The alternate title to this post might be, "The antithesis of peace like a river."
Because *I* didn't want to go inner tubing on the last day of our vacation. I wanted to go white water rafting. Or kayaking, or something a bit more exciting that would require more physical exertion than floating down a sleepy river in a tube for half the day. And yes, maybe I was acting juvenile about it but well, there's really no good excuse. Sometimes I'm just inexplicably cranky.
At my lowest point, I said to my family (all of whom were excited about our inner tubing non-adventure), "What about MY wants? I'm tired of thinking about YOUR wants every day. I think it's high time you start thinking about what you can do to bring me joy once in a while. In fact, before you do anything, you should ask yourself, 'Will this make my mother/wife happy? Will this make her smile?' If the answer is no, than don't do it." My husband chuckled because he thought I had made a funny joke. Except it wasn't really a joke.
I think part of my frustration was that we were supposed to go rafting, but the weather was ominous with a chance of thunderstorms, so when given the option to cancel - we took it. Then we began our drive home and of course the sky cleared up to a beautiful blue and we decided that we'd just make our third annual stop at Zaloo's. We've had great experiences here before, but today? Well, I just wanted something more adventurous.
As we were floating along, with kids splashing every which way and making all kinds of loud noises that I would have preferred not to hear, our flotilla started to head in to some brush along the river bank. One by one, kids were untying themselves so they could float solo, until the only two tubes that were still joined were mine and Carolyn's. But when we sunk deeper in to the brush, I told my daughter to start paddling and kicking with her feet. When she wouldn't do it, I untied my inner tube and as I floated off I said, "I can't help you if you aren't at least willing to exert an effort yourself." Then I got caught in a current and whisked away from everyone. As I accelerated downstream, I yelled back, "KICK YOUR FEET!" but instead of kicking, she scowled at me and said, "YOU ARE A MEAN MOM!" And yes, sometimes I suppose I am.
Thank goodness when I'm not firing on all compassionate cylinders, Charlie is - and he quickly got out of his inner tube, waded up the river and chivalrously rescued his daughter, while I continued to float downstream and savor what felt like the first peace and quiet I'd experienced on the entire vacation.
And it was good.