Saturday was a nice day around here – like check the date on the kids’ sunscreen nice. I had some writing work to do and I was gone all afternoon. I ate lunch all by myself and didn’t fetch anything for anyone or wipe anything I didn’t spill. I walked around town and talked to grown-ups with joys, struggles, and great stories to tell. Confession: I loved it.
However, when I got home that old mommy guilt feeling of “I left my kids at home to go to work on a nice day” took over, so I decided that we should go get some ice cream.
Where we live there’s a charming and very vintage-feeling ice cream shop called The Local Scoop. It’s all 50s Coca Cola ads and formica tables, with a dose of hometown service and a lot of character. I’ve heard out-of-towners like to head here, too. It means a lot to draw sophisticated urbanites to a place that’s popular for traditional ice cream and baskets of french fries.
So my first clue about the future of this excursion should have been when my dear husband Irvin told me they hadn’t eaten their lunch. Another check mark on the mommy guilt scorecard – our twins often give daddy a hard time about eating the food he makes for them. What mom doesn’t go through this? That plus me interrupting their late-afternoon backyard play to load them up in the car was probably the beginning of the mythical meltdown that followed.
We arrived at The Local Scoop and all was well. Our twins love new places, especially ones where a bear eating ice cream greets you at the door. We picked our cones and found our seat. I snapped some pictures. And then…
So if you were at The Local Scoop on Saturday I’ll just apologize for the kid who kept rocking her chair until she fell off. And the other one pacing and shouting, “I want food! I want to go home!” That would be us, too. No, my kids weren’t the ones sitting quietly in their booth. My kids weren’t the ones with no-nonsense parents who kept them in their chairs. The 3 year old sprawled on the floor in front of the entrance door? Yes, that would be us. And the parents who frowned the whole time and gobbled down their ice cream without tasting it? Us too.
Of course this might have been avoided with some more careful planning. But sometimes as a mom you want to seize those sunny days and make some memories for your family. Especially when time is stretched thin. But there was no family moment happening here – and clearly it was my fault because I had been gone all day then I made plans to compensate for mommy guilt – plans that pushed us all out of our routine and went south, fast. Maybe we should have skipped the ice cream.
Later I was looking back through the pictures I took of our twins eating their ice cream. And to my surprise, and despite my selective memory, I saw my family having a good time. Our twins think ice cream cones are for big kids, so I saw them smiling and trying really hard to make them stay vertical (and not on the floor, which is the usual resting place of our ice cream cones). They enjoyed themselves. It’s all there in the pictures.
So the ice cream outing may have been worth it and my mommy guilt is put away for now. I’m making plans for the next two weeks – plans with grown-ups, plans that chase my passion for writing, and plans that involve telling other people’s stories, too. Those plans could possibly also involve a pedi… Then we may go out and get some ice cream again.
Like we did on Saturday.
Title photo credit: sxc.hu/LotusHead
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