Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Defying Inertia

Last night, I felt an overwhelming desire to get the kids out today.  Somewhere.  Anywhere.  Depending on the weather.  I hadn't come to any conclusions about what our big outing would be.  I just knew I wanted one.

This morning, though, the kids woke up and played and played and played while I handled the morning chores of breakfast and getting Merlot fed and walked and responding to various emails that needed attention.  The kids were so happy playing in their pajamas, in fact, that I was tempted to scrap the whole plan to leave the house and just enjoy a mellow morning in, together.

But something nudged me to find an activity and go, and so I threw the idea of an outing into the realm of possibilities for our day, and the kids latched on.  The mere mention of an adventure was enough to send them scrambling upstairs to dress themselves, and we made it out the door in less than the usual eternity it takes us to complete the steps of putting on coats and shoes and buckling into the car.

I settled on the Colorado Railroad Museum because it was close (and we needed to get Abby home for an early nap so she'd be up in time for her afternoon dance class), it was indoor with an outdoor option (so we could handle whatever the weather presented), and it's hard to pass up giant-machines-that-go when small children are involved (vehicles of any kind hold universal appeal for small people).

The museum was a hit.  They pushed trains over bridges and into the roundhouse on the train table set up in the lobby; they were enthralled by the huge model train set that ran through tiny mountain towns and tunnels and trestles downstairs; and they never ran out of enthusiasm for the offerings of the outside yard full of actual, retired trains that they could climb in and on.  Our morning at the museum was so delightful, they begged to stay longer when I said it was time to go.

Looking back at our time, I can't believe I considered not going.  I was tempted to abandon my plan this morning when the kids were playing so nicely, tempted to stay put and take the path of least resistance: leave the kids in their pajamas to play puppies and dinosaurs and whatever else their imaginations manufactured--and just hang out.  There's nothing wrong with this method of passing time--it's great, in fact--except that it is my regular default, and I probably succumb to the ease of that plan too readily.  This morning, however, I made a conscious decision to step forward, defying inertia, to create new and different memories with my cuties.  And the shifting of momentum to get us moving was absolutely worth it.

As we drove home, Ben, unprompted, thanked me for taking them to the museum.  "What made you decide to take us there?" he asked between bites of his lunch in the car.

"I thought it would be fun for us to have an adventure together," I told him--and he half-giggled to himself, pleased with my answer.

Later in the drive, he announced he wants to be a conductor when he grows up.  I could see the visions of maneuvering those mighty machines with their solid levers and mysterious switches dancing through his head.

There's nothing wrong with surrendering to the call of a mellow day at home, but it also pays to act with intention, to make a plan and stick with it.  I know this mellow mama will be looking for more opportunities to do so in the future.


  1. Yay Colorado Railroad Museum! We LOVE that place! When my oldest son (now 15) was little, we went several times a year. Since we now live out of state, we made it a point to visit there with our other boys last summer on our Colorado vacation. They were enthralled. Our favorites are the cabooses, where you can climb up into the cupolas and have a nice view out the upper windows. The boys also like checking out the cabinets and cupboards and nooks and crannies. That place is also fantastic for photo opportunities. So glad you guys enjoyed your Train Adventure!

  2. We climbed up into those cupolas, too! I had heard of this museum but had never taken the time to learn where it was or what it offered--what a find! We'll be going back, I'm sure. How fun that you were able to come back and visit with your boys--did the older ones still enjoy it?


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