I have a secret. Okay, it's not so much a secret as it is a tool. My number one tool.
I have five kids. Five. Energetic. Kids.
Sometimes they get downright snippy with each other and I wonder how we go from a loving family to the breakfast scene in Cheaper by the Dozen. Bonnie Hunt is masterful. "Okay. Mom's losing it!"
Some days nothing I do has any effect. On those days I feel desperate. I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I feel like we're all going to end up regretting what happens on those days.
We're outdoorsy people. We love being up in the woods or at the beach or in the park or anywhere really. Sometimes we almost quit before we quite make it there. A few weeks ago we had one of those days.
We had told the kids we were going for a hike. The morning was awful. Fighting, crying, screaming, terrorizing. We almost bagged the whole plan because we couldn't even get them out the door in under 30 minutes. I could feel my remaining hair falling out.
We persevered. And I've never been more grateful.
Our feet touched down on that mountain soil and it was magical.
I kid you not, in less than ten minutes my kids were smiling. They were helping each other not to get hit in the face by branches in the denser areas. (My husband is a walking GPS so we pretty much shoot from the hip. Unless you want to be eaten by mountain lions, I wouldn't recommend this route unless you have one of those in your family.) The kids were suddenly chit chatty. And they even liked their parents again. They wanted to discuss everything about the wonder of God's creations. And when I say everything, that's exactly what I mean.
Thank you free range cattle for giving the boys the opportunity to explain to their sisters how different your poop is from elk and deer.
Life was good again. We spent time together, we learned, we grew, and we were happy to do it. Fresh air is one of the secrets to a happy family life. I firmly believe that. I also believe that hiking up and down hills for 3 miles works the edginess right out of children and adults alike. In a matter of a few hours we were all each other's best friends again.