Ah, t’is Family Day, an initiative I pushed for last year as Grumpy Pants kept saying “I just wanna go do something” each and every Wednesday, after sitting for most of Sunday morning, resentent steaming from every pore and being pissed off and not speaking up, and after every couple of weeks working seven days straight, I would crash into a sobbing ball of stress, fatigued, frustrated, feeling like I was getting nowhere and badly needing a break.
I utilised the tools I had (or rather, created myself) and wrote Family Day in big, bold, red letters down the Sunday. I gathered the family, which is somewhat like gathering demented chickens and informed them “We will have a family day every Sunday, and you will enjoy it whether you like it or not!”
Cue whinging and complaining.
I told Grumpy it was his job to stop sulking resentfully and choose something to do each week. My role is to go along with the flow and let go of control and just not have to make a fucking decision for a change. The children were to enjoy it whether they liked it or not.
Sadly, this year, the Family Day has fallen by the wayside for a bit. And we also implemented the suggestion that each family member – but mostly the kids – could choose somewhere once a month. Quite frankly, their standard “I don’t want a Family Day” complaints were getting considerably boring, so we had to add this component so we could say “Hmm, no, not there. Maybe in a few months or never,” so that we could change it up a bit and have them say “It’s NOT FAIR! You NEVER do what I want. I HATE YOU!”
Assuming they can think of something, what with having been given a whole month to write down a couple of suggestions each …
Anyhoo, we had very little to pack in the way of snacks (my job), which is rather unusual. I did a brain dump onto some postit notes before leaving – otherwise I spend the entire Day creating new ideas and overwhelming myself, and Grumpy Pants went and lay down in bed and the kids annoyed the fuck out of each other. Except Chippie, who was jumping on the couch in his porridge encrusted pyjamas.
Eventually, we left and head out to a place we hadn’t been since Grumpy and I did a bit of a drive around Victoria for our honeymoon – Coal Creek
(Which, for those of you whom are familiar with The Simpsons, we likened to Duff Gardens back then …)
The trip started with “How long till we get there?” before we’d all finished our pre-trip wee. The temperature dropped along the way and we disembarked at the end of the tip to discover Monkey Boy didn’t bring a jacket. Nor has be brushed his hair for three days.
Chippie spotted the trains immediately, and, you can almost set your clock by it, except it’s not really a clock-setting thing, more a disembarking-from-car phenomena, Godzilla declared “I’m hungry. Can we get something to eat?”
He kept this up until I lost my ‘nana and told him to shut up before Ilost my ‘nana. I assured him we would get food at some point, but not before I killed him for not shutting up about getting food. It became a Battle Of The Minds to determine if we would eat first, or do the train thing.
We could have run for the train, but decided to explore and wander to the cafe, which was a considerable way along. The children’s attention diverted, Grumpy Pants and I reminisced. We relaxed and just enjoyed. Possibly because we haven’t had a Family Day in quite a while; not one that was purely a family day and we could just chill.
Typically, we made the cafe and ordered, just as it was time for the train to leave again. It was a debate as to whether we wait another hour or wait for our meal. We waited for the meal. We would have liked to sit at the family sized table (eight seats) near the fire, but it was taken up by a young romantic couple. I ventured over and stood near they fire so I may get some feeling back into my
fingers toes legs body. I couldn’t help but notice, amongst their whispering hand-holdy loviness the sparkly diamonds on the rings on her ring finger, and the sparly newness of the ring on his wedding finger.
I smiled a great big smile to myself, remembering when hubby and I were there. And smirked as Chippie let out a shriek, because Godzilla took a drink form his own drink, and they both jumped.
And thought “Yup, you’ll be me in thirteen years!”
They left shortly thereafter and Gumpy and I cuddled in front of the fire, sharing our memories of the place from our visit over a decade ago.
“Remember they had animals right down the end? And you milked the cow?” I said.
“Was that here? Oh, yeah, that’s right, down that way.”
“Hang on! It can’t have been here. I was pregnant when you milked the cow.”
“No. It was definitely here that I did it,” he said.
“Oh, yeah. It was the cow that was pregnant, not me!”
And a look passed between us, and he tried very, very hard not to smirk. And failed.
Also, after so long together I can read his mind.
“Yeah, yeah, ‘same same’, I know. Smartarse!”
After consuming lunch and wiping up spilt soft drink, we wandered around some more, caught the train, where Grumpy Pants rocked the carriage until he was told off (by me), then Monkey Boy started doing it, till he was told off (by me) and he told me to “talk to dad, he started it!’
More exploration, most of which consisted of walking along the train tracks and replaying scenes from The Fugitive (that movie that Hans Solo was in, according to Monkey Boy, about a movie he has never seen), then running along the train lines to catch the train again, despite my telling everyone it is a really dumb idea!
Grumpy and Monkey Boy start being smartarses again, I tell them off, I get called a smartarse, so I ask them to stop being smartarses and catch a glimpse of the matriarch of the family sitting further up the carriage.
I’m on the verge of saying “Don’t you fucking judge me! Your daughter is wearing an Ed Hardy jacket, so you have no right to judge!”
Then I realised she was looking at me in empathy and smiling, so all was good.
We wander around some more, accompanied by “I’m tired” and a little bit of “Can we get something to eat?” and a touch of “I’m bored”.
So I added my own whine in, along the lines of “Oh, yay, I want to listen to everyone whinge and complain about being tired and cold and hungry and bored, and the exit is all the way up the other end!”
And then we left … fell asleep in the car on the way home, made a really basic dinner and, really, just had the most fun, enjoyable day I’ve had for a long time.
A very long time.
All it took was that awesome mindset of “If you can’t beat them, join them!” and I relaxed, stopped worrying about what anyone else thought and was just wholly and completely me for a change.