An Ode to Kindness

So I have a thing about traveling alone with my kids.  Anxiety, hyperventilation, a deep need to surgically attach six more arms (leaving the original two free for covering my face and weeping).  The thing is, the kids outnumber me.  Traveling is outside of the routine and, let me tell you, the routine is not to be screwed with.  They go completely batshit insane when someone comes to visit or we go to visit someone, acting like psychotic puppies obsessed with getting attention.  They may or may not eat a damned thing, no matter if they'd beg for it at home.  They push the boundaries more often, because the boundaries are all new and fuzzy. 

I should clarify that it's not all bad.  There are also awesome new experiences.  Their joy is exponentially bigger.  Their imaginations are broadened.  They love having adventures.  They love adding people to their tribe.  They love getting to stay up late and watch cartoons in bed.  They really love getting out of the house.  And out of the routine.  You know, the one we need.

Because of all these things, the good and the bad, I try to take them places.  I need to learn to deal with my crazy brain rather than letting it control me, and they need to learn to function like non-rabid human beings outside of their personal bubbles.  This past week, friends invited us to stay with them at their beautiful home on a lake for a few days and I took them up on it.  I'm proud to say (a) we left it standing (there is that one dent in the wood floor the 4-year-old made with a prized medallion, which was mortifying, but we did not technically knock the house down) and (b) I didn't cry even once.  Oh, and (c) we had a really, really, really amazing time.  Like, the kind of amazing that you keep talking about to your spouse for days even though he probably wants you to actually put a sock in it, seriously.  The kind of amazing that you'll all remember for yeeeeeeeears and use as a bar for all other trips of the same ilk.  The kind of amazing that leaves you with a great big box of homemade cookies and deeply treasured pink hats won at the arcade that will fall to pieces before anyone will dare throw them away.

The main reason I didn't have a meltdown was our hosts.  They were genuinely the kindest, most patient people on the planet.  They have a child, but she's grown and moved out, so my fear of the hurricane that is my herd completely overwhelming them was high.  If they batted any eyes, they didn't let me see it.  They were beyond kind and generous (and patient), but they also didn't let the kids run roughshod.  I didn't feel judged or awkward in the least, even when I had to drag small bodies outside for stern talks. 

I say all that to say this:  I know I'm not doing everything right.  I know I have things to work on.  I know my kids do, too.  I know my hosts know this stuff, too.  But in their acceptance of us, good and bad, without any caveats, they gave me the confidence to keep taking my kids out into the world and they gave my kids a metric ton of love that makes their world better.


  1. What you forgot to add was that we were allowed a sweet few days of surrogate grandparenting for which we remain profoundly grateful. Dent in the floor? Pish. No compound fractures. No profuse bleeding. We want you all back - the sooner, the better. Many hearts added here.


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