Tuesday, January 15, 2013
forgetting the 'less than fives'
Last week, we went on a little adventure up north. And if Cruz could write, or talk in complex sentences for that matter, I have a feeling his travel itinerary might look a lot like the two days we spent together --- our final hurrah of winter break before another semester begins for this mama on Monday.
It was a short trip, and other than one 'mild' setback at Starbucks, we had a wonderful little getaway. And you know, that's really what a day or two away is all about. A chance to truly 'get away' from the daily distractions and routines of day-to-day and focus on nothing but the adventure in front of you. For me, it seems sometimes the things that get in the way of family time the most are what I call the less than fives - the multitude of things that are easy to rationalize because after all, they take less than five minutes to do. I quickly unload the dishwasher while Cruz plays in the tub, or check so and so's blog while Cruz plays cars at my feet, or turn on the The Bachelor while I build puzzles with Cruz, half listening to him and half listening to the drunk girl on TV who didn't receive a rose. And while I realize many of these 'less than fives' are important and necessary to keeping the boat afloat at home, many of them can wait. In so many ways, I hate that our culture attributes multi-tasking as progressive and necessary to advance. Sometimes, the more I do, the more I feel I don't do much of it well.
That's why getaways are important. The dishwasher stays at home, the TV stays off, and so many of the other 'less than fives' are left in the dust for a few days of mono-tasking with what's most important. The constant whisper of what can be done melts away, and what's left is the freedom to focus on what's in the present. I think it's why little kids love hotel rooms so much --- there's no where to hide, no less than fives to take care of, and no one scolding you for jumping on the bed.
"Seriously, guys, are we there YET?"
It seemed we had the Mall of America to ourselves when we arrived Thursday night. Being a school night in the middle of the week, I knew it would be less chaotic than normal, however, I've never seen the place this empty before. We spent a good hour in The Disney Store, had dinner, and scored a $10 unlimited ride pass at Nickelodeon Studios. There were no lines and we were sometimes the only people on a single ride! This took the anxiety level down a few notches as anyone who's been to the Mall of America knows it's not what one would deem a relaxing destination, and we were able to let Cruz lead the way and go at his pace.
Cruz made himself at home in The Disney Store. He had a ball and found lots of his newest favorite - 'Cars.'
Seeing the rides for the first time.
First ride...hang on!
Oh boy did he love the rides. He went on Diego's bus twice, loved the hot air balloon ride that Beau insisted on and that I thought went too high, and could have rode that carrousel for hours. Beau and I took turns accompanying him on rides, giving us opportunities to soak in his excitement from the sidelines. I watched and thought about Holden Caulfield watching his sister Phoebe on the carrousel in Central Park, crying and smiling at the same time, longing to keep her in that childlike state of innocence, happiness, and wonder forever.
I hear ya, Holden.
Although we had so much fun Thursday night, Friday morning was the big show. In honor of his 2nd Birthday and quite fitting for his Sesame Street birthday bash, Cruz received three tickets to Sesame Street Live in Minneapolis. And although he may have liked to take two of his besties from daycare with him to the show, he chose Beau and I as the lucky ticket holders (likely due to the potty training and driving a car issues at hand). So from the 6th row at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Cruz had a chance to see his favorite show brought to life, meet, greet, and give high fives to some of his favorite characters, and sit on the steps of his most beloved street. I couldn't wait to see his face.
Our plans took a slight turn for the worse on Friday morning when Cruz puked in a very crowded Starbucks just an hour before showtime. Beau and I were at a loss, three hours away from home, without extra clothes or wet wipes, unsure of whether it was a false alarm or the flu bug everyone seems to be passing around, but Cruz proved to bounce back a lot quicker than his parents did. With just an hour before the show, we decided to take things slow and see how he did, but as two year olds have a way of doing, there was no such thing as slowing down, especially where Elmo was concerned.
Cruz demanded popcorn and a bright red sno-cone, and Beau and I nervously watched him like a hawk, silently praying that God would get us through the show and home if Cruz really was showing signs of the flu. Weirdly, he never got sick again, slept the whole way home, and has been fine ever since. We're starting to think it isn't a vacation with Cruz unless he projectile vomits in a public place.
So other than the fact that Beau and I were a little on-edge, hiding potential puke bags and trying to regulate Cruz's sno-cone intake, we enjoyed the show and more so, enjoyed watching Cruz enjoy the show.
It was a sunny day on Sesame Street, indeed.
After arriving home, unpacking our overnight bag, and settling back into the groove, I felt inspired to be more intentional about the balance between my less than fives and play, knowing that getaways can exist inside our little home, adventures can be just as sweet, and there's always enough time to let a little monkey jump on his parents' bed.
Have a good week :)