My whole goal for this weekend – while Matt is off cracking craft beers with his college buddies at a wedding on a beautiful windswept Carolina beach – was simply to not fall down the stairs and break my nose. So you’d think, nose remains unbroken! Success!
Yesterday I thought, screw it. I’m sick of packing up the house for our impending move, the sky is bluer than autumnally reasonable and we are getting out of the goddamn house to DO SOMETHING. So I shout at the girls, “Girls, we’re going to do something outdoorsy!”
They practically tripped over themselves to stuff their feet into matching Keens and fill up their canteens while I pulled out my trail map to plot a hike through the peak color areas of the Appalachian Trail. Or else they whined about how much they wanted to sit in front of the TV and watch “Shake it Up” on the Disney Channel while I dragged their asses to the park by the river under the I-26 overpass. I think it was the latter.
I set them loose on the overcrowded playground since, apparently, I wasn’t the only one snatching the last nice fall day from the jaws of winter. The girls split up – one to the big playground, one to the little. I stood on a 180 degree pivot to keep watch, seeking pedophiles, big kids with poor judgment, and sharp edges. I lasted about five minutes before I started feeling chest pains.
“Let’s go walk by the river now!” I shouted a bit too eagerly, my voice high and pinched. They trudged away from the playground, hate brewing in their eyes. “Sure, bitch,” their gazes screamed at me. “Take us away from the one joy we have in life.”
Akeyla got a splinter almost immediately. A normal child might squeal or cry but would likely want the splinter – I don’t know – removed? Not Key. She locked her arms to her sides and RAN AWAY screaming at the top of her lungs, “DON’T TOUCH IT!!!!”
I tackled her and sat on her legs while Astrid sat on her other arm and people on the path stared, wondering why this white woman and her Asian underling were torturing this adorable black child. Splinter removed, we walked on.
Two paths diverged in the woods and I chose the less traveled one – the mulched path closer to the river instead of the paved path in the hot sun. This was WRONG. Astrid did not want to walk close to the river. She did not want to walk on mulch. She did not want to walk at all. She did not want to walk with me. The path would never connect back to the main path, not ever. I was wrong. Walking was stupid. The river was stupid. I was stupid.
Consequences ensued, causing the immediate cancellation of the planned ice cream outing after the park, which had been predicated upon good behavior. Which sucked for me and Akeyla, who would now also be out ice cream, WHICH I REALLY REALLY WANTED. And though in theory I could see some justice in making Astrid sit and watch us linger over our cones in front of her, I knew she would also lose her shit in public and I might scream at Akeyla, “Eat your ice cream! Eat it in front of your sister! Show her how delicious ice cream tastes for girls who don’t call their mothers bad names!”
So we went home, angry and ice creamless. More consequences ensued. Doors were slammed, and people cried behind them. (OK, that was me.)
Time went on, the “Shake it Up” movie returned to the screen, and all was right in the world again.
Today I’m thinking of taking them rafting.
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