A Weekend Away Reminded Me To Dance With My Children

This past weekend the kids and I packed our bags and headed to St. Petersburg for a family wedding.  The kids were thrilled to get to miss a few days of school and I was looking forward to a few days without so much running around.  I was a little scattered in the days before we left trying to wrap things up with work and get things ready.  I would be fine throwing everything into laundry baskets to make packing quick and efficient.  Since we were headed to a very nice, posh hotel I decided against it.  I can only imagine the horror on my daughters faces as the bellhop unloaded laundry baskets from the car.  I decided maybe it was time to give the kids a little more responsibility and let them each pack for themselves..   I tend to group my children in pairs.  They share rooms as a pair, they do chores as a pair, at times it seems like they always get in trouble as pairs.  There are the “older” girls, the boys, and the “little” girls. The day before we left I made each pair a precise list of what to pack.  Not quite ready to relinquish my role as “Queen of Packing”, I decided to take a quick peek into the suitcases before we left.  It took only a second before I found myself thinking maybe my directions weren’t quite specific enough. Next time I am going to write it this way: Dear Children,Please pack clothes that match and items that you didn’t find in the dirty clothes hamper.  I need each girl to pack ONE nice dress.  This means that each of you needs a dress.  I do not want to hear you say to me “no worries we will take turns wearing the dress!!  We are going to a formal wedding, which means if you pack one dress to share than one of you is going naked. I finally got everyone packed and the bags loaded.  I will never understand how a four hour trip can take ten hours.  When you have children you might as well add one hour to the car ride per child.  I don’t use a GPS because the last thing I want is one more person ordering me around.  After this trip I am seriously rethinking that.  The kids were really excited about the hotel we were going to be staying at. Thanks to the internet they got to see pictures of the beautiful hotel, the huge pool, and other amenities.  Thanks to the internet they also found out that it has a history of being haunted.  All the ghost sightings and strange things have happened on the fifth floor, room 521 to be exact.  To say they were freaking out would be an understatement.  I made a deal with them.  If they promised not to tell their younger siblings about the ghost stories, then in return I would promise them that we would not stay on the fifth floor.  I mean really, what are the odds we would end up on the fifth floor?  As luck would have it, not only did we get on the fifth floor, but we got room 519.  One room away from the haunted room.  I started laughing as the hotel clerk tells me this news.  The older ones immediately start freaking out and saying they are going to sleep in the car if we stay on the ghost floor and the little ones start crying asking me if there are really ghost.  Am I on candid camera??  A promise is a promise so I had us moved to the 3rd floor.   We spent a wonderful day relaxing by the pool and I loved every minute of watching the kids swimming and playing with their cousins.  I hate being cold so I am not a huge fan of getting into the pool so I just sat and watched.  The sun was starting to set and it was just about time to go inside and get ready for the rehersal dinner. Suddenly eleven kids start screaming and swimming towards me saying Finn is stuck. I was a little confused.  I could see Finn in the water with his head out of it. He had a paniced look on his face and was screaming “I’m stuck”.  My mind races thinking about a story I saw on 20/20 about a child getting stuck on the pool drain.  I throw my phone down and jump into the freezing water fully clothed ready to fight the drain for my son.  I swim at a speed that would put Micheal Phelps to shame to get to my baby.  That is when I realized that the water is 3 feet deep. Finn is four feet tall.  Really? Did anyone think to tell him to put his feet down and touch the ground?  With mascara running down my face I ask him why did he say he was stuck when he could have touched the ground?  He tells me he doesn’t like the way the concrete in the pool feels on his feet so he didn’t want to touch it.  You have to love these mommy moments. The wedding was beautiful and I am happy to say that everyone had something to wear.  At the reception I finally took a minute to look at my children and breathe.  The kids were out on the dance floor having a blast.  I joined them on the dance floor and took my seven year old into my arms.  Her little face lit up and she was beaming as we spun around.  As I danced with each one of them there was nothing on their faces but pure joy.  That was when it clicked.  I have been so caught up in the day to day activities and stress of life that I have forgotten to stop and dance with my children.  We arrived home with lots of happy memories.  I confess that the suitcases have not all been unpacked.  There is a still a ton of laundry that needs to be done.  But each night in the kitchen we have turned the music on and I have been dancing with my children.   

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