One of my favorite moments this summer was when I decided to take my niece and nephew on a picnic near our home. Mackenzie (the niece) and I plopped baby Boe (the nephew) into his stroller, and off we went for a wonderful time of bonding.
Well, actually, it wasn’t as idyllic as that.
First I had to figure out how to get the stroller unfolded. Then I had to get a wiggling Boe into a stroller that didn’t want to buckle. After I got Boe buckled, I had to get him unbuckled when I realized I’d left some of the things we needed for the picnic inside. Once I got both Boe and the things we needed for the picnic, I had to convince Mackenzie that yes, she did actually want to go on this picnic with us, and yes, we were going to have a good time, and they were going to like it, because we were going to bond, gosh darn it!
Not only did a picnic sound like fun as a way for the three of us to spend time together, but I’d also unofficially put “trips to The Tree” on my Colorado Bucket List. “The Tree” will make more sense here in a little bit when I post some pictures, but for now suffice it to say walks to The Tree make up some of my favorite childhood memories and will be one of the greatest things I miss living out here.
After a few minutes of walking, Mackenzie complaining dramatically that it’s “Too HOT for a walk,” and Auntie Lizzie lovingly reassuring her, “You’re fine, keep walking, you’re gonna like this because we’re bonding,” I think everyone did actually start to have a good time.
Seemingly against all odds, I personally had a wonderful time from start to finish. And who knows–maybe that was because I was so determined to have a good time. But I have to tell you in all honesty: I am so blessed. And I am so thankful for the crazy, beautiful imperfection that is grumpy nieces and wrestling babies and a life that isn’t just about the destination, but the laughs along the way. And boy, do I love those two pieces of my heart! I wouldn’t want it any other way.
The walk to The Tree is absolutely gorgeous in the summer, and I was thoroughly enjoying soaking in the rays from the sun and the smiles of my niece and nephew as Kenzie ran ahead of the stroller and then back to tickle Boe’s feet. For me, the moment couldn’t have been anymore perfect.
We were in for another surprise though once we actually got to The Tree.
“Alrighty, kiddos, we are here!” I announced proudly, clapping my hands and turning to unbuckle Boe.
“Um…Lizzie,” Mackenzie said.
“Kenzie, will you grab the blanket for me and spread it out?”
“There’s no grass.”
Slowly swiveling around, I tried to prepare myself for what I might see. And what I saw, people… was a desert. A barren wasteland with just one or two tiny patches of spiky grass here and there. I had to struggle not to laugh.
Of course, grass! Why hadn’t I thought of it?! You need soft, cushy green grass to sit on for a picnic! What was I going to do, demand my niece and baby nephew sit on spiky grass and/or hard, dirt-packed ground for a bonding experience I’d forced upon them in order for us to have a relaxing, enjoyable picnic while our butts turned to stone?
Why, absolutely! What kind of aunt would I be if I didn’t?!
“It’s perfectly all right, Kenzie. We will make it work!”
Although Kenzie looked doubtful, we did manage to somewhat enjoy the picnic in between readjusting our sore butts and trying to keep Boe from crawling away and staying put on our one little patch of blanket paradise.
Was it crazy? Absolutely. But was it a memory I’ll cherish forever? You’d better believe it.
But now for some of the pictures I promised:
At the end of the day, it may have been slightly imperfect. It may have even been less than idyllic.
But it was still a perfect day to have a picnic.