Thursday, June 12, 2014

What it's like to not be (right there)

I'd label our strawberry picking adventure under.... Unexpected Drama and Why We Can't Have Nice Things.

It seems that no matter how well I plan, LIFE happens and things get crazy fast. 

Drove out to a strawberry field with all four sweet ones. Three hours after our planned departure time. The drive was lovely, no fighting or crying, country roads and excited children. 

The first few minutes of picking were picturesque. Girls in floppy hats, some of Jack's berries going into his bucket, the perfect amount of sunshine and breeze. 

...then the whining started.

...then the pleading.

...then the fighting.

...then Jack eating ALL the berries he picked, getting dirt and juice everywhere.

...then a full-scale Jack meltdown overtop the strawberry plants, piercing screams, kicking and spitting.

I almost lost it. But, I've been practicing "Life is not an emergency" and "grace. wait. breathe"

.....I was determined to make this fun. 

Pay. Pack everyone back in the car. Drive to the farm store.

"Okay girls, you can pick ANY FLAVOR OF ICE CREAM YOU WANT!" in a waffle cone! 

In an attempt to let the children be more free-range I let them play on the farm playground when they each finish their ice cream.

Jack goes over with Maddie. 

I see him start to climb the stairs on a very tall (9 ft high) old-fashioned metal slide. 

I start to walk across the field to keep an eye on things while I finish my cone. 

He makes it to the top. Cassie is there to catch him at the bottom. and then.. 

and I know what is going to happen right before he changes his mind and goes to stand up.

Jack loses his balance. 

and falls. hard. and far.

I drop my cone and run to him. I've never ran so fast in my life. The whole time?

Prayer. I pray to God that he is okay, that he's safe. unhurt. 

He ends up being okay, just needing some cuddles and kisses. And I can do that, I can be that person for him. But the whole time I'm kissing, loving, rubbing comfort into his back? I see him falling in my mind's eye. I hate that I wasn't RIGHT THERE when it happened. I feel disappointed in myself. I believe in free-range children. I believe in letting them be as independent as they want to be.... but I wish I could have gotten to him quicker. I wish I had been right there as soon as he needed me.

We drive home, children happy from a day spent in the sun, picking and running free.

the next time we see a slide? I'm cautious. I'm [right there]

Hows' that for free-range? liiiiife.