Smelly Socks: The best laid plans should be thrown out at times

Aug. 30, 2012 at 3:30 a.m.
Updated Sept. 2, 2012 at 4:02 a.m.

For the record, let me state that I am not a fan of summer. I do not enjoy suffering in the miserable heat that encompasses Texas. In competition with the heat is the challenge of finding things to entertain my children with way out in the sticks.

Summer also means that my house is a complete wreck with the "frat house" look of popsicle sticks in the most usual places, crocs and wet swimsuits left wherever the wearer decided to change, crumbs of half eaten snacks, DS cartridges that get washed in the washing machine, boots in the middle of the floor and sibling spats that erupt in mere seconds. All things summer makes this mother very weary.

Grandparents are a gift from God, and as their daughter I am truly blessed. My darling boys adore their Mimi and Popsy and were excited to spend a week at their grandparent's house. This is also a gift for me, a mother who is worn out. However, with the boy's "vacation," as with any vacation, my job suddenly gets a little harder. I now have to reprogram my children.

While visiting Mimi and Popsy in the "big city" of Victoria, we all had a full week of activities carefully planned out for them. They had Vacation Bible School at Northside Baptist Church, martial arts camp, tennis camp and just generally spending every last minute swimming and riding their bikes on what they consider "an endless supply of pavement."

My boys went "kid crazy" with the vast supply of kids to meet and pal around with. Austin has since told me that he could definitely handle living in a neighborhood. "There are so many kids my age to hang out with, and so much to do," my social butterfly declares. His eyes glimmer with hope, "And, there are a lot of cute girls, too."

Knowing full well that my parents would have their hands full with my brood of two, I went to check on the boys and my parents a few times throughout the week. My parents seemed tired but everything was going well and the boys were in complete bliss, so I stayed out of their way. I didn't want to get in between grandkids and grandparents. They have a strong bond, a few giggles and a secret language that I don't need to be a part of.

As their week ended I went to pick them and all their "boy gear" up. The scene I walked into was unusual. Pizza crusts were in plain sight all over my mother's usually spotless kitchen. Their sweet German Shepherd, Jake, was hiding in the backyard, unwilling to come and greet me, their bikes littered my parent's front yard while their "not kid friendly" cat has yet to come down from his tree perch.

As I continued into the house, I was greeted by Jamison who informed me that "Mimi and Popsy let us have Doritos and Coke for breakfast," and then he sped away on a sugar high. What? This is the woman who got up early every morning without fail to make sure that I had a healthy breakfast to start my day. My mom came around the corner with a sheepish smile and said, "What happens at Mimi's and Popsy's, stays at Mimi's and Popsy's."

My mother explains that she used to be just like me.

"I had meals planned out in advance and I had a list of summer activities to keep you busy all summer."

With age comes wisdom, and she has learned that sometimes you have to relax and not plan. My parents insist that more memories are made when everyone is relaxed and nothing is forced.

As I gathered the boys and their gear into my car and headed home to the ranch, I noticed them taking a few deep breaths and they started to settle down. Their wind down continued the whole ride home. Austin and Jamison's reprogramming is now complete. They have successfully entered back into their ranch world.

They enjoyed their week in the city, but they truly enjoy their ranch life, too. My boys realize that they have the best of both worlds.

"Ah, Mom, it is good to be home," Austin yawns. He suddenly sits up. "Oh, and when are we going back to Victoria?"

I guess the grass is always greener on the other side, and you always want what you can't have.

As a mother, my kids' week in paradise taught me a valuable lesson. Sometimes when you least expect it, or an activity is not planned out, life and memories just happen. You can't plan out everything for your kids and really, why should you?

The unexpected and unorganized events are the sweetest memories and the ones that Austin and Jamison will remember, cherish and take with them forever. Jamison added that he wants to spend the night away again on "Mimi and Popsy's cool air mattresses," he then adds. "Oh, and you can really bounce on them."

Johanna is a proud seventh generation Texan. She lives on her family's South Texas ranch with her husband and two lively boys. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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