Monday, October 21, 2013

Fantasy vs Reality

There are so many beautiful pictures in magazines and in our minds of what it will be like to do things with our children.  This particular affliction generally increases in my imagination around any and all holidays.  I envision their smiling faces as they pick out their special pumpkin for the year.  I hear them squeeling with delight as we enjoy making crafts and touring our annual pumpkin festival.  And then the reality sinks in. 

We all packed into the car to go to the pumpkin festival and the boys were very excited.  They were filled with ideas about what they wanted to do.  "I want to eat cotton candy!" my oldest exclaimed.  "Candy!" my little one echoed.  "And we need to get a GIANT ENORMOUS PUMPKIN!" my oldest continued.  "Normous punkin!" my little one echoed.  "And jump in the bounce house!" my oldest shouted, gaining momentum.  "No bounce house.  Scared!" my little one said.  My oldest one did his best to talk his brother into the merits of bounce house jumping but my little one simply escalated his emotions until he was screaming, "NO BOUNCE HOUSE!  NO BOUNCE HOUSE!" over top of my oldest son saying, "But Drew, it's not scary.  DREW!!  IT'S NOT SCARY!"  That's when I knew that their difference of opinions might make the day interesting. 

You see, my oldest has been the decision maker for quite awhile and his brother has been more than happy to acquiesce.  Recently, though, my little one has gained a voice and he wants it to be heard.  This has not been the easiest adjustment for anyone but it's a very important part of him expressing his individuality.  My husband and I decided to let them take turns deciding what we would do next.  This was an amazing idea on paper.  Once we got there, we realized that each of their ideas happened to be on opposite sides of the festival.

We gave Drew the first shot and we went on a hayride.  

It was a nice easy ride without any complaints.  But then Luke, my oldest, was ready to go to the bounce house.  We spent twenty minutes walking to the other side to bounce.  (Drew did give it a shot but he jumped out after two seconds.  At least he tried, right?)  My oldest, after his bounce house run, was emboldened.  "Now I want cotton candy and then we're going to feed the animals," he announced.  "No, it's Drew's turn to choose," I replied.  "But MOMMY!" he said then did a big dramatic sigh so that I would see the true injustice of the situation.    The day continued with this same pattern as the temperature rose into the mid-eighties, their cheeks reddened and their hair began to be matted down with sweat.  We knew it was time to go.  

They wanted to make one last stop to pick up our pumpkins and I needed to go to the bathroom.  I told them it was my turn then we would get the pumpkins.  You would have thought I proposed bombing the place.  They both erupted in protest and I got down on their level, looked them in the eyes and said, "You two are acting extremely ungrateful.  I am going to the bathroom while you wait patiently.  The next time you even think about complaining, I want to hear a thank you instead."  They kicked the dirt and mumbled, "Okay Mommy" then my oldest barreled into me for a hug.  

We picked out pumpkins with my little one slumped in the cart rather than gleefully choosing the perfect one.

And my oldest did his best to force a smile.

We did, if you sum the whole thing up, have a good time.  But it wasn't a postcard.  It wasn't material worthy of a beautiful spread in Parent's magazine.  It was the real way families have fun.  A little fighting, a little laughing and a lot of memories.  So I'm reworking my expectations moving forward.  I'm going to expect a little more craziness and do my best to enjoy the moment for all that it is.

How do your holiday fantasies match up with the realities of life with children?  How can you try and match up the two?

1 comment:

  1. My pumpkin patch fantasy involves wearing plaid shirts, riding boots, lightweight scarves whilst sipping cider and eating a donut or apple dumpling (or both) kicking up beautiful autumn leaves as you walk. Reality here is sweating your you-know-what off while taking in the "beach wear" attire that the locals are sporting while wishing you were in a bathing suit yourself because your sweating your you-know-what off. Even the poor animals are miserable. I swear that is why that cow bit Ryan last year..or maybe because it was too hot to wear our riding boots!

    Saturday is supposed to have a high of 79... we will be there..hopefully with our boots on. :)


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