There was no enthusiasm as the girls made their way to the car, grumpy faced as if we were sending them off to math camp for the remainder of the summer. This has been going on for a couple of weeks now. They don't want to do anything together. Family fun seems to be a punishment in their eyes.
We're determined to make them enjoy this day and each other. I’ve planned the entire afternoon carefully, which pretty much guarantees thunderstorms, an attack of killer bees or projectile vomiting in the back seat. We head out onto Route 133 through Bridgewater anyway.
I change the plan slightly. I want to stop at Maple Bank Farm in Roxbury first. If we leave what I want to do most until last, it will never happen. I want to stop at the farm market for fresh veggies. And maybe a fresh baked treat. Maybe.
I must have tricked the fates, because when we arrive, the girls are delighted. They hop out of the car and ask to pick blueberries. After their buckets are filled, they feed the hungry, friendly sheep that live at the farm. Then they browse the market with me. The Butterfly needs a bouquet of freshly cut zinnias. The Adventurer helps me choose the best corn in the basket for dinner.
The whining doesn’t begin until we are back in the car. “Where do we have to go now?” The Adventurer wants to swim. She doesn’t get her way.
We drive by , along the river and it's crowded. We continue on around a country corner to Roxbury Land Trust Mine Hill Preserve for and a hike. Grumpiness returns. We take the wrong path on our quest to find a treasure and find the remains of the old mining furnaces instead. The girls explore happily, then ask to leave. The Princess (age four) begs to be carried back to the car. My legs are tired and I, distracted by the earlier complaining, left the water bottles in the car. The Butterfly goes with Wilderness Dad and finds the geocache hidden above a fascinating tunnel.
Finally, it’s time for swimming. Now the Adventurer wants to go home. We push on in our quest for fun. She gives in, gets in the water and is smiling in less than three minutes.
As I watch them play in the water, I wonder what will be remembered about this day. Will they remember the cool water, the taste of fresh blueberries or the soft coats of the sheep? Will they remember being forced to get out and enjoy a beautiful summer day? Or will they remember how tired they were from all the complaining?
All I can think of now is going home, taking off my shoes and drinking a cup of coffee somewhere very, very quiet. Forcing people to enjoy themselves is exhausting. I smile, knowing that I was successful, just this once.
Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be happy that the thorn bush has roses. ~ Proverb