We had a rare “unscheduled” day yesterday…no sporting events, it was my weekend, no sickness keeping us home, etc. so I planned an outing!!
In the past I have always been the event planner. I wanted to begin traditions with the kids that would continue through the years so they could look back fondly and remember “oh, remember that time we went to the pumpkin patch and…” or “I remember when we went to the zoo that time…” or “I remember all the years we went to the circus” or “remember the year we celebrated 5-5-05 and went to…” My desire was/is to expose them to life…to experiences…to creating memories…but it’s also selfish. I have wanted these memories to hold on to myself as well.
Needless to say, the past few years have been a struggle in my own personal motivations to create these types of experiences. I have always seen them as “family” events. And this new definition of “family” for me has been less than desirable…not to mention the constant moves to new places that require you REPLACE the old traditional events with new ones in new locations. (sometimes I have wondered if that even still counts as part of the ‘tradition’-or if because the location/event changes you’re starting over again)
It’s not that we haven’t done things together. We have. They were just marked by my melancholy demeanor more often than not or the event wasn’t really what I had been desiring it to be for whatever reason. (you should have seen the two bit circus we found that didn’t measure up to our previous experiences with the circus, or the sad pumpkin patch with the sketchy carnies that had no real “farm-like” feel to it) Sometimes a friend has joined us, and that makes it “less family tradition” somehow in my mind. We would go, and I would use it as an opportunity to look around and see all the “happy families” like how we “used to be” and I would become depressed – even if we didn’t used to be the happy family even when the ex was around. The activities would be more work than they were fun – me trying to mask my disappointment so the kids wouldn’t feel my sadness.
But yesterday…I decided we needed an outing. We needed to go somewhere, just the four of us, to create a memory. I found a location nearby at an art museum. They were having a great temporary exhibit that included costumes from various movies-many of which the kids had seen. So I packed them into the truck and drove in the pouring down rain to our latest adventure…
I have to say, it has been awhile since I’ve had a day like that with them…and I LOVED it! I was in good spirits. I didn’t lament the new dynamic and what was “missing”, or look around and see all the other “intact” families and become sad. I enjoyed each of the kids and their different perspectives. We got out of the house, experienced some new things, and just basically ENJOYED our time together.
I hope they saw flashes of their mom…who I am as a person…who I want them to know more than the sad, melancholy caretaker who never got over being left by a man that never really knew what he had.