Picnics And Friends

Occasionally, moms need a break from cooking dinner.

Actually, that might just be me.  And by occasionally, I really mean that I need a break every single night.  Some moms breast feed; some shuffle into the kitchen at 2 AM to mix formula with purified water and warm it up in a bottle.  Some moms teach their three year olds to play the cello and sing songs in Spanish; some push their kids out the backdoor every morning over summer break and tell them, “Please don’t eat all the dirt out there.”  (Never mind teaching mine Spanish; he can’t even learn to keep the dirt out of his mouth.)  And some moms cook.  I know moms who make exotic Thai dishes with organic vegetables from the garden in the backyard.  I know a mom who makes HOMEMADE NOODLES every time she makes spaghetti.  I know moms who make jam and pickles from scratch.  I know a mom who boils parts of chickens I can’t even talk about without throwing up, so that she can make her own broth.

And then there’s me.

I bought a full meatloaf from the deli in the grocery store two nights ago, and I microwaved that thing, along with a tub of mashed potatoes from the deli, and I felt like Wonder Woman, because dinner was on the table in thirteen minutes.  Of course Hubs said, “You can really hide a lot in a meatloaf.  I mean… is this beef?  Is it?  Or is it horse meat?”

And then dinner was pretty much over for all of us, and meatloaf may be dead to me forever.

But… sometimes… moms need a break from cooking, which is when you get a group of them together and shout out, “Family picnic!”  And that’s how we ended up with three families at the park the other night.  We all loaded up homemade sandwiches and chips, except for the fancy family, who got store-bought chicken and genuine cheese curds, hot out of the oil, that made the picnic area smell like Heaven probably does.  We all sat around the metal picnic tables, said the blessing, and talked.

We talked and we talked and we talked, because the kids had a playground and a creek to play in, so they left us alone!  Moms and dads — all of us good friends for years — sat around and mooched cheese curds off the family who was smart enough to bring enough to share, and we laughed our heads off, talking about grownup things, while our children ran the equivalent of an Iron Man Triathlon, between the water and the old-school, very-dangerous, full-on-metal, violates-every-safety-code merry-go-round.

We had a perfectly lovely evening, which we all desperately needed. Nobody had to cook, and we all got to hang out.  In addition to needing a night off from making dinner, moms sometimes just need a play date with one another, too… and so do dads.  I think the three dads were just as excited to hang out together as the moms were at our little spontaneous picnic.

Only three of our tribe members were brave enough to do the creek, because the air wasn’t your typical THIS HEAT IS GONNA KILL ME DEAD LIKE A HOUSEFLY IN A SPIDER’S WEB type of Small Town evening.  Instead, it was a bit cooler that day.  The majority of our tribe opted to stay dry and warmer, so they chose the playground.

But three of them?  They were fully ON for water play, until their lips turned blue and the goosebumps covered them, from the tops of their heads to the bottoms of their cute little toes.

Eventually, the shivers got even the die-hards, so they decided to hang out at the playground with the smarter kids, who understood from the very beginning that cooler evenings and mountain-fed creeks oftentimes lead to hypothermia.

Thing 2 practiced for his career in operating heavy machinery…

His buddy, Little T, showed everyone how ripped his biceps, sides and ab muscles are, as he practiced for his career in operating carnival rides…We had kids running all over the place.  We had kids climbing all over the place.

We even had kids READING all over the place!

Some of the children thought that it would be a good idea to bury themselves in the playground’s sand.

You know… while their swim trunks were still sopping wet, because WHY NOT?!

The end result was a horror story for clean cars.

My only wish for mothers everywhere is that THEY COULD ALL have a child like Thing 2.  I  hate that some moms are deprived of the backseat of their cars being filled with sand and ALL THE NATURE THAT SHOULD STILL BE OUTSIDE IN NATURE, INSTEAD OF ALL OVER MY VEHICLE.

(I feel like I should call Tide and see if they’d like to feature our boy in a television commercial entitled NOW… HOW WILL WE GET THAT PAIR OF SWIM TRUNKS CLEAN AGAIN?)

Thankfully, Little T’s mama is good friends with her own giant jug of Tide, too.

These two boys had to brave the chilly creek water once again, because AIN’T NO WAY YOU’RE BRINGING THAT SAND INSIDE THE FORD, BROTHER!!  AIN’T NO WAY!!

And then… after everyone was rinsed and dried, we threw away our dinner scraps and loaded up into our cars.  We’d had the best evening, talking and laughing and eating and swatting wasps.

And just because I got out of cooking for one night…

… it didn’t mean that I got out of laundry the next day, because THAT SWIMSUIT!!

Y’all have a happy Sunday night.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *