Desperation Is The Father of Invention

It was Sunday afternoon. V needed an afternoon to herself at home. I’m sitting in an empty medical office parking lot with three kids in the car.

I was having a Daddy Date with my three girls, though if it was a real date, I wouldn’t be too impressed with myself. I didn’t have a plan, except that I needed to give V some space for the afternoon, I needed to do it indoors (100ºF outside), and I couldn’t take the children’s museum on a weekend.

“What about the dinosaur museum?”

The Texas Memorial Museum is a good failsafe for the kids. It isn’t the biggest museum, rarely with big crowds, though the one thing that the girls really like to do there is sit in this half-boat and watch a video about fish. Sorry girls, not today.

Instead of randomly driving around, which wouldn’t have gone well since we had only been home a few days after a two-week road trip spanning over 3,000 miles, I parked in an empty parking lot.

What’s cheap? What’s exciting enough to keep me entertained while suitable for the crop of kids in the car?

It is in these moments where strength is found. It’s easy to lose it, raise your voice because the kids are bored and antsy in the backseat. Or easy to pop in a movie and let the TV handle things.

What could I find to do? There has to be something.

The Texas Military Forces Museum. I’ve always wanted to check it out. V isn’t into military history or science, so never past muster in family deliberations. It’s free (donations accepted and a decent gift shop too) and they have planes, helicopters, trucks there. There has to be something the girls would find entertaining.

The visit was great. MC loved climbing into a cockpit simulator and used ejection seat from the Air Force room. O though the Civil War and Texas Revolution sections were really cool. T, in all of her 20 months, thought crossing barriers to get closer-than-allowed to anything was fantastic.

With three kids with two on the way, some of the greatest ideas and experiences come from those moments of desperation when you have to do something different than normal even though deep down inside you don’t want to, you’re scared to. There’s every reason to avoid taking all of the kids to some new places that you don’t know what to expect, if there is anything there that would be of interest or appropriate for them, unsure if taking kids would disrupt the whole spirit of a place, unsure if there will be a changing table in the men’s bathroom (far, far, far too many places lack this), knowing it is a coin flip between success and absolute failure.

My experience in these moments that even when I think I have failed, the kids take away good memories. The Military Museum wasn’t the best experience and, by the end, I was ready to drag them out by their feet (checking out all of the large pieces outside in the aforementioned 100ºF heat after seeing everything inside may have been the fatal decision on my part). At the time, I chalked it up as an experiment worth trying and that was that. Two weeks later, the girls still talk about it almost daily.

They want to go back.

It’s easier to put on a movie or default to coloring by themselves. I wouldn’t have had to deal with the desperation of having the kids in the car, waiting for me to figure out something, but I wouldn’t have heard them excitedly tell me about each thing they thought was cool two weeks later.

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  1. Pingback: Nice Little Saturday | The Kraft Family

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