This past weekend proved to be one of the most spectacularly hot 'May Two-Four' weekends that I can remember. For those non-Canucks out there, 'May 2-4' is also known as Queen Victoria's birthday. Even though the old gal has been dead since 1901 we here in Canada still celebrate her inspiring life.
Typically Canadians celebrate by having a three day weekend filled with overeating at BBQs, partaking in recreational drinking (in various degrees) and camping or hitting the cottage. Now that I'm older (with small humans in tow) we tend to do lots of family stuff to celebrate the first long weekend of the summer.
We started off the weekend by Missy Moo and I going to see The Sound of Music at a local theatre with my parents. Nothing is better than getting goosebumps while the Mother Abbess sings "Climb Every Mountain". Nothing ... except if Julie Andrews was sitting beside me singing along. That would be truly awesome. But I digress .... The play was awesmazing (to use my 10 year old's favourite term).
Since the theatre is only a 5 minute drive to my parents' cottage we stayed the night so that we could have more time for fun in the sun on Saturday (it was a glorious 29C all weekend!!) which included swimming (for some of us) as well as jet skiing. Even me, the uber chicken, went a whopping 54 miles/hour on the jet ski. At that speed I felt like I had a Joan Rivers face lift due to the wind force but I had fun nonetheless. I enjoyed proving to 8 year old Missy Moo that Mom still has game. A risk taker, I am not.
This leads me to another point. With my Type A tendencies (I love order, my brain always jumps to the 'what-ifs' etc) I tend to, at times, feel like the not fun parent. Don't get me wrong, I'm hilarious and fun ... it's just in a more orderly and safe way. It's how I'm wired.
Case in point. Yesterday we packed the kids and the pooch and had a nice leisurely drive to a beautiful conservation area that has two waterfalls and gorgeous trails along a very tall escarpment. See, beautiful, right?!?
My first reaction at seeing how precariously close to the edge some of the paths went? 'You want me to climb up that?? Oh heck, no'. See, heights and I don't mix. Heights and I had an issue with each other in a belfry in Holland and haven't been on good terms ever since. Long story. I hate heights with a passion and I'm pretty sure heights feel the same way about me.
Picture it if you will ... there we were hiking in all our glory when the path suddenly veers towards the edge of the cliff. I'm talking it goes right along the edge which then plummets pretty much straight down for about 100+ feet. Brad walks it with ease, my three kids walked, ran and skipped along the path like little mountain goats. Even the dog didn't have a care in the world (although, truth be told, he is afraid of open stairs so I take a small comfort in the fact that at least he has a phobia). Then there was me. El Mucho Wussy. I was half way across the narrowest part of the path when my brain kicked in and shouted "What in the name of all that is good and holy are you DOING?!? You could fall off and DIE!". That's when my legs decided to stop right then and there. Nice. Now I'm stuck in the middle of said dangerous path. It's times like these when my brain goes in crazy directions. You know what the first thought was that popped into my head at that moment?!? "THIS is why Brad and I can't try out for The Amazing Race. We'd never win because of my fear of heights." I kid you not. That's what I thought. It wasn't a proud or even enlightened moment. Immediately after that thought I took a deep breath, put my big girl panties on and continued on (rather quickly) to the end of the precarious path and lived to tell the tale.
After this little snafoo we went on our merry way until about 5 minutes later (can I catch a break PLEASE??) when we're taking in the view and I spy, a mere 20 feet away, a rather large raccoon staring at us.
Again, my first Type A thought was ... RABIES! Rabies gonna get my babies!! Raccoons are supposed to be nocturnal, aren't they? If so, this dude is probably full of rabies and wanting to munch on my sweet kids. See, all my edumacation just goes out the door and I don't think clearly when something jars my lovely plans. What did Brad do? He brought the kids over, not close but where they could see the creature, to take a peek at it. He looks at it as a cool learning experience and I look at it as a future of needles in the stomach for my babies. Perhaps I need to take a chill pill? Perhaps three or four.
It's times like that when I feel a little like a dud and a 'not fun' parent. I'm a girl who loves order. I feel better when things are planned. Was I totally organized with a pack for each person including water and snacks for the hike? You betcha. Were we on the road on time for our day of fun. Yes, yes we were. Was there a delicious picnic packed complete with a homemade dessert? Of course! That's because I love planning stuff. I've come to the conclusion that I'm just not a risk taking kinda gal. Scaling cliffs. Not my thing. Doing crafts, playing games, reading, biking, swimming, cooking ... totally my thing. Worrying about not being 'fun enough'? Sadly, also my thing. I guess I'm fun in a different, fairly planned, non-life threatening kind of way. Am I goofy? Totally. Am I funny? Hysterical! Am I humble. Apparently not.
Edited May 23/12: I forgot to add something to the original post. Do you watch "Modern Family"? It is one of my favourite shows (right up there with Big Bang Theory). If you do watch Modern Family, you know Claire Dunphy (that's her below with her hubby Phil). She's the mom with three kids on the show who is the epitome of the Type A 'need to be perfect, follow the rules' kinda of mom. She is my sister from anotha mista. I can totally relate to Claire's need for order and being a great mom. Don't get me wrong, I'm not nearly as anal/ controlling (I think) as she is but I do see a similarity between us. I'm just hoping that our family is as funny as hers. :)
So I guess I come away from this experience with this thought -- I'm thankful that Brad and my parenting styles compliment each other so well. He's much more of the risk taker "don't overthink it" kind of parent while I pack a mean picnic and know all of the words to The Sound of Music and can totally kick butt at Wii Dance Party. And while I may cringe at the thought of going on a roller coaster with Boy 1 this summer at Canada's Wonderland (he'll probably have to drag me onto it) and will probably drive safe and relatively slow on the go-cart course, I can take comfort in the fact that my kids know that I'll do my best to try new things whenever I can. Will we have fun together and giggle a whole lot along the way? Definitely. Will there be heights involved. No -- you can take that to the bank.