Let the Fun Begin
Summer break is here, and my girls want to do EVERYTHING. They want to swim in the pool, ride bikes, jump on the neighbor’s trampoline, and watch movies all at the same time. They want to sleep in, stay up late, have friends over to play, and be left to their own devices. But they also want me to find art supplies, lost goggles, and chase after wayward puppies. I love every second of having my ankle biters home for the summer, but holy cow is it exhausting.
It Started with a Checklist
One of the things I did with my girls early this year, as a type of New Year’s list, was have them sit down and write out the 10 places or things they wanted to go or do before they graduated from high school. Their eyes glowed with wonder as we discussed the corners of the earth. Willa wants to visit the countryside in Spain. Caroline wants to go to Disneyland in California. Both of them wanted to visit the coast of Maine. But to my disgust, they both wanted to go to King’s Island. “Really?!” I thought to myself. We’re discussing going to Mongolia and camping in yurts, and King’s Island made the list? Ugh! I hadn’t been to that asphalt garden of rollercoasters since I was a kid, but I still vividly remembered standing on the heat-radiating blacktop for HOURS waiting to ride coasters that rattled my teeth loose.
“Please Mama! All of our friends have been, and they say it’s AWESOME!” they begged.
“Yurts are awesome,” I offered. Eyes rolled. So I wrote King’s Island at the very bottom of the list, and vowed to find the place I went wrong in parenting. But I digress…
I decided to start with a trip to Maine, as it was on both of their lists. The girls were excited to hear we were going, but the first thing they said was, “Are we going to go King’s Island this summer?” Dang it! They hadn’t forgotten. Oh well, how bad could it be?
Last Minute Decision
The girls got out of school a week before most students, so we decided to make the most of the small crowds. We packed all kinds of activities into the week, including, to my displeasure, the jaunt to King’s Island (no doubt owned by a chiropractic group out of Cincinnati). On Wednesday I decided we would go the following day, and the girls could hardly contain themselves. I could barely keep from crying. My husband opted out altogether and stayed home. He cited that the lists were all my idea, and he should not be subjected to their cruelty. I’ll be sure to remember that when we head to Spain…
I packed swim suits, sunscreen, hats, towels, and everything else I though little girls might need at a theme park. I looked like a freaking pack mule. But what did I care? I was simply here to endure Death Valley type heat and watch my kids have fun. It would only last a day, then I would never have to go back. I bought the tickets, loaded the car, and called for the kids. “Time to..” I began to shout. They were out the door and buckled in before I could finish my sentence. I commented on how it would be nice to see them do that before church. They laughed. I didn’t.
Dread washed over me as we began the long walk through the parking lot. Throngs of teenagers and polar pop toting adults flooded the entrance. “Life is suffering,” I reminded myself. The girls were squealing with delight.
I was glad to see lockers available for rent. I shelled out $20 for a large all-day rental. Totally worth it. Toting just a small purse with cash and sunscreen, I was cautiously optimistic about the day. It was partly sunny and upper 70s. AND IT STAYED THAT WAY ALL DAY. We bought Fast Pass Tickets and never had to stand in line. And what was this? A smile? On MY face? Why, yes it was. I was having a blast. I rode all the rides, screamed like a nut job each time, then giggled with the girls when it was over.
The girls were hungry, so we ate. Then they wanted ice cream, so we detoured for a blueberry/vanilla swirl cone. Then they wanted to go to the water park side, so we went. Then they wanted to go back to rollercoasters. We did that. Finally the park closed. We were exhausted and broke, but utterly happy.
Hefting wet towels and holding tuckered out hands, I headed to the car. We had done it all. As I lifted the back gate to my truck, Caroline asked, “Can we pick up Lindsay on the way home for a sleep over?”
“Are you serious?” I asked her.
“Um, are you going to give me the ‘Don’t ask for too much speech?’” she asked.
“If I weren’t so tired, I would. But I’m exhausted, so would you settle for a short but sweet NO?”
Eyes rolled again, but then she smiled.
“For all the times you said yes today.”
At the End of the Day…
And that’s what made me want to write about this for you. First, people are going to ask too much of you (like agents wanting you to pay 7%). Tell them no. It’s okay to know when you’ve done or given enough and stop where you are comfortable.
Secondly, people are going to say yes to you. Tell them thanks. When people tell us yes, it often comes at a price for them. Acknowledge their kindness, and I can assure you you’ll see more of it.
And last but not least, try not to dread anything. It could end up being one of the best memories you’ll ever have!
Good luck out there!