This weekend the weather was beautiful. (A relative rarity in Minnesota.) So we decided to go apple picking. First off - I was loving being outside. It wasn’t cold it wasn’t hot it was sincerely perfect. I have two teenage daughters and we also have a teenage exchange student from Berlin and she’s wonderful. That said our house is basically drowning in hormones. Sometimes that’s great … ok truthfully it is never great, we are lucky if it is not loud emotional insanity inducing on the daily. I grew up in the dark ages, apparently, so I don’t understand anything that my kids are facing. According to them (exchange student excluded) I was a baby, a little kid, an adult and then a Mom. My husband and I must have skipped over the teen years because we are clueless about the world that our girls are facing. I have now gotten to the stage where I tell people that my favorite parenting years were the ones when the girls couldn’t talk (since now all they do is talk). Sanity is optional and most days they tend to opt out. If I suggest that my eldest works more hours at her retail job I am tactfully informed (at the top of her lungs) that I must want her to fail out of high school (cue door slam). My other daughter regularly reacts to small perceived slights (what do you mean ok) with fury - complete fury - I swear that girl could clear a city block. Thank goodness that we live in the country or the police would be called out to respond on a regular basis. The drama is R E A L.
You can probably imagine what our apple picking experience was like then. First getting everyone ready to walk out the door at the same time was a small miracle. My hubby is German so when he says you have thirty minutes to get ready he means 30 minutes and not a minute longer. This presents the first challenge. Eldest daughter is in a quandary about which skirt is more ‘Instagramable’ - that’s a thing? The exchange student is attempting to help while also asking about which shoes would be best. My husband and I said boots. The weather was perfect but it hasn’t been so perfect leading up to our outing. ‘Buzzer’ wrong answer. It was converse high tops according to my youngest daughter. She was ready in five minutes flat but then went down to our basement and began playing piano. Normally I am thrilled that she enjoys practicing but today this is NOT a good thing. When she’s playing nothing else exists. She plays and the house could be on fire and she’d still be sitting there finishing the piece she was working on. The end analysis is that she’s going to finish what she started whether or not she is finished within hubby’s timeline. AND I needed a shower - my own iPhone does not recognize my face when I wake; up so going out without a shower is not an option. I decide to prioritize my shower; my husband has already been out and about so he’s showered and ready to go. I hop into the warm water and BOOM eldest daughter has a crisis that only I can deal with “Where is my cute ochre skirt? Mom this is serious and Papa never knows where anything is!” Ok I wrap a towel come to the door and scream out a few places that she should check. Truthfully her room is basically a topographical map of clothing - there’s a mountain of jeans right next to the valley of makeup that butts up to the river of underwear. I do my best to never ever go in there in the fear that I’ll end up getting swallowed up by the sweaters! She yells back that she neeeeeeeeeds me to come help her. Ok sweetie no, just no. If you can’t find it wear something else. This was not an acceptable answer and was followed by an emotional outburst she could have won an Oscar for. I get out of the shower to hear hubby yelling down to the youngest that she has ten minutes before we leave so she needs to wrap it up. To this update of status the youngest gets angry and starts loudly slamming on the keys of the piano. That will teach us - she’s going to ruin the tuning of the piano to teach us a lesson. Very practical response seeing as she is the ONLY person in the house who plays. I have finished my hair and am in the process of considering makeup when time is called. Hubby yells out that it is now time to go and he means it. To be 100% fair to my husband his thirty minutes turned into an hour and a half of emotional outbursts, screaming complaints and tantrums (terrible two’s my ass). Now we are all getting into the car - I did not, in fact, manage to put makeup on. Once everyone has started climbing into the car my eldest says “l think I need to take Mom’s car.” At this comment an argument between hubby and eldest ensues. He says that we don’t need to waste the gas; she implies that she, her sister and exchange student might not want to participate in ‘other’ lame activities after the apple picking. Because really all she needs from apple picking is the photos - she doesn’t actually need to pick apples, right? This was the wrong thing to say to hubby because now he is sincerely irritated by her ‘teen-ness’. It’s my turn now to get involved and simmer things down: Sweetie (husband) maybe it would be a good idea to let her take the car. That way if we want to go somewhere afterward (read winery, dinner, hot tub, pretty much anything we enjoy doing as a couple) they can head out and do their own thing. This was agreed and we finally hit the road - a full two hours after our proposed launch time.
At the apple orchard there are myriad opportunities for Instagram posts with the sunlight in the right direction and the perfect round red apple selected. Photos were taken - girls with arms over one another’s shoulders, girls reaching up to pick a beautiful apple, girls riding piggy-back with one another, girls biting into a delicious apple and so on. This took about ten minutes. Both the older girls were more than prepared to leave - but because the weather was nice and there were apples there were the inevitable bugs. Lady bugs were everywhere in our hair, our boots you name it. So they were ready to go - sans apples. Then we got some seriously blank stares (at this point I am coming to the realization that teenagers everywhere are very similar because we got blank stares from the exchange student as well). Ok it’s time for a compromise let’s actually pick some apples off of the trees and put them into the bags we were provided. That way I can make applesauce, and apple muffins, and apple crisp, and apple pie, and any other recipes including apples that are readily available on the web. Another twenty minutes of quality time with three teenage girls ensued- we had achieved the impossible. What followed was time to weigh and pay. And now at the checkout there are T-Shirts - so we came, we posted, we picked AND we got the t-shirts to prove it. So the math goes like this: hubby expects 30 minutes to be enough time for us to get ready to go - he’s off by an hour and a half - so 2 hours getting ready - 25 minute drive to the orchard and then 20 minutes of photography, social media and apple picking. Two hours and forty-five minutes of quality time with three teenagers; that is a win in my book!
Hubby and I head off to a local winery to celebrate and build up our strength to keep our heads above the raging ocean of hormones that doubles as our home.