Wednesday, July 28, 2010


1 : an excursion or outing with food usually provided by members of the group and eaten in the open

Sometimes the easiest requests from my children are the hardest to fulfill. Monday, K comes to me in the morning and says, “Can we have a picnic?!” As she asks this, she is nearly vibrating with excitement.  I, on the other hand, am standing in the kitchen, filling my water bottle in preparation for the treadmill. “Not right now, honey. I need to exercise. Let’s do a picnic after we go to the grocery store.”  My plan is to head to the store as soon as I finish my work out. “Ok!” K replies, her enthusiasm only slightly dampened by the idea of postponing the picnic for a few hours.

Fast forward a few hours. I’ve hit the treadmill and the shower, then played lunch lady to three girls, two of whom are still in their pajamas. It’s only noon and I’m exhausted. After clearing away the remnants of lunch, I read for a bit, check e-mail and research a few more books for our home school reading list (it only has 98 or so books on it, I’m sure I need to add a few more). Then I remember: this is the last week to turn in my intent to home school letter without paying a penalty.  I move with a bit more alacrity.

I print the form, fill it out and search the house for proof that I have a high school diploma. Lacking evidence of finishing high school, I grab my college diploma and hope a copy of that will suffice. The documents gathered, I tell A and B to put on real clothes for the first time that day. They grumble a bit about having to relinquish their pajamas, but subside when I remind them that it’s 2 pm, well past the time for PJs.

I combine the trip to the school board with a trip to the grocery store and by 4 in the afternoon feel like maybe I have actually accomplished something for the day. K makes one more feeble attempt to have a picnic, but her timing is poor: like her sisters, she chooses the moment when I am unpacking the groceries to ask for something. Coming on the heels of A’s request for a popsicle and B’s request for fruit, K's request for a picnic is not well received. I want nothing more than to get the groceries put away and sit for a moment. So I throw popsicles to everyone and sit while I eat mine.

An hour later, we’re in the van taking A to a dance rehearsal. On our way home, K says to me in a small voice, “Are we ever going to have a picnic?” Her voice is quiet, her tone gentle.  There is not the slightest hint of a whine.  My heart breaks. The poor child had been waiting all day long for me to help her have a picnic.  I have failed miserably. I've been selfish, distracted, busy.  Too busy for a picnic?  What kind of mom am I?

Rain is threatening and our dinner of eggplant parmigiana isn’t particularly conducive to dining al fresco. So I offer a meager substitute: an indoor picnic in the living room.  K does not complain.  She gets to work laying out a blanket, assigning positions to our family around it.  We eat dinner and she is mollified, if not satisfied.

And Tuesday morning? Coffee. Clothing. Picnic at the Park.  Followed by Las Paletas to further rectify my failings the day before.  Better late than never, I suppose.

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