Don’t Wear Khaki …

petting-zoo

Living in the dark and light of life and finding the miracle in each. It’s about embracing those dark days and those dirty honest moments with the faith that there is light, faith and a divine plan in all of the muck and bad feelings. It’s about remaining hopeful, kind and full of wonder through it all. I call these moments, SOUL MOMENTS. Moments when we find a way to be shaken and rattled in order to be grateful of things that might be ordinary, but are still full of wonder when you take the time to fully pay attention to and appreciate them.

We sometimes need others to share those soul moments with us so we remember that they are all around us. That the light is all around us, even when we are in pitch black darkness. So I share with you a moment of darkness, mentally and emotionally as a woman, wife and mother but was able to grasp that ray of light in my soul moments that were laid out before me.

So on this particular day my dark and light were these feelings:

Dark = ordinary = boring = khaki = forgettable loser

While my light was: Light = bright = bold = hero with a legacy

Since I know of you all probably have visited such a place of where I came to meet my darkness, let me paint a picture for you. A local barnyard type of viewing and petting zoo. Think ducks, pigs, goats, ponies, owls, bunnies, gift shop and picnic area within an enclosed space that your children cannot escape from. For this piece of storytelling we will call this place ABC ZOO. Let me state first, since many of you are probably petting zoo lovers, that I am not a hater of ABC Zoo and do own a membership to the so-called ABC Zoo…

HOWEVER …. On this particular Saturday I was not an ABC lover. Since the moment I woke up it was playing out to be a dark day … the weekend before I had been in Chicago with JUST my husband for four wonderful adult days where I did what I wanted, when I wanted while I wore adult clothes while eating adult food while doing adult things with my adult husband. But then this adult came back to reality on a Sunday afternoon and  jumped right into a week of VBS, dance classes and giving all of myself to everyone else. So when my eyes popped open that morning I was less than enthused to pack up my clan and head to the zoo. I don’t make a habit of hanging out there on the weekends, but my eldest Braxton was a founder of the Pokemon craze and had been asking to hit up the Pokemon Go stops at the zoo all week. I decided that making my husband suffer along with me would be a good soul moment for him, so we had decided on Saturday morning for a Pokemon pit stop.

When we arrived it started to drizzle which always makes me and my kids happy … said no one ever. When we got through the entrance we immediately logged into the App to find Pokemon for our eldest. This is where everything went downhill for me.

The GPS of the damn app wouldn’t catch … I tried, my husband tried and we tried and we tried with no luck which caused a pissed off first grader. Super. So now what exactly was the purpose of our trip to ABC Zoo then??? With three-year old twins they found a purpose … the actual zoo itself.  So off we went. It being a Saturday it was busy and there were lots of ABC Zoo imposters that didn’t know the lay of the land. I was in a seriously bad mommy mood and was not equipped with the patience to allow strangers to stop in front of me or cut my kids in line. As the rain lifted and the humidity swept in I also was surrounded by not only my sticky skin and the sticky skin of strangers but also the thick muggy smell of animals and hay. As we made our way from the duck pond and into the barn, all three of my little ones began asking for snacks and the echoes of children screaming and parents bickering overtook my senses as we made our way into the tunnel. I felt myself twitch and flashes of Elaine from the episode of Seinfeld when she gets stuck in the subway took over my brain and I too wish I could scream “Shut up! Shut up!”

As we went deeper into the hot dark barn I literally thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown when I saw two parents yell at their kid for touching the drinking fountain. “Don’t! Touch that! IT’s germy! You’ll get sick!” immediately grabbing his hands and dousing them with hand sanitizer. Meanwhile my kids had their snack in one hand and with the other were picking up hay from the wet ground feeding the sheep as they stuffed the rest of their snack in their mouths. Sigh. The amount of parents seemed to grow in number within seconds and I found myself being suffocated by khaki wearing humans with smartphones glowing blue in their faces as they talked about the latest characters on Bubble Guppies. That’s when I lost it. I started to lose my breath as I thought this is not where I am supposed to be. I am supposed to be in the city. I am supposed to be having conversations about art, sex and food. I hate khaki. I hate the smell of animals. I am supposed to be writing a book and rubbing elbows with the cool cats of the literacy world. I’m not cut out for this! I’m supposed to be a hero leaving a legacy of change not a path of snack crumbs. The black cloud that had been looming over my head was now an all engulfing storm cloud and I thought to myself that I could make a run for it! I could run out of that barn and for the main street. I could catch a ride to Chicago with it’s bright lights and dreamy people. I could break out of this suburban jail and be FREE. Talk about dark right? Yes, I am a mom and yes I was thinking my life was a jail at that exact moment. Talk about shame.

But then something happened … one by one my kids began speaking my thoughts out loud. “These people are loud. “

“This place smells.”

“I am hot.”

“Those kids are mean.”

“Let’s go home.”

“This is boring.” 

I looked at my husband and he nodded in agreement as we all half jokingly and me fully serious in an all out gallop headed past the caged animals to the exit. Just as I saw hope and light as we neared the gates to the parking lot my husband stopped our little clan in front of one of those tornado experience machines that you (as mean mommy) are always telling them no to. He asked if they wanted to experience a real tornado. What was HE DOING???? I was almost free! Should I just leave them? But, I too stopped. more from the shock that he was actually dispensing two dollar bills into the damn tornado machine, but the result ended with me missing out on my jail break.

Once the air began to blow within the man-made cylinder, my husband broke out into an all out stripper dance tease lifting his shirt behind the plexi glass as my three little ones danced around him and screamed with joy. Because see, my husband doesn’t care who is watching he doesn’t care about the opinions of others but he cares about me and making me smile. I laughed and as they all proceeded out of the machine they grabbed me with their sticky snack hands and hugged me. As I looked into the windows of the gift shop, Our reflections were anything but khaki … my eldest son got caught up with the hobby of tye dying so he and my husband were donning their latest creations of bold colors. MY youngest son, into anything sporty, wore a bright flourescent blue and green outfit. while my perfect little girl was dressed in her favorite color from head to toe … screaming pink. And I, myself, wore a polka dot shirt at the age of 33. My little girl slipped her hand in mine and they all yelled to go home … my thoughts exactly and this was a definite soul moment. I had my people! My people got me and my people understood me. But it gets even better …

what really put the cherry on the sundae was when I put my youngest son down for his nap a couple of hours later.  I sometimes squish his cheeks and recite how much I love him and that he’s my baby in one of those annoying Mommy voices that can only come from having so much love for one tiny being. This time he grabbed my face and said, “My little mommy Halperin, the baby’s mommy, my HERO.” — Talk about S-O-U-L MOMENT.

Though it had been easy for me to be enveloped in the darkness of the mundane, boring and khaki of life, when I looked a little harder through the dark I was able to find the light, I was able to find the wonder and hope in those soul moments. My life may not be text book glamorous or thrilling but it is filled with bright lights, bold ideas and colors. I do have a fan club, while I create a legacy and… I am somebody’s hero.

 (P.S. I shared this story with my MOPS group at our kick-off meeting this September)

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One thought on “Don’t Wear Khaki …

  1. Fuhrman says:

    LOVE! And being a kid’s hero is far more meaningful than being the hero of some literary circle. Adult love is fickle and changes with the seasons. A kid’s love is forever (as long as you don’t totally screw up)!

    Liked by 1 person

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