Last week I took the kids to a waterpark.
It was the first time we had ever been there and it happened to be the last day of a special promotion that admitted kids free of charge when they brought in their grade cards showing they had made good grades.
I thought that it was the perfect time to give it a shot!
We arrived just after the park opening and tried out several different rides, getting our grips on the place and figuring out what we enjoyed doing the most. After deciding that it was time to refuel, we headed out to the parking lot to grab our lunch that we had brought. All the picnic tables were full, so we found ourselves sitting on our towels beneath a tree.
We packed a picnic lunch consisting of PB&J's and some chips.
No fancy, smancy picnicking going on here.
Just tupperware, ziplocs, towels and soda pop.
And smiling kids.
We watched as our "neighbors" eating their lunch on the rock pile took out slices of meat, cheese and doctored their sandwiches with condiments...pausing only to grab some homemade chocolate chip cookies.
I looked back at our PB&J's and ziplocs filled with chips. I felt a little better when I saw some cheese sticks and yogurts I had packed in the cooler. At least there was something healthy....if not homemade.
I grabbed a yogurt and asked the kids, "who wants some yogurt?"
They both enthusiastically nodded.
As I pulled out the yogurt tubes and tried to open them, I was met with more resistance than I had bargained on-made worse by sunscreen slickened hands.
"Guys, I can't get your yogurt opened. I'm sorry I didn't pack a better lunch."
L, always one to see the bright side of a situation said, "Our lunch is fine. I like PB&J's. Plus, they (nodding towards our picnicking neighbors) have to take time that they could be inside swimming to BUILD their sandwiches. Ours were already ready."
I smiled and nodded and began to convince myself that speed had been my angle the whole time. Not wanting to waste any more of that precious time, we hurried back inside to play some more.
Despite my lack luster meal preparation skills, they apparently got all the energy they needed to enjoy the rides.
Some they rode over and over.
Oh yeah, I rode them too!
But as the kids got a little more brave, they allowed me to stay at the bottom and take pictures of their adventure.
They were all smiles when they reached the bottom....
....and they only paused long enough to say "I want to go AGAIN!". As I watched them make their way back up the hill and to the end of the line, I found myself actually feeling the weight of a passing mother's comments made to me just a few hours earlier in the day. She had paused only long enough to say, "Enjoy this! Soon they'll be like mine and they'll run off and leave you and you won't see them again until it's time to leave."
After watching them ride a couple of times by themselves, and catching a few pictures, I grabbed their hands and ran back to the locker to put the camera up and join them in the fun once again.
We were all laughing as we hit the water.
I think that L summed up both of their thoughts about the park when she said, "This is not a 'one time place'. We HAVE to come again!"
I loved having the entire day, and both kids, to myself. We laughed and enjoyed each other's company. Although I originally thought I would see if anyone (friends, family) wanted to come along, I have to say that the day worked out perfectly. I was thrilled with being able to completely devote myself to them. I loved being in a place where there were no constraints on me or my time. I didn't have to do anything other than enjoy my kids.
And I think I tend to agree with L. "This isn't a one time place."
We will definitely have to do it again.
Even if we go somewhere else.