We live in Maine and this "eternal winter" is making my kids stir crazy which is in turn making me run out of ideas to keeping them from driving each other up the wall. I'm already hanging from the ceiling.
So when I found out a few days ago that the Houlton Farms Dairy Bar was opening up for the season, I felt like a kid at Christmas. I couldn't wait to take the kids. In our little town, opening day is not something to be missed. Even with feet of snow on the ground, having a dish of ice cream makes spring seem real and forthcoming.
Well, we didn't make it to opening day. Kids were acting out and rewards weren't appropriate. So we went the next day. Before supper.
I was sitting there enjoying the happy chatter in the car with the kids, eating our tasty treats, people watching, when the thought hit me... I'm a pretty cool mom. They are going to remember this one day.
Famous last words.
About ten minutes later we were heading home, making a quick stop for milk.
That's when the meltdown happened.
Little Man had just consumed a scoop of cotton candy ice cream with gummy bears on top. Curly Q was hopped up on peanut butter cup ice cream with chocolate sprinkles. And the milk quest required a walk through the store.
Past more junk food.
Little Man wanted it all. And screamed for it. Loudly. Which made big sis walk ahead and away from her embarrassing tyrant of a brother.
I was no longer the coolest mom.
I was that mom with an edge to her voice, mean eye, and the words "because I said so" coming out of her mouth. Fussing at one child through clenched teeth for being unreasonable. Fussing at the other one because she kept walking away.
They had a lecture the whole way home about gratitude. And manners. And appropriate behavior.
When we got home and the steam had stopped coming out of my ears, both children hugged me and apologized. And thanked me, not for the ice cream but for taking care of them.
They both told me that they loved me and I told them the same.
And then they asked when dinner would be ready.
I've thought about that day several times since then and I've made a promise to myself NOT to try and be a cool mom. Or to pat myself on the back for thinking that I am.
I'll just stick with taking care of my children and loving them. And one day, in the distant future, I may surprise them with ice cream before supper again.
But we won't be stopping at the store afterwards.
Jennifer Collins is a Graceful Mess.
Living a messy life, full of grace.
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