My friend Kacey makes me brave. I am not sure I have ever had a friend like her. She invited the kids and I to her family's lake house on a Wednesday a few weeks ago for an overnight stay. I took her up on it, and made my first ever roadtrip with just the kids. For an overnight stay in a place that I knew would be wonderful but that I had never been to. Oh, and our husbands were obviously working so it was 2 mamas and 5 kids under 4 years old.
Can I be honest and just say I was nervous? Nervous that my kids would behave awfully. That I would not be able to be the kind of considerate houseguest I desire to be, for the 3 kids I have that equal 1 huge tornado. Mostly I was worried that something would happen and Kacey would regret having invited us, or worse, not enjoy us as much after spending that kind of concentrated time together. This kind of nervousness translates to overpacking, if you're like me. I tried to think of every worst case scenario and was prepared for it, had 3 changes of clothes for it, had batteries for it, a few creams for it, you name it.
The 1 1/2 hour trip went perfectly well. The 24 hours or so that we spent together at Lake Geneva was so much fun. It was also full of typical things like whining, temper tantrums, refusals to eat, and meltdowns when we tried to get the kids to walk up a very steep hill. But we are 2 girls in the same boat - and we love each other's kids like we love our own. And once we finally got all of our kids to bed, we had the best time talking until way past our own bedtimes. Even if we hadn't had a bit of fun (but we did!) or the kids had been awful (they weren't) or we decided never to do it again (I was invited back the day we left! woo hoo!), that one conversation late into the night was worth all the effort we made to take the trip.
I get a little excited to do ridiculous things like put the kids in matching pj's... Kacey thinks it's fun too, or just puts up with me. Either way, it works and then we get pictures like these!
Fal-Fal and Elle-Belle
So you can't even tell Kacey is in her 3rd trimester by this picture, can you!? What a lucky, tiny gal. ;)
The littlest ones' pj's said "sassy like mom". We got a good laugh out of that since we could only read the "mom" part when we purchased them.
This picture is just before starting a rousing rendition of "We're Goin' To Kentucky", and each time through Kacey would name a different child to "shake it shake it shake it, shake it if you can!". The kids went crazy for this little game. And my kids still want to sing it every day - even Maddie claps along and shakes it. Kacey is a really fun mom. I was just going to throw my kids in bed and she was all, "How about a game before bedtime!?"
We started to push it with Maddie's bedtime. She let us know by trying to put herself to sleep on the hardwoods.
We had such a fun day, and not a great night of sleep. I didn't think any of my 3 kids would be ok sleeping in a room without me in it, and since Rob wasn't with us, I decided to sleep us all in one room even though there was more space for us to use. (In retrospect, I would do this differently.) Robbie and Ellie kept each other from falling asleep, and once they finally gave in to sleep, Maddie's random waking through the night would wake the other 2 up as well. I clocked about 2 hours of sleep that night between all 3 of them taking turns being awake, and then we called it a night and got up for the day around 5:30 or 6am looking like this...
I brought Cheerios down for them to munch on so that we wouldn't wake up the Lake girls, but soon enough everyone was awake. We had an easy breakfast and I decided that it would be best to head out with my kids before lunch time so that I could nap them all at home and catch up on sleep myself at the same time. We had to leave behind fun plans to go to the beach for another trip, and the kids were all bummed to part ways.
Luckily we live 4 blocks from each other back home!
So now you see a little bit of why Kacey makes me brave. Sometimes, as moms, we can find within ourselves enough courage to try new things we think might be hard or even disastrous with our small children. Other times, a friend creates a safe space when we don't have enough courage on our own, so that we are free to try something new without fear of failure or judgement, but with support and encouragement. I used to think that strength and courage only came from within myself.
Thanks, Kacey, for teaching me that it can be found in friendship, and is something we can actually share with others.