We had a lovely day. The girls woke up early so I was able to take them to get a surprise donut breakfast for Dave while he slept in. When we returned, we arranged the gift basket (filled with chocolate) on the table, along with the donuts and painting the girls had made for Father’s Day. Dave was happily surprised and we all enjoyed breakfast before heading out for a family hike. We chose a trail we had heard was great for kids – not too long or too difficult, with great views at the end. We brought a picnic lunch and ate it in a shelter overlooking a lake with beautiful mountain views. All three kids – especially Alexandra – enjoyed the climb. We spent the rest of the afternoon reading books and painting. Then early dinner and early kiddo bedtime. A perfect day to celebrate Father’s Day.
Doesn’t that sounds lovely? You may even be thinking, wow, they pulled that day off seamlessly! They have got it down.
Well. That is one version of our lovely Father’s Day. But I want to keep this space real, so here is that same story with reality woven in.
We had a lovely day. Alexandra woke up screaming at 5:30 am, as she does every day (we have no idea why), which in turn woke up Katherine and Clara. Last night I recklessly promised Katherine that she and I could get up early and go - just the two of us - to get donuts for a special Father’s Day breakfast. So when Katherine realized Clara was also awake and expecting to be included in the impending outing, she threw herself into a tantrum (“You said I could go alone with you, you said! That’s not fair! Clara will ruin it, she’ll fuss all the way up the hill, she can’t even walk all the way to the donut store!”) I’m pretty sure the neighbors could hear the chaos, so there is no way Dave slept through it, but luckily he opted to ignore it and stay in bed so as not to ruin our “surprise” breakfast plan. And Katherine eventually accepted my reckless consolation offer to take her on a different, even better special outing later in the day. So off we all went to get breakfast, minus the coffee, because I have not figured out how to safely carry two hot coffees while walking three small children through town.
Breakfast was nice, everyone was happy with their donuts, and afterwards we managed to pack up and get out the door for a hike in a record 45 minutes. We made it to the trailhead and set out with energy and high spirits. Our pace was a bit slow due to Alexandra insisting on walking too, but who am I to discourage a 16-month-old from hiking, besides, what was the rush? But about a mile in we realized the 3 miles was going to take a lot longer than the “hour” estimated in the trail guide, and that it was already 11am, and, oh, we had left our picnic lunch in the car for after the hike, because surely we’d be back by noon.
So I trudged on with the kids while Dave enjoyed a little trail run back to the car to get our lunch. He caught up to us just as we made it to the peak, and we enjoyed lunch with a scenic view overlooking the lake. Then it started to rain. It was kind of nice at first, we could hear it but not really feel it as we walked through the woods, but then it rained harder, and in the end we all got pretty wet. But still, our little hikers kept hiking, and there was only one quality Parenting101 moment when I *may* have thrown out an idle threat of abandonment (If you fall and twist your ankle we won't be able to carry you back to the car and we'll have no choice but to leave you here!) in an attempt to get Katherine to stop run-leaping down a steep, rocky section. The threat had no effect and Katherine did not fall and hurt herself.
We made it back to the car by 3pm. Crap! 3pm! We still had to do the grocery shopping and Katherine was expecting her special outing alone with me. I hastily made the grocery list in the car while Dave navigated through the downpour. Luckily the kids think the ultimate outing is accompanying me to the big grocery store (probably because we almost never take them), so grocery shopping doubled as our special outing.
And somehow, late in the afternoon, books were read, pictures were painted and dinner was made. All three kids asleep before 8pm.
It was a lovely day. We got up early, went for a hike, enjoyed a picnic, got the grocery shopping done. It was a very nice Father’s Day. But it was very real. We had to parent all day long.