Annie - at theatre rehearsal
Charlie - at soccer practice
Mike - running the carpool between the two
Robbie - outside playing with friends
Me - Lounging on the couch, firing up the DVR to watch the first episode of Next Food Network Star.
I was just settling in, beginning to size up the contestants when the back door flung open and Robbie ran in.
"Mom, can we go to the park?"
What I wanted to say: "What? I just started my show. The house is quiet and I was ready to be quiet in it."
What I did say: "Why do you want to do that?"
"Because it's fun. And my friends are going."
I took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. I knew what I wanted to do, but Robbie never wants to go outside, let alone leave the homestead. So I hit the pause button on my show and said, "Sure."
Twenty minutes later at the park, Robbie had climbed and slid and teetered and swung. And his friends were nowhere to be found. So I suggested we take the nature trail -- which is really a paved path -- and walk over by the creek.
Silly me. I thought he'd be content looking at the creek from the path. Nope, we had to go down to the bank. I thought he would be content tossing rocks into the water. Nope. "Mom, can I get in the water?"
The water level was low and the hope in his voice was high. So this is how we spent the next hour: