when life is not idyllic

Last year, we went to the Hallerbos. It is, as I told Abel, the place where fairies live. Every morning, before anybody else is awake they pick up their little buckets of glittery water and clean all the flowers until they shine.

I had been stalking the Hallerbos website for almost six weeks now, waiting until the Hyacinths would bloom. Then one Friday late in April we went, and I was quite excited about it.

The year before had been sunny and warm, we had picnicked and it was beautiful. Even though we did get a little lost and the walk took us a lot longer then planned.

So we parked at another parking lot, hoping it was closer to the flowers than the one we had parked at last year.

But it wasn’t.

And after about 2 minutes of walking the children decided they had enough and they wanted to go back to the car.

I, on the other hand, was intent on enjoying this walk and so I became the mom that over-cheerfully, loudly praised all the things the forest has to offer.

Mike wasn’t complaining, but the un-excitement was seeping of his face. He didn’t mind in the least to do his wife a favor, but it was a pity that it included being outside, and walking. With children who didn’t want to walk. And without a warm sun.

So we had a short(er) walk, bribed our kids with juice boxes, cookies and strawberries. Then we got in the car and put a movie on so that they would be quiet on the drive home.

Sometimes, life is just not idyllic. At all. Still, there was beauty in little boys finding fun in boredom, and all the fairy houses. And cute pictures. And in just being together, alive and a little grumpy.

Mothers and Fathers have the superhero power of making bad situations good – or bearable by not telling their children “we could be having a splendid time if only you would not act like this”, but just dealing with what is and finding little moments of fun and beauty and cuteness while accepting the ordinary and the grumpy and the human-ness. Giving your children guilt feelings over their behavior will not transform them into angels. It just really doesn’t.

Giving your children strawberries to trick them into taking adorable pictures, now that does work. It just really does.

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