This is a phrase I find myself repeating often: "If you would have been here (fill in the blank) wouldn't have happened."
It is October. Time for pumpkins, scarecrows, corn mazes, candy, and costumes. I am feeling the need to do whatever we can that is "local" while we still live here. We already missed the haunted trail because when DrH came home he was too tired to do anything, and I didn't want to take them by myself. My son is old enough that he knows what is happening and wants to do it all. Monday the DrH thought he would be finished early and we could go as a family to the local pumpkin patch. This place isn't so much about the pumpkins as it is about selling you admission to their pumpkin fun and sell you over-priced pumpkin inspired foods. That's OK... you see this will be our last visit, for more than one reason.
Monday came and DrH isn't going to make it. It is now my responsibility to 1) break their kids hearts and say we aren't going, or 2) Dad can't come, but let's go anyway. I choose option 2. Especially after the previous week when we were going to do the trail and didn't. I couldn't disappoint them again, even if that meant I would be taking them alone.
I hate always being the pessimist in situations like these. We get to the pumpkin patch and find a place to park. It is packed because it is a gorgeous day, no jackets needed, and everyone had the same idea. Within the first few steps it is obvious that this is going to be slow going. You see I have my four kids. I am not about to wear my 16 lb. baby all over so I bring the stroller. But the path is covered in gravel. Have you ever tried to push a stroller through gravel? It is nearly impossible. We finally make it, and decide to start with a snack.
Being the great mom that I am, we went directly to the pumpkin patch after my son came home from school so we could stay until it closed (because we are going to pay admission - we are going to use it). That meant we didn't get an afternoon snack. Inside we spend $10 on 5 pumpkin donuts (I was going to bring one home for DrH), 1 small apple cider, and 1 small popcorn. See what I mean about over-priced! Then we make our way outside where we fork over $14 dollars to meander around their pumpkin fun.
I wish it were meandering, it was more like plowing. I don't think the wheels on the stroller were even able to spin. We weren't going anywhere fast. At this point it is about 4:15 and the patch closes at 6:00. The plan was on our way out to make another stop at the food court and see what else we needed, because the food is really the only reason I am interested in the pumpkin patch at all. I'm not about to buy a pumpkin there!
The kids are having a great time. They had a huge trampoline like thing, a mountain slide, hay castle, little cute play houses, etc. Perfect activities for my 6, 5, and 3 year-old. I met some nice moms in the process and talked to one of them while our kids ran around. After we were done talking I took some pictures, and then realize I haven't seen my 3 year-old in a while. She usually plays with her 5 year-old sister. I ask where she is, nobody knows. I am stuck. Do I leave my 3 other children including a baby so I can find one of them? What do I do? I tell my 6 year old to sit "right there" and not to leave. Don't let your sister leave, and stay with this stroller.
Now I am starting to panic. We are at the far end of the play area, and adjacent to where we are is a corn maze. I have paralyzing thoughts of my 3 year-old lost in the corn maze. I am calling her name, looking everywhere when a nice woman says are you looking for a little girl? Yes! They have her in the gift shop, they have been announcing her name over the loud-speaker. Well, that speaker isn't very loud because I didn't hear it!
Luckily, the other three were still in my line of sight and didn't have to wait long. I gather them up and we make the slow track THROUGH THE GRAVEL to the gift shop. And here is where things really turn south. As I approach the gift shop the door opens and a woman looks at me, my lost daughter runs out, and the woman says "didn't you miss her"? Are you kidding me! I looked directly at her and said, yes, I did. She was supposed to be playing with her sister and I thought she was in the little play houses. And I no one can hear the loud speaker over there! I still don't know how long she was gone. It may have been as long as 30 minutes. I felt terrible.
And that's when I thought to myself: If you would have been here, this never would have happened! What was I thinking taking 4 small children to a crazy place like this! I can't keep track of them, especially when that stupid gravel made it all but impossible to stay near them, or keep up with them. Thankfully, she was found. Thankfully, she wasn't in the corn fields.
That sad part is, in the end I wasn't worried so much about losing her as I was about having people think I was a bad mother. I was embarrassed and we marched right out, and can't go back again.
Then I found myself being mad at DrH. He wasn't even there... and that's why I was mad. If he had been there we would have had two sets of eyes watching our kids. Between the two of us, we would have had them all covered and accounted for. If he had been there, I wouldn't have been distracted talking. If he had been there we could have moved more easily (that darn stroller). If he had been there people wouldn't have been looking at me like maybe I shouldn't have all these kids. Four looks like a lot when you lose one of them. If only he would have been there.