Arsenic hour approaches
By late afternoon, small boys are often weary, unsettled and more than a bit querulous. The day has been a long adventure, but tiredness has hit hard. And so it was with the two small boys in the back seat of my car.
It was not quite 'arsenic hour', that time of day when children are at their most demanding and mothers are desperately trying to focus on meal preparations, but it wasn't far off. So the idea of McDonald's drive-through for hot chips followed by a play in the park was a brainwave.
The two boys kicked their feet with excitement and even waited with a semblance of patience as we joined the slow-moving queue. Then, fortiﬁed with a ﬁstful of slightly limp chips, we headed for the park.
At this time of day, the afternoon sun was softly sieved by the circling bushes and a cool breeze fanned the ﬂushed faces of the boys. There was an almost audible sigh. I settled the boys in the boat swing and they seemed content to swing gently while mindlessly reaching out a limp hand for more chips.
I was suddenly aware that we had been joined by another youngster, equally tired and demanding. A ﬂedgling magpie settled noisily on the nearby fencing and called impatiently to its parents.
I smiled sympathetically at the adult magpies and tossed them a french fry. Instantly the demanding young one ﬂuffed out its feathers, squawked, and opened its beak for food. The chip looked like a strangely shaped, golden worm as the parent thrust it down the throat of the magpie baby. But it seemed to enjoy it...ahh, the universal appeal of McDonald's french fries.
There was welcome silence at that park for one beautiful moment. The magpies and I shared a glance, almost a smile, of common understanding and relief. And then the kids.. all of them..interrupted for more chips.
Some days, with all the best intentions and all the best planning, just do not go well. It was like that with my grandsons. And there may be similar days for you.
Maybe your kids are tired and cranky. It may be that you are overtired and just feel like you're jumping through the hoops. Even the weather can contribute. An overly hot and steamy day will drain everyone's energy.
On days like this, you need to accept that you'll need to go with the flow. Be flexible. Your ideas and best laid plans might just have to be put aside and you need to look for a stress-free alternative activity.... perhaps even french fries at the local park. (Yes, I know it wasn't the most healthy afternoon snack.)
But, you can still enjoy the moment. It might not be the type of day you had hoped and planned for but it can still be an afternoon, a day maybe, that you and your kids will enjoy... and probably remember as a wonderful moment with mum, or grandma. Go for a walk- spend some time at the playground- have a picnic in your backyard- fill buckets with water and go fishing for small toys with ladles or tongs- be spontaneous!
Let's enjoy these small moments, yes, even these moments that don't begin so well, and make them so beautiful that they will be worth remembering.
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I've decided to accept the 31Day blogging challenge with my own focus for the month: falling in love with small moments.