I had the bright idea to make the short drive to a friend’s house with the two and a half year old and the six week old to attempt a sledding adventure. My husband was at home napping away a cold and I thought it would be ‘fun’ to get out for a bit. AM I CRAZY??? We drove the fifteen minutes to her house and got out, donning all the best snow gear. The baby was bundled up in a sling and the toddler was jumping around with excitement. We went down the hill ONCE on the sled and the baby started screaming just as the toddler started to cry and insist that he was all done. In utter defeat, I climbed back into the truck to have a snack with the toddler and try to pretend that I wasn’t completely disappointed in this total failure of a sledding fun day. I was about to make the decision to bail when my friend’s husband knocked on the window and said that his two older kids were coming out to play.

An hour later, after MANY sled rides down the hill for the older kids, my toddler happily playing in the snow by himself, and the baby sleeping in the sling, we decided to stop for a snack. The three kids sat on the tailgate of my truck munching cheese sticks and Hannah, the older child, looked at me with her big, bright eyes, and declared, “You are a good mommy. They are lucky to have you.”. I could have jumped for joy. God knew that was exactly what I needed to hear just then, and used this sweet child to pass the message along. Despite my earlier anger at my toddler, my frustration with the baby, and really, truthfully, my sadness of a potential failed adventure- I AM a good mom, a good wife, a good friend, a good person. Hopefully my toddler will not remember the moments of anger when I feel like smoke might be coming out of my ears. He will hopefully remember instead the snack on the tailgate with friends, the hours spent building forts, the ‘little adventures’ where we roast hot dogs and marshmallows on our pretend campfire.

I realized that day, as I was driving home after warming up with cocoa in the house with my friend and the kids, that much of what we do with our children is somehow weirdly tied into our own memories. That our expectations and disappointments often have more to do with us wanting to give our kids the experiences that we remember enjoying so much. I also realized, that even if this day HAD turned out to be a miserable failure, that I am a good mom for trying, and trying again, over and over and over, because I love my kids, and I want them to have every opportunity for fun and adventure. Even if they don’t enjoy it as much as I think they should, they will be better people for having the experience, and not sitting at home watching the tele instead…..