"If you don't stop _____, I will turn this car around!"
Every parent has said it.
My parents said it.
My husband's parents said it.
I'm pretty sure my great-great-great-grandparents said it, but back then it sounded more like, "If you keep sassin' your pa, I'll turn this buggy around, an whoop your ass down by the crick." Wish I could have said it like that; getting to say it in that manner screams you mean fucking business. You won't have fresh eggs from the Oleson store and a butt whoopin'? That would make most people shut up real fast. But my kids aren't most people, and I don't think I could pull it off.
Yeah... yesterday, I said it. We were heading to the local seafood festival, a day of family fun that only comes to town once a year. It's a 45 minute drive from home and we were nine miles into that drive, on the interstate. My older sons are in the stages of their love/hate relationship. They love to hate each other, and there was no end in sight to the bullshit. "Mom, he's touching me. Dad, he won't stop swallowing. Mom, make his stop swallowing. Dad, get him to stop touching me."
I took a deep breath as I watched a vein pulse in the forehead of my husband. "If you don't cut this crap out, RIGHT NOW, we will turn this car around."
For five freaking minutes...
It didn't work.
Hubby and I nodded to each other and got off at the next exit. The middle one started to cry, which made the baby cry and then the oldest cried when he discovered there would be no usage of electronics when we got home.
I wanted to cry. It was a beautiful, Florida day outside. The sun was hanging in the sky, clouds moved with a heavenly breeze, and all I wanted was to eat a plate of deep-fried seafood washed down with a cold draft beer... or six. To enjoy my family enjoying each other. But the gauntlet had been thrown... to back out now would be stupid. So we stuck to our guns. The kids played with Dad outside, we went on a bike ride; it was a normal Sunday. It wasn't extraordinary, and that was kind of sad.
After the kids were in bed I wondered if they'd learned their lesson. The lesson that Mommy and Daddy mean business and we will turn the car around even if it means missing out on something fun we'd like to do.
A small part of me hopes they still have this lesson to learn. Fingers crossed I get out of the next birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's.