Monday, March 6, 2017

How to Make the Best of Things: My Kids and Some Rock Chucks

First off, I've been MIA because we had a family emergency last week.  I don't want to give the details other than to say that The Scribe and I drove from Idaho to Spokane, Washington--and back again--in a matter of three days.  As we drove home, The Scribe looked at me and said, "That was a scary thing that happened, but this trip has been good for us.  Even when we're having a hard time, I still end up having fun with you."
    "I love you, sweetheart," I said.  She's growing into such an amazing person, and has changed so much in the last year.  In fact, her statement reminded me of an experience we had last spring, when things were quite different....
    
     The kids were really going stir-crazy after I got home from work.  Mike was working the swing shift, and I struggled thinking of something fun the kids and I could do.
    "I want to hang out with friends," The Scribe said.
    "I want us to spend time together today....  Why don't we go to the park!" I suddenly interjected.
    The Hippie, Zombie, and Dr. Jones were all very excited, but The Scribe folded her arms.  "Fine. But I'm not gonna have fun."
    We drove to the park, and I kept hoping something epic would happen so The Scribe would remember how fun our family is.  As we drove to the park, we went under a huge bridge, past a rail yard, and then next to a field where an entire army of rock chucks rested on the grass, sleeping in the sun.  Ya know, our state is so strange--only in our little town in Idaho would you come home from work to find deer bedded down in your front yard, and see a field of rock chucks, sleeping out in the open for days.  
    Anyway, about a half-mile past the sunning rock chucks, we arrived at the park.  The Scribe still insisted this was the worst idea ever, saying, "I'm too old for this. Parks are for little kids.  Why are we here? The slide is whimpy."  
    Even though my other kids had a ball, I wanted EVERYONE to have fun. I was about to give up on "family time" when a thought hit me.  I could make this fun--I just had to.   
    "Hey kids."  I called everyone closer.  My three youngest bounded over, and The Scribe lumbered forward.  "I want to go on a top-secret mission."  Their eyes widened, and even The Scribe seemed a little less bored.  "But if we're going to do this, I need everyone to be as quiet as possible."
    "Okay?" The Hippie said.  "What are we doing, Mom?"
    "You'll see.  Now follow me--but be quiet!"
    So we went a half-mile up the road.  I made it really silly, running to hide behind trees, humming the "Missions Impossible Theme Song," constantly motioning to the kids as if we were spies.
    They had no idea what we were about to do, until we arrived at the edge of some trees.  We peered around the largest tree and studied the field where the rock chucks sunned, still sleeping contently.
    "Okay, kids.  If we're gonna pull this off, we need to be super quiet.  Step softly.  Don't even breathe loud.  And for crying out loud, no sneezing!  I want us to all tip-toe into the very middle of those rock chucks, and on the count of three, we're going to scream like we're dying."
    At this point, all of the kids lit with excitement--even The Scribe.
    "Mama?" Dr. Jones, who was six at the time, said.  "Won't we wake them up before we get over there?"
    "Not if we're very, very quiet!  Look how tired they are."
    So we tip-toed.  And I should've known they'd be good at this--all the times they've sneaked candy from the pantry had paid off!  
    We made it in, weaving amongst dozens of sleeping rock chucks. One must have heard us because it rolled over slightly and kicked its leg high in the air.
    We all held our breath.  I've never been in a ambush before, but it's crazy-awesome!!!  Just thinking that if even one of them sounded their squeaky alarm, the plan would be a bust!
    But after careful navigation, and all of us holding hands in a trail of stealth, we made it to the center.
    "On three," I mouthed to my four kids, holding up one finger.  
    A rock chuck on the hill must have finally heard us because he began rolling the rubbing his eyes with his furry, little paws.  
    "One, two, three."  I held up three fingers, and we all took a deep breath. 
    We screamed so loud then.  "Ahhhhhh!!!!"  Birds flew from the trees, the whistle from a nearby train sounded like northin', and all of our faces were Christmas--red.    
    That's when the rock chucks began freaking out.  They jumped up, looking around with wide eyes, and vibrating noses.  They ran into each other.  They tripped on twigs.  They squeaked and squealed.  One, looking behind itself, almost ran into my leg--and I freaked out.  I'd wanted to scare the chucks, not have one touch me!
    In a matter of moments, the rock chucks had cleared the field, and we had no idea where all of them were hiding. 
    We sauntered back to the park, all of us laughing and smiling.  The rest of the day was gravy, and we had the most amazing time back at the park, talking about different things we'd noticed about the rock chucks, and how scared all of us had been while standing in the middle of them.
    "I thought they might attack," The Scribe said, laughing.  "And when that one almost touched you, Mom--that was the best!"
    "And I thought we'd wake them up for sure before we screamed," The Hippie said.
    "And I almost stepped on one!" Dr. Jones said.
    "Me too." My Zombie nodded, very seriously.  "That was terrifying.  I saw it later.  It had big yellow teeth!"
    The next day on the way to the grocery store, the kids and I took the desolate back road, and passed the rock chuck field again.  They were all out sunning again, but this time I spotted three guards, sitting--watching in case a mother and her four kids decided to stop by and scream in the center of them, just for fun.