Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Perfectly Imperfect Trip to Sonny Acres Farm

Hmmm, I wonder whose hand that is, sneaking in to steal an apple??
Last Tuesday my parents were in town and we decided to make the trek out to Sonny Acres farm with all the kiddos. We went last year and Colin enjoyed it so much that we were determined to get back this year (and it would take some determination as it's a good hours drive outside of the city).

Per usual, it took FOREVER to pack up, load the kids in the minivan and get on the road. We left much later than planned for a variety of reasons. By the time we got on the road we realized that we'd get there just in time to ride a few rides before they closed. Luckily, you can still buy pumpkins, apples, cider and other goodies for a hour past when the rides close. Still, to a two year old, the rides are the best part! And to a parent, watching your two year old ride the rides, is the best part!

As I pulled onto the highway to start the hour drive out of the city and into the suburbs, we were immediately stopped by bumper to bumper traffic. Then almost on cue, it started raining.

We wondered if we should turn back as it hardly seemed to make sense to sit in traffic especially with all these babies who could start crying any minute, only to eventually arrive to potentially pouring rain and rides which would long be closed.

The answer was very clear.

NO WAY were we turning the mini-van around and going home! After getting out of the house and all that entails, we were going somewhere. If not the pumpkin farm, somewhere else!

Traffic eventually moved, the babies stayed quiet and then I made a significant wrong turn onto a highway heading the wrong direction. Let's just add another 20 minutes to this late in the day drive!

Finally we arrived.

By the grace of God it wasn't raining but we only had a short period of time left before the kiddie rides closed. I dropped off my parents and Colin, parked mini-van, unloaded the babies, got them in their snowsuits and hats, loaded them in the stroller and took off like a cannon for the rides.

Finn in the front with his, "I'm not sure about this mom" face on

And these two birds in the back, Carter on the left, Everett on the right
Picture this for a moment: crazy mom sprinting through pumpkins, pushing a monstrous stroller full of snow suited babies. I got looks.... and a few comments. I didn't care. I sprinted to the rides determined to catch the joy on Colin's face as he rode the train.

Seeing Colin's excitement riding the rides, his joy in feeding the animals, and noticing the the subtle display of pride on his face as he rode the ponies (something he was too afraid to do last year) made all the effort worth it ten times over.

And on this day I realized something about myself too.

My kids are teaching me to roll with the punches in a way that I've never been able to do before.

Even with the traffic, the rain, the wrong turn, the fact that we had limited time on the rides, the fact that I found myself making bottles and feeding babies at the edge of a petting zoo while goats gawked and licked their lips, or that we needed a flashlight to pick out pumpkins because by the time we finally arrived it was too dark to see them.... no matter what, I didn't feel panic, or disappointment or frustration. Not even when Carter managed to spit up all over my dad right in front of the cash register for all to be grossed out by.

It really surprised me. I kept thinking, "Why am I not feeling at all anxious about this?? This trip is a disaster on so many levels!"

I realized that more and more I've started letting go of holding onto expectations and images of how things should go and instead enjoy however things are going. This is huge for me.

What my kids are slowly teaching me is that there is real joy and freedom in accepting and even embracing however things unfold. Believe me there are days I don't roll with the punches as easily... I'm still learning! But taking this perspective on this day allowed me to see being the only family left pumpkin hunting in the dark through the eyes of Colin, who saw it as a great adventure, rather than feeling like a failure because we arrived so late and my poor boy could barely see four pumpkins ahead of himself in the dark (I brightened the picture above!)

By the time we loaded the van, changed everybody's diaper, got the babies out of their snowsuits and buckled everybody in their car seats, we were the very last people to leave, including workers!

One lone mini van

Colin keeps talking about the trip to the pumpkin farm and wanting to re-live it through the pictures we took. Whenever someone comes over, he proudly shows them the pumpkins he picked out. He saw the trip as nothing less than a wild success.

For me this little excursion will go down in history as the time I realized what they say is really true: life is sweeter when you take it as it comes and learn to laugh through the missteps of motherhood.

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