Daniel spent the week asking us (repeatedly, like, 5 million times) for a family outing. "Can we do something as a family?" he begged, all week long.
If you are a parent of limited means, you know dollars spent on entertainment always means fewer dollars for bills. We are always guilt-ridden about saying no so much, because we know that The McBrothas need to do more than: write on the wall with my eyeliner, get into a fistful of hair fight, or get naked and have a smush your boy parts against the window contest. As a former teacher, I know that kids learn by doing. Experiences teach children how to be productive members of a community. We wonder if our children have been deprived because of our lack of money.
Today we decided to take The McBrothas to the newly remodeled McDonald's. Our Owasso McDonald's is amazing: rock climbing wall, second story slide and a bank of video crack for the gamer babies. The boys were angels. DaddyFixIt and I spent most of the time in complete awe that the boys did not fight, bite, or cry. They both put on their shoes when we told them it was time to go...without a meltdown.
Then, in an absolute stroke of genius, DaddyFixIt decided to take Foxy Boxy II (our totally sexy, tricked out, low-riding, pigeon-poop splattered, 1996 Volvo wagon) to the car wash. I agreed to keep Adam in the car in case I needed to restrain him or hug him or cry because I couldn't console him. In addition to being Type 1 diabetic, Adam has ADHD in HD and has Sensory Processing Disorder, fancy, Doctorese for "that young 'un will lose his mind in new, crowded, or Wal-Mart-like situations." With Adam, errthang is a situation. Taking the McBrothas out in public is always sketchy because of Adam's issues. Daniel is our BIG HELPER and he agreed to help Daddy wash the car. Dando is sensitive and emotional, but when you give him a job to do; he is locked and loaded!
As Adam and I sat inside Foxy Boxy, Daddy started up the sprayer, and Adam, Mr. Most Likely to Freak Out, laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. The car wash was like The Three Stooges, The Hangover, and Richard Pryor all rolled into one. Adam had actual tears of bliss rolling down his face as he laughed when Daniel knocked on the window and sprayed the car with soap. I could hear Daniel laughing from inside the car. Daniel was laughing and jumping up and down; his cinnamon curls seem to record every giggle. It was beautiful.
After it was over, after Daddy helped Daniel click his seat belt in his big-boy booster seat, after we pulled out of the car wash and headed up Main Street towards home, Adam said, " I had fun at the car wash, Mama."
Daniel chimed in, " I had fun helping Daddy, and Adam was laughing at me spraying him with the soap gun."
I turned around and caught a glimpse of the boys looking at each other. They were both beaming. Then Adam erupted into a cotton candy fluff of laughter, and Daniel joined him.
My husband gently patted my hand. He knew I had welled up. He didn't even look at me. Had he looked, he would have sprung loose like a cracked levee. We've been through a lot of bad as a family. We are finally going through good as a family. Good makes you far more reverent as a parent after you've been sopped down in bad. We spent two dollars on a car wash that will be a million dollar memory to the McBrothas.
As The McMama, I always worry about how much my boys lack, but on this cold, blustery, winter day in Oklahoma, our boys gained an abundant experience that will last them a lifetime. As parents, we earned the priceless experience of seeing our children happy. It was an embarrassment of riches. Today, we were millionaires. Our children got a trust fund loaded with good, clean fun.