To Draw Straight Lines

Yesterday in the car, our family made a bucket list. I guess it’s more of a “fun having” list. We are a bunch of fun havers. We ended up categorizing it by season. We’ve never done this before, as we usually just talk about our adventures to be.

Most items on the list are big ticket items: fancy named lagoons (waterslide parks that smell like feet and give your kids hand, foot, mouth disease), roller coaster havens, the new trampoline park (a little different than the parks that I once knew many moons ago), a weekend trip to Niagra Falls and another car ride to a beautiful campground with a cucumber waterfall. Upcoming weddings and birthday parties were on there too, all of which are scheduled fun. Fun. All so much fun.

Everybody was allowed to contribute to the list. So, I tossed in a little jaunt to Trax Farm, a local farm that we frequent during season changes and an occasional berry picking endeavor. It is simple and sweet. It’s quiet on the weekdays when there’s not any activity going on. There are lots of doodads that I like to look at and the kids enjoy the little play area and apples.stephpost

example doodad–a sweetly annotated clock


I used to bring my babies there when they were even smaller babies when I was staying home with them full time. These were the best years of my life. We would do our morning things and then head over to Trax. One in a stroller and one on my skirt, we would split a ham and cheese and grab a peach or apple. It cost me around six dollars, at the most. We would marvel at the season décor, make it out to the play area if the Pittsburgh weather would let us, and just take our time. I have been thinking about just that lately: My time with my children.

Some of our best conversations happen in the car. On the way to the farm today, we were talking about fall activities. I made the suggestion that everybody choose between one and two activities to try, with two being the maximum. The reasons for this are as follows.

  1. I don’t want to have to drive some place every evening after I get home from work. Especially because I do not get to see my children for the better part of the day. There. I said it.
  2. My daughter will be in first grade and my little guy will be in three day pre-school. A big change for everybody.
  3. I want to spend time with my children. I want to make dinner with them and for them. I would like to visit my grandfather and go for ice cream every now and again. I want to read and let them take extra long baths if they want. I want to be alone with them, so that I may talk with them and so that they feel that they have the time to talk to me.
  4. I need to make our house a home. That happens by living in it and not making it a rest stop.
  5. Children need downtime. They need breaks. They need to regroup.

So, I started doing just that. I started taking my time. Mind you, I am off for six weeks in the summer, so this is much more feasible currently. But, I started listening and I put my damn phone down. I don’t wear make-up on most days and I will admit that I wear the same tank top for more than one round. I’m not living on a rainbow with flying ponies. I am still getting what I need to get done. Just a little bit slower. A little less of a rush. And it’s good. It’s actually amazing.

The children:

They’re loud. Sometimes too loud. But sometimes it’s really funny. And they always want to talk to me. Always. Rumor has it that someday that’s going to change.

They argue, mainly over really dumb things that are super important to them. You know, like who gets up the stairs first or who has more apple juice in their cup. They recover within moments and miraculously they’re chasing each other to the swings with ear to ear grins. Resiliency at its best.

They get dirty. Directly after I bath them. They don’t care. So, I started to care a little less. They’ll probably go swimming tomorrow anyway.

You know what else they do?

They kiss me for no reason. No reason at all.

They tell me that they love me so much. And they mean it. I always tell them the same. Every single time.

They climb into my bed and say “good morning” and then promptly tell me how hungry they are. I had better get moving.

They say thank you and please. I am proud of this.

They kiss each other and help each other…most of the time.

They are thrilled when they know they have pleased me. When the little one pulls up his undies and shorts on his own or buckles his own seatbelt. When the older one puts her dish in the dishwasher and runs a full cycle with that one princess cup. She does this because she just learned and she knows that she’s helping me.

I asked my son, four years old, what fall activities he would like to do-soccer or maybe basketball (he’s done both), or maybe something new? Luckily I caught his tanned face and long surfer dude hair in my rearview when he answered my question. “I just want to go to preschool and practice drawing straight lines”. And you know what, I believe him. I think he just wants to go to preschool and practice drawing straight lines. Maybe even eventually circles. I think that he wants to look at bugs and play with trucks and hang with his sister. And that’s okay. I will encourage him galore, but drawing straight lines is pretty important. I’m very happy that he’s taking it so seriously. And I promise that I will hang every one of those straight/zig zagged/arched/pointed lines on every inch of wall space that I have.

I am glad that we get to check off one thing off our Summer Fun list. A nice, firm straight checkmark is in order. Fortunately, I know a little guy I can ask for help.