The boys love to go to a small park near our home that has a creek running through it. They love to go there and throw rocks, sticks and sand into the water. It drives me crazy. Like fingers on a chalkboard crazy. No matter how many times I tell them to step back from the water or not get too close, they end up totally soaked and it takes three days for their shoes to dry. I end up sending them to school in their embarrassingly too small “extra” shoes. They complain and get crabby and I try to explain that squished feed are the consequence of getting their shoes wet.
This happened again yesterday only I didn’t know that they got their feet wet until we got home and they had walked all over my just cleaned floors with their muddy, wet feet and pants. It was the exclamation point at the end of a very bad day and everyone went to bed a little early (not out of punishment, out of necessity).
But this morning as I was walking my oldest son to preschool (holy crap this weather is amazing!), I remembered how much I used to love playing in the irrigation ditch at my parents’ house when I was little. We spent marathon afternoons doing boat races, catching snakes, fish, and slugs. I don’t remember my mom ever telling us not to do any of those things. I think she viewed it as a form of entertainment and was happy to have us out of her hair.
I’m embarrassed at how upset I got with my sons last night. That’s not the mom I want to be. So, I used my babysitter time today to go do something that is surely obvious to most of you parents. I went to Target and bought them some cheap shoes and I loaded our outdoor bag with some old rags to dry their feet.
Why hadn’t I done it before? I always have a bag packed for the beach. I have back-up clothes in their school bags. Why couldn’t I anticipate and solve this obvious source of ongoing conflict between me and my sons?
Because I didn’t want to?
Because it was inconvenient?
Because it required more time and money, the precious commodities of parenthood?
I don’t know (put that on the list of things to ask a therapist if I ever find the time to have one) but I’m glad I finally decided to go around this roadblock. I’m relieved and my kids can’t wait to go to the park. So, we’re off to the park and I have plans for a kick-ass makeshift fishing pole. The creek park isn’t going to be a battleground anymore!