Our next-boat neighbor, Roland, is a single retired gentleman looking for crew to help him get down south – eventually down to the British Virgin Islands. I sometimes have secret fantasies of scrawling ‘crew’ on two small white t-shirts and plunking the boys on his boat while Matt and I quickly sail away in the middle of the night. The fantasy passes … but occasionally returns on days like today. The boys were not satisfied with my normal running route and insisted on going to the park to ride their bikes. This entailed unloading the van (yet again) in order to fit their bikes. Once there, they were intent on pulling old-growth vines out of a tree. I got hit in the head with a large branch and then had another one puncture my leg, leaving a gash and a 3-inch bruise (I sometimes feel like I’m in my own personal sitcom). The great thing is that the boys are best friends. The flip side is they can also act like lunatics together because they are having so much fun and are oblivious to anyone around them. After our exercise, we desperately needed to stock up on groceries. Their antics continued during our Whole Foods visit. I can see people watching these out-of-control children and thinking: 1) why aren’t those wild children in school? 2) why doesn’t their mother control them better? and 3) where IS their mother? I, of course, am trying to blend in with the other observers and look equally disapproving as I pretend to disdainfully look around and identify the offending (and incompetent) mother. I then become inordinately absorbed in reading food labels as I slow edge down the aisle and away from the mayhem. I know the boys will eventually follow. Once our carts are full, we get prepared foods for lunch and I send them on ahead to the sitting area to eat while I pay for and bag our groceries. By the time I get there, they still haven’t started eating their lunches. The ruckus continues once I sit down – ending abruptly (by me) when Joshua’s stuffed animal (a frog) lands in my salad. I’m not sure if I began considering sending in their early college admission applications at that moment (do universities accept 6-year-olds?) or later when one of them overturned an entire grocery cart in the middle of the street.
I would love to be one of those calm, cool and collected mothers (like my own mom) who smile benevolently and patiently on their children’s infractions. I’m not. I’m more like the crazed harpy that people look at in pity – as do I myself when I regain my composure. “Grace,” I keep telling myself, “just try and go through life with a bit more grace.” Although maybe this is the problem. I once read an essay in which the author commented that hearing someone say they were ‘trying’ to do something was a sure sign it would not get accomplished. As Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no ‘try.’” I have the feeling that this will be a year filled with personal growth opportunities … We had a little huddle up on how the outing could have gone better – with all of us voicing our opinions. Chocolate was one of the suggestions … Hmmm … perhaps bribery would work. [P.S. Our next WFs outing was much smoother – we agreed to ‘rules’ ahead of time and the boys were great little helpers].