasure of completeing a ginormous task and witnessing the efforts of our labor.
Accomplishment. Joy. Burgeoning Independence.