We decided to spend part of our Labor Day weekend visiting Stone Mountain Park. I was feeling a desperate need to use our membership passes at least one more time before expiration, and last time we'd attended the ropes course had been closed. This time we planned to do the ropes course and stay long enough for the nighttime laser show. We had chairs, bug spray and dinner packed and in the car.
"Prepare yourself for being in crowds guys. The lines could be really miserable."
We headed in, taking a parking spot near an exit, anticipating the departure to be just as tough as the rest.
Splitting up, we managed to get one to the bathroom and a spot in line reserved. When we were all gathered again, we noticed the "You are 1 hour from your turn" sign approaching. Yikes. I smiled at the man behind me, on his own with three children under seven. They all had duck quacking noisemakers in their mouths. "You may be regretting those duck quackers on the ride home!" I laughed.
Oh holy duck quackers! Ten minutes of that noise was all I needed before I felt my jaw tighten up. I forced a smile and remembered how bored the kids must feel. Deep breath.
I looked at my boys. Half an hour in line now and still not a complaint. Why was I so lucky?
The dad was beginning to regret his purchase too. "Stop it. Don't bump your sister. Be quiet. Stop that now. Be quieter." I cringed as his tired voice began to criticize their not really bad behaviors.
Then it got worse. "If you do that again, we'll have to leave. Stop that or I'll take it away. Stop it. Stop it now or we'll leave."
I caught CD's eye. He and I think alike when we hear that sort of tired, ineffective parenting. But then something unexpected happened. "He just needs to really do it, not just say it," whispered Pook. CD and I looked at each other again. "He gets it!" All those years of following through, no matter how unpleasant it became. It pays off. Our baby is growing up.