Monday, June 10, 2013

A Bit Off

"Do you need to make out?," JT asked.

"What?," I asked a little surprised and confused.

"What are you talking about?," laughed Lucy.

"You know, do you need to make out or make it out," he said getting flustered.  "I mean do you need to work out, oh I don't know, I mean get it out.  You know, cry and stuff."

"Ohhhh, you mean let it out," I responded.  And we all laughed a little.  

I did need to let it out and cry and stuff.  My seven year old was exactly right.  He knew what I needed even if he was a little off with what he called it.

"Go ahead mommy, make it out," said Lucy and we all laughed while I cried a little.

This whole weekend was about being just a little off.

It started on Friday afternoon after I loaded up the minivan with suitcases and kids for what Wade called our "field trip."  He calls any trip a field trip.  This one was to Peyton's baseball tournament three hours away.  A field trip without Tim because he had to work.  

We hit the road with one mama, four kids and hopes of adventures and indoor hotel swimming pools.

Once we arrived at the Holiday Inn Express the real adventure began.

"Now this is living," exclaimed Lucy when she saw the room.  It doesn't take much to impress this princess and for that I am grateful.

Honestly, for an "express" hotel it really was quite nice.  Within minutes however we promptly made the somewhat fancy space our own.  It went from pretty and clean to looking like John Candy's bathroom in Planes, Trains & Automobiles.  If you don't get that reference, just know it's very, very messy and slightly disgusting.  

After jumping on beds and trashing our room, we made our way down to the much anticipated indoor pool which was awesomely in the shape of our great state of Michigan.  It did not disappoint.

Most of the parents of the other baseball players were hanging out together.  Most of them didn't have younger kids.  Most of them had their spouse with them to help out.  I felt all kinds of insecure--bad because I wasn't with the parent group; nervous because I'm pretty handy behind a computer screen but not the best with social expectations of any kind in real life; worried that people would mistake my nervousness for bitchiness because um, that has happened just a million times before; and a little bit like a helicopter parent because I was having issues with giving my oldest, my 11-year-old some freedom/independence to roam the hotel.  But then Wade splashed me and JT wanted me to watch his canon ball and Lucy was conducting a very important mermaid naming ceremony and you know all that.  So, I just played in what my kids called the "most awesome-est pool ever."

The next morning after breakfast we made our way to the first game of the tournament.  I read the directions wrong.  I made a wrong turn and another and another.  We were late.  I was getting tense. I was saying words that I normally reserve for when the kids are in bed or one of them breaks their arm.

"Shit, where are we, sorry kids, I shouldn't say that word, never say that word," I repeated with a variety of swear words while we searched for the field.

"There it is!," one of the kids shouted as I passed by it swearing.

I did a U-turn.  "Oh shit I think, that was illegal," I said.

"You crossed the law!," screamed JT.  "I am telling Daddy and your Dad."

Whatever.  We were finally at the field.  Peyton ran to join his team.  Then my phone rang.  It was the coach telling me I had been given the name of the wrong field.  It turns out I was the only one that had been given the name of the wrong field.  For a minute it felt like a cruel teenager joke or a plot line in one of those Sweet Valley High books I read a billion years ago.  Tell the awkward girl the wrong party and watch her show up alone. Bwahahaha!  But of course that wasn't the case here. (right?)  We got directions and sped in the right direction. (This is the moment in the story where JT asked if I needed to make out.)

"You can say a swear word if you want to," I told Peyton who was sitting in the front seat next to me.  "Because this stinks and I know you are feeling all kinds of mad and frustrated and nervous."

"Yeah, this," he said and looked out the window.  

I sighed with relief that he felt so horrible swearing and didn't bust out with "why can't you find the F&#*ing baseball field mom!"  

We made it to the game a minute after it started it and they won.  We were a bit off, but it worked out.

Now however, I wasn't just the awkward, overwhelmed mom, I was the lost one who can't get her sh*t together.  Waaaa. A label/identity I know all too well.

We watched more baseball.  We played.  We went swimming again.  We played games.  We jumped on the beds some more.  
Lucy and Wade doing their thang.
And yes, the game is going on BEHIND them. 

And then it was dinner time and time for more off-ness.  Over the last few years, since JT was diagnosed with Celiac disease, we've gotten used to living gluten free in a gluten world.  But there are still moments when quite frankly it sucks (not to steal Peyton's swear word or anything).  Moments where everywhere you look people are eating pizza and cookies and hot dogs with buns and pasta.  Moments where every restaurant is full of gluten or cross contamination fears.  (JT has even a a few crumbs of gluten and he has intense, crippling stomach pain for hours.)  So, while the other baseball families went out to dinner or hung out at a cookout, I was determined to find food for my boy.
I came prepared with gluten free food.
I had bread for a million peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I sent Peyton to eat with a buddy on the team and his family.  The rest of us went into town where we not only found food but we found a street festival.  A festival with crowds of people and a band. I personally believe a good band outside will cure just about any bad feeling, it's one of my favorite things in life.  So is a crowd.

Lucy was digging the vibe and the people watching too.

I don't like being a part of a crowd or leading a crowd, but getting lost in a crowd? Oh yeah, that's my scene.  We danced in the street to the band that had a banjo player and bongo drum player, so you know they were awesome.  

Overall, it was a great field trip.  Even with the making out and crossing the law and Sweet Valley High flashback moments and getting lost and hating Celiac and feeling awkward and lost.  
It was all a bit off, but it worked out.

The west coast of Michigan is pretty sweet.
Holland is a cool little town and Saugatuck is awesome (and home to an ice cream shop with gluten free cones!!!!).

But we're also pretty glad to be back.  Back to our own little crowd that is always a bit off, but it works (for us anyway).


  1. I <3 Saugatuck! And yes, street bands are pretty much the coolest thing ever. Sometimes we all just need to make it out a little so we can move on to the fun-having :)

  2. i love these posts, because they make me feel okay about not having it all together and they make me feel like i could just work it out for a minute and then be okay - such truth from that kid!

    also, is that a wonder woman skirt on lucy? if so, can i borrow it, er, where'd you find it?

    also also, i think you should put "solo road trip + 4 kids + wrong directions + street festival" on your 39 before 40 list and then cross it immediately off. YOU DID IT.

    1. I am totally adding this to my list and crossing it out! Great idea!!!!

      The skirt is a hand me down, I think from Justice. I wish we lived close enough that you could borrow it.

  3. There are SO MANY things I relate to in this post that I can't even begin to name them. So many. Just know that I am right there with you and I've been there and I know how you feel. Gosh, do I.

    1. I know you can relate to everything here...the no gluten, the four kids, the I've said before, we are living parallel lives my friend. So glad we have each other!!!