Back when my kids were small, people used to tell me to enjoy those days because the teenage years would be twice as hectic. I’m afraid I didn’t believe them. With two children born eighteen months apart, I’m afraid I spent a lot of their toddler years wishing for five minutes of peace and quiet.
Now I know what they meant. Life with two teenagers is hectic, to say the least. They’re busy and far more interested in cell phones and their friends than spending quality time with my husband and me. But every so often, everything aligns, we get a break in between work, sports, and traveling schedules—and we plan a ‘family day’.
My daughter gave these infrequent times the official name, and I have to say naming these days worked. Our scheduled family days are pretty sacred—all four of us look forward to them and have never yet tried to reschedule. This past Sunday was our most recent.
We decided to go downtown to Joe’s Crab Shack. It’s a chain restaurant with a good atmosphere. The one near us is on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. We sat outside, watched barges go by and teased our son about his current ‘it’s not serious’ girlfriend. Everyone also ate a bunch of crab. Next we shopped a little, then came home and sat outside in the backyard. My husband puts up a badminton net every spring, so he and the kids played round after round while I did my usual Sunday afternoon activity…read and nap.
So far, so good. Another successful Family Day. No arguments, no homework assignments suddenly remembered. Everyone was happy .
Until a robin decided to fly under the net. Phoebe the beagle (who previously only moved fast for ham and pizza) jumped up and caught the poor thing. The bird squawked.
Well, you can imagine what happened next.
My husband Tom started yelling and my daughter shrieked. The bird flew out. It had almost scampered away when Suzy, our miniature dachshund, did a mad dash and caught it. In no time at all, all we could see of the robin was a wing sticking out of the weiner-dog’s mouth.
Now Tom had the awful task of getting one very proud, very small dog to drop the bird without touching either her or the bird. The beagle began howling.
My daughter’s screaming reached new decibels. The neighbors on either side wandered over to see what was going on. Out came my son, who-I’ll go ahead and say it-had snuck in the house to get a break from Family Day.
All that was left of the bird were the remains, and they weren’t pretty.
Our next fun family activity involved working together to bag the bird. My son and husband started arguing. The dogs circled, wanting praise for disposing of the intruder. Tired of the hysterics, I told my daughter to go settle down inside.
After all that--well, ‘Family Day’ was officially over. It hadn’t been perfect. Or pretty. But, well, we’d been together…and it was certainly memorable. That counts for something, right?
Anyone else have a ‘family day’ activity that didn’t turn out quite like you’d hoped?