Good grief! We should have just taken the car.
It was supposed to be a leisurely bike trip. We were vacationing in paradise for heaven’s sake!
But for some reason, family fun is rarely easy for us. We possess this uncanny ability to take seemingly enjoyable activities and turn them into mechanisms of torture.
Last week, we took a little getaway to Sanibel Island. The hotel where we were staying had free bike rentals. My husband thought it would be fun to bike to a beachside restaurant for lunch one day.
The first trauma occurred when Micah realized the tennis shoes he brought hurt his feet.
Micah: My feet will hurt the whole time! Do I have to go?
Mike (husband): It’s only a short trip. Yes, you have to go.
The next near-disaster occurred when Molly was told she HAD to wear a bike helmet, even though she had just spent an hour scrunching her hair.
After I assured her that I’d bring a brush so she could do hair repair at the restaurant, we were able to proceed.
Once we hit the bike path, I thought we were home free. The sun was shining, the wind was at our backs. What could go wrong now?
Oh, yeah, I forgot to factor in the possibility of Molly running down a pedestrian.
After determining all parties were okay, we soldiered onward.
And on, and on and on and on …. Apparently, nearly nothing is open on Sunday in Sanibel. A six-block ride suddenly became two miles … in 90-degree heat.
Here’s where the shoes began to become an issue.
Micah: My feet hurt so bad!
Me: Come on, Micah. It’s just a little further. It IS just a little further, RIGHT, Mike?
Mike: Okay, YOU lead the way. We’ll stop where you want to stop.
I wanted to stop about a mile ago, when my thighs began loudly reminding me of how pitifully out-of-shape I am.
A short while later. Micah pulls to the side. I--- can’t --- keep --- going --- too --- hot --- feeling --- sick.
Mike and Molly, who had passed us, doubled back around.
Mike: There’s a convenience store just ahead. We’ll get some Gatorade.
Partially hydrated and driven by ravenous hunger, we took back to the open road.
Just ahead, we saw an eating establishment. Cars in the parking lot! YES!!
Molly brushed her hair. Color had returned to Micah’s face. Disaster averted.
Despite the obstacles, I always think there’s value in our “torturous” journeys. If nothing else it teaches us all perseverance and man, do we have some good stories.
After all, if we’d have driven, do you think we’d be talking about "that time we drove to lunch in Sanibel” a few years from now?
There are times in parenting when I’ve taken the path of least resistance. Given up when I should have stood firm. Veered off the path to avoid conflict, pain, inconvenience, chaos, disappointment.
Sure, there’s a time for compromise and grace. But sometimes, you have to set a course and keep on pedaling despite the resistance along the way. Because you know something nourishing and beneficial awaits them at the end.
Taking the road less traveled often makes me unpopular. But in parenting, it also makes all the difference.
Direct your children onto the right path,and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6 (New Living Translation)