Yesterday was a classic case of the Mondays. I couldn’t get out of the front door with the kids. My plans were thwarted left, right, and center by random wanderings into mud puddles, arms swashing around in the toilet, and other wardrobe changing adventures. I had just damaged an expensive piece of tech equipment so I was less than cheery.
Now all in all I am a pretty optimistic person but when I lose it, I lose it fast and furiously. I put my energy and focus in the “change” department here because I know how hurtful it can be to hear things out of an adult’s fury. But I just couldn’t find my balance point quick enough. One too many words I don’t want a toddler or young child saying back to me. And once that is out there, it’s hard to recover and get the day back on a more positive track.
The first order of business was to get out of the house. It was sunny and the house would have felt like a prison if we didn’t get outdoors. We ended up at the park I walked a couple days before my son’s birth. It’s on the other side of the city, but has amazing trails, rolling green fields, and a stream running through the length of the park. My daughter encouraged us to spread out the blanket under a big tree. We were relaxing in the warm shade when she dumps the bottle of water all over us. There was no loss of balance. This seemed like an outright sabotage of the moment. I lectured her for several minutes on that silly maneouver while cringing at the sound of my voice. I could see myself indulging my short temper and anger over and over again…and it was not improving anyone’s day.
To make a long story short, I got my wits and took all three of us into the stream. I have learned that the best thing to do in such a situation is an act of absurdity. We were muddy, splashing, sinking toes and all into the sandy banks. All three of us were smiling. I made a wrong turn on the way home and that turned into a lunch date at our favorite vegan digs along the detour route. There was an apartment building under construction across the street, so we got to see how a crane lifts a Porta-Potty from the sixth floor down to street level. I couldn’t have planned a more entertaining and bizarre field trip!
Enter this morning and the waking news that Maurice Sendak had passed. I was looking at the news story on my iPad when my daughter woke up. “What’s that?” she asked.
“Well, the man who wrote Where the Wild Things Are passed away.”
“Daddy. Daddy. The Wild Things passed away!”
We read the book together and it all started to make sense. Kids can be wild things. Parents can be too. We aren’t always rational. We don’t always play like we should. But at the end of the day there’s usually something warm waiting for us – a kiss, a hug, a smile, forgiveness, or a warm cooked meal. Thank you, Maurice, for the magic and the honesty….and for a dash of hope on the days when we need it.