Picnic At The Park & A Family Time Out

You know when the afternoon starts to slowly strip down into evening? Dinner is being made and your kids are whining, fighting and so tired they can’t see straight. Your partner can’t seem to do that one thing you need, mostly because you yourself don’t know exactly what you need. So you end up storming through the kitchen trying to do everything. Finish up dinner, pick up toys, entertain the kids. I was in the midst of this whirlwind last week and at the last minute, just shy of ripping my hair out I announced, “We are going for a picnic at the park!”

Both of my redheads looked at me like I was insane. Mila heard the word park and then started to repeat it as a question “park?” “park?” “PARK?” So it was set, once dinner was packed up to go we were headed to the park to enjoy some fresh air. Simply because I had enough of whatever I was feeling inside my home and my family as a whole just needed a time out. Has anyone ever been there before? Brimming with exhaustion mixed with a hint of insanity. I remember my mom having these moments and when shit hit the fan my sister, brother and I would stand still and try not to laugh. We would definitely think “Mom is on one again…” Which now I understand, my mom just needed a moment. A refresh. A change of scenery to get a grip and continue. We’ve all been there. It may look different on some people. Ok, it may look a bit more graceful on others. I know I’m a tad impulsive … but I get the job done. 

I packed up our dinner which consisted of marinated flank steak, rice, garlic edamame beans and soy glazed wontons. Of course, something leaked and got everywhere. We only brought one drink and not enough napkins. (I need to invest in a picnic basket) Though once we were all at the park eating together on our blanket, things seemed to stand still for a moment. We enjoyed each other and Mila was thrilled about eating outside. She kept jumping up and walking around then coming back for more bites of food. There was a cool breeze that swept over us. It felt amazing, we were outside and people surrounded us at the park, yet we felt like were in our own little bubble. When I say time stood still I mean, I was able to really step back and take a look at us. In that moment I looked at us eating together and laughing. I looked at Dan and I and the way we longingly looked at Mila. Enjoying her every move and celebrating her. Our eyes searching for some sign from Ryan. Always searching for a sign to spark a memory or something somewhere to show he is with us. Because to be honest, saying he is with us and we feel him in our hearts just isn't enough. We want to see something sometimes. 

Is he here? Of course he is, but where? Here, he is here. I wish I could see him. 

At some point after dinner we let Mila roam around and she took off running. She kept glancing back at us but moving forward. Babbling to herself, laughing. In the moment I told Dan she just loves to keep walking and not have us hold her hand. But maybe she was running with someone we couldn’t see? Maybe her laughs were in response to someone making her laugh? Or maybe she just loves to be free and thought it was funny to run away from us? Or maybe that was that something I'd been yearning to see. My little ones interacting on some heavenly level. (You can think I am crazy, it is ok)

I will tell you this, uprooting your evening routine and taking it outside will do your family some good. I promise. Your little ones can let off steam. You and your partner can reset and have conversations centered around something new. Smiles and laughs will erupt and decimate whatever angst that was brewing at home. If you feel at your wits end, take it all outside and let it go. It will help, I promise. Now I’m thinking, when Mila is older will she hold in her laughs as I once did when my own mother looses it and demands a picnic? Most likely! Will she later understand it all, I hope so. Being a mother is the best job there is, but also comes with a ton of self-sacrifice and thankless moments. It is only natural to feel burdened with emotions. Sometimes those emotions bubble up and make us do wacky things. 

If you are a mom, you understand…