25 July 2011
A Summer Picnic
Imagine this scene: a beautiful riverbend. The water glitters in the low sun. Chirping crickets. Two little girls are
playing, splashing in the water, hopping on the rocks, laughing, their white tunics flapping in the summer breeze.
Dreamy, isn't it.
Reality went something like this:
We went biking with the family, we sometimes do that. Not as much as we'd like. But yesterday we packed our
picnic gear, I even made a pie, and off we went through the countryside into uncharted forest territory.
I, the wonderful wife that I am, complained the whole trip. No hills, honey, I can't do hills today. Ugh, a hill.
Oh man, another one. WHEN ARE WE THERE... and: I THOUGHT I SAID NO FRIGGIN HILLS.
Fe kept shouting that she is bored. Sisi cried every time I stopped to get off the bike to take a picture.
After about 30 minutes of this, we ended up finding the most beautiful place I've seen in a while. The scene
I described above. Riverbend, crickets, sun, etc. Even the girls in flowy white tops. And a dad doing some sort
of yoga on a rock, and a mother doing stretches by the shore, while the kids entertained themselves happily.
Well, that was a lovely family I would like to get to know sometime (or maybe not because I'd end up with a big
fat inferiority complex).
I took out the picnic blanket. We showed the kids the river, took off their shoes and socks... thought they'll
happily start splashing, kind of like those blonde girls with their flowy tops. Fe played for a minute, until she
stepped into mud and started whining about her feet getting muddy and ants climbing up her leg, and uargh,
this place was horrible! And that she was bored and wanted to go home immediately. And why didn't I take the
tent! And why did I make the kind of pie she doesn't like (rhubarb, yuck!), and why am I generally a quite
stupid mom. Sisi did what she's been doing best for the last few days: crying the sort of whiny cry that makes
my hair curl in frustration. Jonni, the patient soul, tried showing them birds and told them the names of all the
trees and plants, and made them look out for mermaids.
Which held their attention for maybe four minutes, and then it was back to whining.
[insert picture here of Fe pooping in the middle of the forest, with the perfect yoga family looking on in horror,
and I had no wipes.]
And so we rode our bikes back through the beautiful forest of Paloheinä and the countryside.
You'd think the day was a failure. Maybe one should never do it again?!
And precisely here is the lesson, I believe. The reason I blog.
You look at these pictures afterward and you see a day with the family. And the next year, the next week,
the next day, what you remember is a day with the family. You may have some recollection of someone whining,
maybe a little, and that your legs got sore from biking uphill, but what you remember, most of all, and what the
kids will remember, is that you spent time together as a family. You see the beauty in it. You'll remember
the river, even if it was muddy, and the forest (especially the part that became an impromptu outhouse.) You'll look
back on it, and it will have become a beautiful day in your memory.
I look back on the posts on my blog, and see it all: days with the family, one after the other, ... some good ones,
some bad ones, but family nonetheless, a big mesh of history, of pie baking, and tent building and flower picking.
The whiny moments are all in there, too. But they don't really matter. You'll forget them. Fe got stung by nettles
when we picked the wildflowers and she cried almost the whole way back home. But what I remember is the
wild flowers we picked together. That I held her and gave her kisses on her legs. And that's what she remembers, too,
down there, somewhere.
The pain you'll forget, the closeness will stay with you.
So, in the aggregate, it doesn't matter so much what you do to spend time together, it matters that you do spend time together. That's what I believe with every little corner of my heart. And that's what this blog is about, my little family history. Thank you all, for reading along, and for becoming a part of the experience, too!
Thanks, sweet Nicole, for the reminder to keep it real.
PS You will get snot on your breast when you breastfeed a baby with a runny nose.