Seriously. We took the kids up to play at Hidden Villa, (photos here) and things were fine until we went from the farm to the forest to hike. Then this happened:
And the boy who was climbing on an old, possibly rotten and about to break, tree limb over a practically dry creek bed full of sharp rocks and menacing poky branches, refused to listen to my sane rules for staying safe. He wanted to explore, and if that meant climbing or going off the trail on steep, poison oak covered hillsides, then that was what he was going to do, everyone else be damned.
We had words.
I got into that horrible, Why can’t we have just ONE FUCKING GOOD DAY? mode, which is not helpful or charming or anything except fuel for the fire. We talked about leaving, but didn’t, instead hiking a little bit more. The kids were cranky over not enough water and having a mean mother who never lets them do anything fun. I was getting depressed, frankly, because it’s Always Something, and I just don’t think that’s normal. I’m both self-centered and insecure enough to assume that it’s all my fault and the result of me being a terrible mother.
But, then the goats showed up and saved us.
We were hiking on a steep hillside
and he wouldn’t keep up and he planted his feet and kept wanting to talk to me and we kept arguing about how important it is to not be a dumbass in places where doing so can really hurt you. It was a mostly friendly argument, all about pushing the limits and making sure I love him enough to stick to my guns. (He really wants to play Halo, but I won’t let him. He acts like he thinks I’m mean, but when he had an opportunity to play it at a friend’s house, he said no. He told me about it later and said that he didn’t want to do it because he respects that I asked him not to. So, even though in the same breath he told me that he thinks it’s lame that he can’t
play, it also makes him feel loved and protected.) Anyway, we were hiking, and I heard crashing up the hill. I said to the kids, "Hey, look! Deer! No, they’re dogs. NO, GOATS!" And there were people from the farm, taking some baby goats for a walk.
We all ended up down at the stream, where the kids fed the goats ferns they’d picked from the forest floor. The farmers wanted to get the goats back up to the trail, so they asked all the children to use the ferns to lead the goats away from the water. It was pretty comical, and everyone was instantly happy and laughing. Nate wanted me to take his picture pretending to eat a fern.
We left happy. When we got home the kids swam while I got supper ready.
And, I guess I don’t have a point at all. ARE there families out there that have fun, conflict-free outings? Is what my family does the norm? It doesn’t feel right to me, but maybe it’s just how it is. If I learn my lesson from all this, will the universe move on to teaching me something else and let my kids go have a fun afternoon outside without bickering?