“We’re going on a mouse hunt!”  A friend and I spent yesterday morning scouring two storage rooms in my house in search of a dead rodent.

The scent had begun to permeate the air after several bouts of rain and lingering humidity that you could slice with a knife.  Well, we didn’t “catch a big one.”  No mouse.

However, we did a bit of cleaning and organizing along the way.  And I am willing to bet that the smell might go away after we removed a few open bottles of half-drank, stale beer; musty, dirty socks strewn on the floor after Bret wore them while waving his stick at fish in some river, and goodness knows what else (really, I couldn’t make a positive I.D. on some things!) that we removed from the second storage room/tie-flying room/man cave.  I may have just been smelling boy!

Later, I ventured out with the kids for the first time post-surgery, post-family, post-help.  We all did pretty well.  I am not supposed to lift the kids, or anything else heavy for that matter, so I made careful choices along the way.  We started out at McDonald’s in the play area.

Half the town and its tourists were there, so it was like a mid-summer reunion.  I ran into three friends and their kids and met another one and her kids there.  We all sat together and tried to converse above the screaming and chatter that radiated from the nearby play structure that I begrudgingly let my kids play in once every two months or so.  (Seriously, I pray that they don’t get ill every time we go there.  Does anyone ever disinfect that thing?)

We talked about Baby Kate, an infant who has strangely been missing for about a month.  And we made plans to take our kids to Michigan Adventure.  One pal told us where to get coupons, and we all lit up!

My lure to get the kids out of there worked.  I bought chocolate chip cookies when I got our lunch and stashed them in my bag.  When it was time to go, I caught Walt’s attention high above and casually suggested, “Come down and have a chocolate chip cookie.”

News spread like wild fire, and all the kids in our group came down to check out the chocolate.  Fortunately, I had purchased enough to share.

The rest of the day included mid-day nap, a trip to the children’s museum, and visits to Orchard Market and Wal-Mart.  Tuesdays are Bret’s longest days, so I was trying to kill time till he came home.

As soon as I got out of Wal-Mart, I received a text.  “Where are you?” Crap. Bret was home early, and surely (as always), he was starving.  His usual breakfast and lunch during the day — if he stops for anything at all — is a blueberry bagel with peanut butter.  And if his colleague has already swiped the only blueberry bagel that is placed daily in the lounge, he moves on.

In order to speed up the process of getting dinner, I suggested we go get something to eat.  So the kids and I picked up Bret and we went out for chimichangas.  Earlier in our Wal-Mart parking lot texting conversation, I learned he’d had a bad day.  (There have been quite a few of these over the past four months.)  I watched him slowly unwind over dinner as he explained what had happened.

Bret continued to steer us away from his day’s challenges as he had me drive past the car ferries (one had just unloaded) and then toward the beach.  We got out, shed our shoes, and walked on sticky sand to dip our toes in the cool water of Lake Michigan.  The kids, who we warned not to get their clothes wet, quickly became drenched.  No towels, no back-up clothes…Bret and I just looked at each other and smiled.

It was in those silent moments of standing in the growing tide while watching the kids chase seagulls and dig in the sand that we remembered how lucky we are.  How grateful we are.

“Are you glad we moved here?”  He seems to always ask this question when we are find ourselves in the throws of Northern Michigan’s best.  My answer last night, and always — “Yes.”

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2 Responses to Grateful

  1. Callie says:

    Tara I love reading your blog! I think every mom feels the same at times. I know I do. My husband has been having a hard time at work too and it is hard raising kids. I know I feel like pulling my hair out almost every day it seems like, and reading your blog made me stop and remember how grateful I am.
    Thank you,

  2. happiestmommies says:

    Thanks so much for your kind words, Callie. You made my day! Sometimes as mothers our worlds seem so small within the confines of children and juggling many hats. We forget that there are other moms out there experiencing the same things. We also tend to forget, as I was reminded last night, how truly fortunate we are despite any of life’s challenges. Thanks again for reading and for your comment! Now, when we will do our Santa cards this year??? 🙂 Never too early to start planning! 🙂

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