It sure was a day yesterday. I started the morning by being woken by two very-wide-awake-with-bunches-of-energy little boys that were playing with water balloons in the house, soaking my bathroom. Sigh. How do they wake with so much energy and I wake up so tired?
In light of being the start to summer, I thought we’d tackle something from our Summer List and head to Congaree National Park for a little nature fun. We had a play date at the pool scheduled the afternoon, but were wide open for the morning. The boys were very excited about spotting salamanders and owls and were ready quickly, leaving the water balloons behind. We set off.
Now if there is one thing those close to me know is that I like to plan ahead. I like to be on time to places, I stress about being late, and I like to know the directions of where I’m going. For whatever reason, I had my hubs look up the directions to the park on my iPhone Google Maps. It was being slow and wonky so he looked it up on his and we wrote them down.
To go to a place that should have taken 40 minutes, I was in the car with the kids, now antsy, hungry, and frustrated for 2 hours, and the directions sent us down two dirt roads that ended up dead-ending into the backside of the park, bordered by a river, without the entrance. Technology fail. The map got us to the place alright, just not the right part of the place. FYI, don’t trust map programs or GPS’s EVER!
From there, we drove the route that we should have taken, backtracking, adding another 30 minutes to our trip. Time in car = 2 1/2 hours. I knew the littles needed some incentive to keep going at this point as they were alternating between frustration and crying. They were at each other, upset, disappointed, and probably a bit hungry too. We stopped at a gas station to get a slushy. That’d make it better, right? Got the kids out of the car, tears and frustration forgotten – and realized that I didn’t have my debit card. No way to buy a slushy. Mom of the year right here! Now I had one boy angrily telling me I was the worst mom ever and ruined his day, one quietly grieving, and the baby screaming through tears “slushy!” Back in car, continue towards park.
My oldest mentioned swimming that afternoon and at that point I decided we needed to pull over and have a heart to heart. With the added time (now at 2 hours, 45 min in the car) we probably wouldn’t make it to the pool for swimming. As you can guess, that did not go over well at all. More tears, anger, disappointment, sadness. I gave them the choice on which they wanted to do and picked swimming although they were very disappointed to miss going on the journey we had started out on. Return towards home, get husband and his debit card, get slushy. Time in car = 3 hours.
Somehow, and all I can say was it was God, but I was able to have long-suffering and compassion throughout all this. I saw my sweet children, broken with sadness and disappointment. That disappointment was caused by me and it saddened me. In those moments I was able to thank God for creating them so different as I saw the different ways they expressed themselves, I thanked God for the gentle lessons we were learning about choices and disappointments in life, I was thanking God for my patience and empathy (usually in short supply!), and I was thanking God for grace – the way He delivers me each day from my sin and the way He teaches me to show it to my children. In times when I would normally be irritated, angered, and impatient I found joy, compassion, and gentleness. Truly these were gifts of the Spirit as I pleaded to Him in my response!
We never ended up anywhere in those 3 hours, but I believe we ended up closer despite the big disappointments. The littles saw me on their team and as truly sorry for what they were dealing with. They want to try again tomorrow, but I’m not so sure. Think it may take me a few days to get over this!