It was one of those days. The sweat dripped down our backs. We had the air conditioning turned up high in the house, but our three kids were still tired and bored. We’d help get one kid settled on something, maybe playing a game or watching a Disney video, and then another would whine about not having anything to do. We were on day two of an early summer heat wave and we were getting on each other’s last nerve.
To top it off, my wife and I were tired from a long week and were looking at a ton of things due in the coming week. We needed a break.
I was just about ready to sit down on the sofa when I saw that our dog had accidentally gone to the bathroom on the granite by the doorway. What now! My internal radiator was just about ready to boil over in the heat. My wife noticed and told me to grab the keys to the car and collect the kids, we were going out for a long drive and would go for ice cream. I started to argue, but was so spent that I thought that she might be onto something. By the time we were all ready to go, she had taken care of the dog do-do and we were off.
The kids were surprisingly calm in the car. No one complained about the other touching them or the choice of music blaring in the car or how far we had to drive — our daughter slept, our son played with his Nintendo Gameboy and our youngest son just watched the other cars go by. They were all happy to get some ice cream.
We drove for about an hour until we got to the out of the way creamery. In that hour, everything seemed to change. They were calm. My wife and I were calm. My kids each got their favorite choice and we enjoyed the cold treat while we watched a couple of birds flitter and fly between two threes outside the ice cream store. The kids were so well-behaved that they didn’t even whine about buying some dollar candy from the nearby candystore. When we packed the kids back into the car, they of course fell asleep and my wife and I got the mental break that we needed.
Those days are long gone. Two of my three kids are grown now and out of the house. They have their own lives and ups and downs now, but I couldn’t help think about the trip this weekend as the temperatures rose into the 90s. For the first time in nine months we’ll all be together again.
All three of my kids will be home under the same roof. I doubt anyone will yell out “stop touching me” or “Dad, I’m bored” but I’m looking forward to the time together with my kids. We’ll talk and chat and probably go out to eat once or twice. They’ve all grown into pretty interesting adults, it will be interesting to catch up with them . . . without the strain of the cellphone or FaceTime.
Oh, I love to go on mini-dates with my wife, like the breakfast that we had this past Saturday . . . it’s just us solving the world’s problems and chatting about our inner thoughts and feelings over a cup of coffee and a ham and cheese omelette, but there’s still nothing like hanging out with the entire family.
My kids have become my favorite people to hang with . . . even on a blazing hot day. One more thing, if you see me this week, don’t comment on my diet. It’s bad most days, but will be especially bad when my kids are all home: I’ll be the one ordering the extra scoop of ice cream. If only to make the time together last longer!