For the last 6 days, we've been on vacation. I took the kids to San Diego Friday after school, and returned yesterday. It was our annual trek to visit Uncle Matt, Aunt Amy, and Garrett. We go with another family who happen to have relatively quiet, well mannered, EASY kids who get along. We always go to Legoland, but this time hit the SD zoo and Sea World while we were at it. I mean, who wouldn't when kids are free, right? OK. We're a bit crazy, but that's not my point here.
To my amazement, there were no meltdowns. The whining was not at its usual level, easy bed times, minimal complaining. Say what? It was, well, wonderful. It made it a whole lot easier to get those 5 a day hugs in when I actually enjoyed the time we were having together! And last year my son was a wreck from lack of sleep and was a big cranky pants. This year, the boy didn't even complain his back was hurting during the drive.
This is a WOW moment.
Now we're home, and today we are doing pretty much nothing. Laundry, playing outside in this beautiful cool weather, cleaning up. Ya know, the fun stuff.
Aaaaaaaand the good behavior is over.
It gives me pause and I realize maybe they are just running on empty. They were running on all four cylinders for four days straight at theme parks, then two travel days; so how could I possibly expect them to still have any get-along-gas in their tanks?
And why do we expect our children to get along in the first place? When I make a list of all the people I like after even a few days of being stuck together it looks pretty bleak. But we expect these little people to just accept one another and be pals and play together and share and LIKE IT ALL THE TIME? Yikes. Not even on my best day could I rise to that occasion....... and yet with all the constant bickering and tattling and whacking each other I want to yell:
WHY CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG!!!
I believe we all have some challenge-able expectations of our kids, and I KNOW we have some of ourselves. It's unrealistic to expect that my kids will have these great big personalities but only let them free when it's "appropriate". Or that they have a parent who speaks her mind but then balks when they do. Or that Mommy Cranky Pants is hiding out in the office right this very minute hoping empty-tanked kids aren't doing anything massively destructive.
So I'm taking a breathe, reminding myself in the midst of the resumed chaos that a little miracle happened this trip. My kids got along. We had fun. We were family.