Every once in a while I dream up these perfect little Family Outings. In my rosy vision we are all dressed in coordinating outfits that match any weather condition. We're cheery and excited, bowled over by the wonders of wherever we happen to be. No one needs a snack, no one has a stinky bottom, no one forgot the directions, no one starts howling in a public place. We're happy, on our excellent behavior and smiling in every picture.
Phillip was off a whole week for Thanksgiving and tonight, his last free night, we decided to go downtown and ride the carousel Seattle installs in the center of the shopping district during the holidays. We thought it'd be fun to see the lights, check out the city tree - dive headfirst into the Christmas spirit. As we discussed the best time to leave the house this afternoon I had the lyrics from 'Silver Bells' in my head because, you know, THAT'S what it was going to be like: "Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile." JUST LIKE THAT.
Of course, Jackson started whining the minute we told him we were going out. "Don't WANT go downtown, Mama! Want MILK!" And trying to stuff Molly into her snowsuit was like trying to stuff a furious and indignant piglet into a tube sock. It was cold, we were tired and WHY WERE WE EVEN BOTHERING?
Oh right: Christmas Cheer. So we rode the carousel.
And we went to the fancy shopping mall to see the fake snowfall.
And then we had dinner at a restaurant that shall not be named, except it has a 50's diner theme, the slowest service on Planet Earth, and terrible food, and why I care about the food when you KNOW my kids only ate three French fries is BEYOND ME.
Jack wanted to "walk like a big boy", which meant "run, shrieking and hollering, away from my mother". Molly was not happy unless she had a fruit snack in her hands at all times. Phillip was mad because I couldn't make up my mind and I was mad at Phillip because why can't he READ my mind, but somehow - SOMEHOW! - a good time was had by all. We even took a moment to gaze lovingly at each other in the car and say, in all honesty, "That was totally worth it."
Maybe these outings aren't perfect, but taking your kids out and doing something fun and holidayish and lit up, preferably with a large helping of junk food and a dusting of fake snow? Totally worth it.