Memorial Day weekend is one of my favorite weekends all year. It is the weekend my husband and I were married seven years ago. It is also the start of the summer, which is my favorite season. I love that the pool is open and I can count down with the children to the last day of school and the first day of our vacation.
This weekend I wanted to cram in as much family time as possible, while being as productive as possible. I had planned everything out perfectly… my first mistake, because I don’t do perfect very well. I really was looking forward to weaving in pool time and family fun with a weekend of chores and reorganization. My husband and I had even planned a romantic evening sans the kids to celebrate our anniversary.
Saturday morning we piled in the car and headed to IKEA for a trip to purchase some miscellaneous items to help me reorganize my pantry and freshen-up the daycare with fun decorative items. Yes, we all went together. Yes, we all went together on Memorial Day weekend. Yes, we all went together when they were having an “everyone eats free if you spend more than $100 special.” And yes, it went as smoothly as you can imagine. About halfway between the kitchen chairs and the dresser section, the children decided to start their game of tag. During lunch they whined for cake. In the check-out line they were in a fight over who knows what and the baby pooped and cried. It was a disaster on many counts, but at least I had what I needed and I got to have some Swedish meatballs with ligonberries for free (it’s all about the little things people). A trip to the pool and a decent movie with the hubby after the children passed out for the evening helped redeem the day.
On Sunday, we planned a morning trip to Great Falls along with almost all of Northern Virginia. Before heading out, I decided not to use the stroller, but to instead use my Moby wrap to carry the baby while we enjoyed the rocky terrain of the park. I hadn’t used the wrap since N was a much smaller infant, so I had to watch a couple of YouTube videos to figure out the best way to secure her to me. She is now 13-months-old and I picked the hip hold method. I practiced a couple of times before leaving and we were on our way.
After waiting in a line of cars to enter the park for almost 30 minutes, we were parked and ready to start our adventure. I successfully wrapped N to me and we started to walk. What I quickly discovered was that 13-month-olds aren’t as cooperative as 4-month-olds about being tied to their mothers. I suppose it’s because I’m more of a stroller mom than a baby wearing mom, but she was not happy. She wiggled and squirmed at every turn. She yanked and truly hated me for confining her. We all enjoyed the amazing sight of the falls and I watched my older children climb rocks and scour the dirt for bugs. Everyone was having a great time, that is except for me and N who were in a power struggle. I don’t know which one of us looked more longingly at moms and babies passing by with strollers. In the end, she won and I ended up carrying her in my tired arms for the walk back to the car. Back at home I skipped my planned pedicure and took a nap before getting ready for my romantic evening. It was sort of an imperfect morning, but naps are always redeeming.
That evening we dropped the kids off at grandma’s for a sleep-over, so my husband and I could enjoy the first child-free evening in a very long time. We took a cab to our destination, so we could really enjoy ourselves and drink without worry. Dinner started off great. We went to a Japanese restaurant and ordered salads with yummy ginger dressing, some miso soup, and a selection of sushi rolls. Dinner was tasty and great, but we definitely ordered more than we could handle. I was full and didn’t want anymore, but I still have that “clean your plate” mentality at times, so I popped one more dragon roll in my mouth. I’m not sure if the eel in this roll was thicker than the other pieces, or I was simply beyond full, but I started to feel that sensation in the back of my throat. The piece was just so chewy and my gag reflex was triggered. I tried to be discreet and blink to suppress the feeling. I was fighting the feeling and at the same time trying to estimate whether I could run to the bathroom in time. I felt like I was on Fear Factor trying to swallow down some gross bug. My hubby looked concerned. He kept asking if I was alright. I put the napkin over my mouth in anticipation of the worst, but was able to overcome the moment. I didn’t ruin the night by throwing-up all over the table, but it was a close call. A really close call. A closer call than I think my husband was even aware.
After our not so perfect dinner, we decided to walk to a bar with outdoor seating to drink. I ordered a pomegranate martini and he had a Belgian beer. We began to really talk about our amazing life, our marriage, and everything we don’t normally talk about with little kids around. It was fantastic until the first rain drops started to fall. We ignored the rain at first, hoping it would pass quickly, but soon the wind started to blow and we ran inside moments before the downpour. We re-situated ourselves inside and ordered another round. Our conversation started again just as the fire alarm went off. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a restaurant when a fire alarm sounds, but no one moved or reacted at all. There was no obvious danger, but the alarms kept ringing and the red lights were flashing. I kept waiting for an announcement of what to do when the fire engines roared to a stop in front of the building. At this point our server handed us our check and told us we had to evacuate because there was a fire next door and “could we kindly close out our check?” I wanted to hassle him for free drinks considering the fact that there was a fire and we were being kicked out, but of course I just smiled and handed over my card. We paid and stood in the rain with dozens others watching in awe as the fireman climbed the ladder truck to the roof of the restaurant next door, which was ablaze from the chimney.
After a few minutes, we decided to find a new place to continue our date night and settled on an Italian restaurant that was not so happy to see us since they were closing in 10 minutes. We sat down and ordered dessert and coffee. We talked until we couldn’t ignore the impatient staff watching and waiting for us to clear out. Then we walked hand-in-hand to catch a cab back to our house, which was extremely strange without the children.
But, we slept without interruption and without little feet being crammed in our faces, so our imperfect anniversary celebration was redeemed yet again. Monday morning we picked-up the children early and came home to finally get some of those chores accomplished. I reorganized the pantry, wrote this blog post, and cleaned out the fridge. My hubby tackled our laundry and reorganized our bedroom, while the children played in the circus tent we purchased from IKEA.
All in all, it was a perfectly imperfect weekend and I don’t think I could have planned it any better if I tried.
Thank you to all the soldiers and families who have sacrificed so I may enjoy these and many other adventures with my family. I truly am in awe of all who choose to stand-up for our country and for our freedom.
Are you able to embrace the imperfections of life and find pleasure in the most mundane? Please leave a comment or join me on the Tiny Steps Mommy Facebook page.