So far this summer, I feel like we have been mostly maligned to laying around the house and watching TV or reading or trying to keep the kids entertained while not letting them redecorate in a feng shui some might dub “Terror a la Toddler”. It’s not that we don’t like to go outside, it’s that it has been unbearably and unreasonably hot in St. Louis. I talked to somebody the other day about living in the mountains in Arizona and having to wear a sweatshirt some days with the elevation and just felt a chill with her telling me that. Sometimes I just look at pictures of the inside of the refrigerator, because Rachael thinks I should actually parent our kids instead of standing with my head in a freezer door all day…*Dad Joke warning, turn back if too cool for Dad Jokes*… She must be worried I am gonna get brain freeze or something. She is always looking out for me.
Being stuck inside all summer has made me stir-crazy. It has made me realize that I may not be living my best life. So, on Friday night at 6 pm, I had had enough of being in the house so I said, “Let’s go to a drive-in to see the Incredibles 2”, (which, side-note, might just be the best way to see a movie if you have toddlers and no sitter). We scrambled to pick up the house, make and eat dinner, and pack before getting out the door at 7 pm. After driving an hour and a half down curvy rounds, we get our lawn chairs out and enjoy the movie. Rachael and I literally have been waiting half our lives to see this sequel to the Incredibles. Need to see it again for missed details, but it just might be better than the first!
After getting our fill of popcorn and candy (sorry, diet), we packed the jacked up toddler back into the car and drove to our hotel for the night. The hotel is just eight minutes away, and yet my car started to overheat. Rachael and I drove the last five minutes there on pins and needles with no A/C, hoping that we make it to our destination. The car stresses us out, but we arrive at the hotel, too tired to care until the morning. We wake up, the car seems fine, we eat our complimentary waffles (which taste tremendously better than non-complimentary waffles), and we drive off only to have to go through the same panic…the car was not all fine.
Now, we had planned for the day to visit Johnson Shut-ins, a beautiful state park about 45 minutes from the hotel. We pull over, Rachael looks at everything, because I know nothing other than “Car go fast” and “Car have radio”, and determine that we just have to ride with the windows down and zero A/C the rest of the trip. We start driving and we are so consumed with the problem with the car that I missed a turn in the middle of nowhere to the park. So, the GPS adjusts and we go a way that takes a total of three minutes slower. On the way, we encountered another state park, Elephant Rocks State Park, which is a park made up of Elephants impersonating Rock n Roll legends, of course. I think my favorite had to have been the Tears for Fears elephants. They just nailed the hair!…anyways we hiked the park, climbed giant rocks and took a million pictures. The boys loved it!
Before we got going in the park (and eventually to the Shut-ins), Rachael said something that really struck and bothered me, “Every time I seem to try and do something fun, “Life” gets in the way…I feel like I am punished for doing something fun.” She and I were so consumed with the idea of potentially being lost in the middle of nowhere with a broken down car that we had forgotten why we came out here: To have fun and live life well. Should we have been concerned? Sure. I think at that moment we lost sight of the fact that the car is going to break down whenever it decides to, and we can’t let it dampen this moment. After we get done looking at the rock n roll elephants (okay, fine…hiking over giant elephant-shaped boulders), Rachael turns to me and says something completely counter to what she told me prior to going in, “I really enjoyed that. When it comes to starting things I hate the idea of it, especially with what life is currently going on, but while I was just experiencing life with my family, I was really enjoying it.” Even with the craziness and stress of if our car was going to explode or not (spoiler alert: it did not) we were able to have the best weekend we have had all summer!
Moral of the story: Don’t let life stress get in the way of you enjoying life. Get out of the house if you find yourself going stir-crazy this summer.
Take care and thanks for reading,