…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.
“That’s 3! Zuzu we haven’t even left the driveway yet and you’ve already earned a timeout once we get up to the mountains!”
The shocked look on her face passed over into the pit of my stomach and Lovey said he would be the one to take her to do her timeout and I could take the other girls on in to the bakery.
It was my idea to go apple picking this morning. We didn’t have to go. The baby had been sick all week. The Quail was exhausted from her first week of school and Zuzu’s attitude had been flaring all morning. But it was the beginning of September. The thought of the crisp air in the mountains, a coffee and danish from the bakery, pictures of the girls gallivanting through the orchard and a bag of apples to bake into pies all wreaked of seasonal holiday fun after a week home with a sick toddler.
Only it was barely 8 am and no one was having any fun.
As we drove on up into the foothills the expected requests for breakfast, a drink, how much farther do we have to go were easily enough assuaged and Zuzu decided to read her homework book, hand another book to the Quail and then pick up after the baby’s half thrown, half chewed Cheerio trail without even being asked.
Zuzu looked at me and grinned, “You mean I’m not at three anymore and if I keep it up I can take it back down to one and maybe not have a timeout?”
And in that moment as I drank the cup of coffee that would keep me going till I got my next cup, I stopped seeing red.
For a brief moment in time, as Zuzu chattered on about her week, the apples she would pick, the cider they would drink, the playground she wanted to run through and her birthday plans that were still over a month off, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought…this is it.
This is how families are. It’s not all good and it’s not all bad. Even in the same day. Even in the same hour. It’s so fluid- it/we vacillate between happy and sad, content and irritated, energetic and bone tired.
And that’s ok.
And what I take away from the day can either be how awful we all behaved for that portion of the day, or the happy ordinary after that eventually comes when the storm blows over.
That’s the stuff.
Now if I could stop the story there and end with pictures of us all frolicking amongst the other orchard-goers life would still seem pretty picture-perfect and rainbow sprinkled.
Unfortunately the reality is the red in the day bled from the Honey Crisps we plucked from the bin into the dotted rash that started to spread over the baby’s soft skin once she woke from her nap to her cheeks that filled with rage as she fussed and fussed until we finally gave up, packed it in and headed back down the mountain towards home to spend the afternoon in the urgent care making sure there wasn’t something else that could be done for this fussy baby.
She’s fine now though. And we do have apples for a pie. And we did actually make it out in spite of ourselves. And I did get that pastry and a cup of coffee. And we made it home when we needed to.
Because we’re a family.
And that’s what families do.