It's not often that I feel I have the right to say, "I just had a perfect parenting moment." OK, so maybe it wasn't perfect, but it was darn good. Because, more often than not, I feel like I'm the world's biggest screw up, goof-off, wacky mom ever. I've won "Mother of the Year" awards for my lack of parenting skills more often than most mother's could ever hope to have. So, for me, it is more than a little thrilling to be able to document a moment in time when I didn't screw up, and I was more than rewarded for it.
Let me set the stage....
We just got home from a wonderful week at the beach. It was full of friends, food, fun, sun, sand and corn-hole out the wazoo. It was also full of days of rainy weather. But all 17 of us persevered and made the best of the bad weather. We brought the corn-hole boards indoors. We had a pool table. We played darts. We played ping pong, which then morphed into water pong. Yep, I said water pong. We had far too many underage kids to support the playing of beer pong, although I'm sure many of them have already been indoctrinated into the beer pong world. Anyway, we were lucky...there were all sorts of different ways to keep us entertained. But after two and a half days of being cooped up inside there was a more than a little discontent in the house. Everyone needed a little bit of breathing room and fresh air. Luckily, the clouds cleared and the rain went around us. Our last day there gave us one more day at the beach.
It was a full day of sun, sand and fun. All 11 of the kids stayed in the water nearly the entire time, boogie boarding, surfing and just having a blast. They did come out to grill hot dogs and hamburgers and inquire what was for dinner. We told them, the last night was going to be a smorgasbord of food. We'd have fish tacos (with freshly caught fish thanks to the boys). We'd finish up what was left in the refrigerator. And for the finale we'd throw in some Philly Cheesesteaks, if anyone wanted them. Claire's cheer was loud and impressive when she heard the words Philly Cheesesteak.
Our time at the beach ended far earlier than we all wanted, but we knew it was time to pack up our beach set up and head toward our house. But before we could go home we needed to stop at the market and pick up the little bits of things we needed to make our meals complete. We turned our cars toward home with flour tortilla's for the tacos and buns for cheesesteaks.
Preparation began for our feast and we realized we had been a little overzealous in our dinner planning. Oooops. Something was going to have to be cut from the menu. The first thing to go the Philly Cheesesteak...
UH-OH...Time to cue dramatic music. Claire's love for my Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches and the lack of them being on the menu brought tears to her eyes and prompted her to march off in the direction of her room. I tried reasoning, explaining and begging her to try the fish tacos. Did I mention they were made with freshly caught fish, courtesy of the boys? She was having none of my cajoling.
"But you promised Philly Cheesesteaks," she whined at me.
I answered with an "I'm sorry, but I'm not making them tonight. There is too much other food to be eaten and I'm not adding more," continuing on with, "You can have fish tacos or you can have cereal but I'm not making cheesesteaks tonight. I'll make them tomorrow night when we get home.
She huffed off back to her room and shut the door. I followed her with anger brewing in my brain. She was being difficult and more than a little bratty. I wasn't sure why I was following her, but somehow I managed to keep my composure and convince her to come and try a fish taco.
My reward for not letting my anger get the best of me was great. Not five minutes later Claire came to me with tears in her eyes and apologized for being rude and disrespectful. I think you could have blown me over with a feather at that point. My gratitude and love for my daughter must have shone out of me like a beacon. Hugs were given. Kisses exchange and forgiveness granted.
To me, this was a moment worth noting and a way of saying to me, "I must have done something right."
Oh, for the love of my children....