Tonight we participated in a lantern walk celebrating Michaelmas. We began going with our homeschool group friends. We camped that year, not knowing what was in store. We froze to death and almost didn't come again the next year. But it's a nice evening and we've accepted that we can go for the dinner and lantern walk. And that's enough, and worth it, to us.
The children carry paper lanterns and walk about in the woods to semi-remote location where a man waits to tell them a story. The story is of St. Martin. We value the idea that Martin got locked out of the city because he was making sure his fellow soldiers go first. Then while outside for the night, he sees a beggar and cuts his cloak to share it with the beggar. That night Martin dreams of Jesus, wearing the cloak. Martin leaves the military and becomes a priest.
It's interesting being around a lot of strangers, going through a ritual that, maybe, few of them believe in. I'm always sort of surprised that the story ends with Jesus. But then, a lot of other Christian denominations don't have any problem with alcohol. I always have a hard time understanding that. Alcohol is so obviously a bad thing to me. People getting drunk... it's ugly and cruel.
But I really enjoy the walking around with candles, and singing. Perhaps I value this event so much because our family doesn't do Christmas caroling right now. When I was growing up, Christmas Caroling and music on Christmas Eve was a major tradition. We'd walk around the neighborhood with Becky Williams, freezing, singing, and burning our hands on the candles wrapped in foil.
I did take the kids out to carol a few years ago. I hope to do that again. P traditions are very different and while he loves singing, he doesn't like caroling...
But he took us to the event and was wonderful in helping manage the kids. I got to spend a lot of time hanging out with my friend J.
M thew 2 tantrums today. When we went to the beach, The Beach On November 7th!, we brought boogie boards. M wanted to climb on the rocks which were actually accessible as they hadn't been last week when we didn't bring boards... M asked if we could do the rock and I made the mistake of saying later. If I'd thought about it, and I did, later, I'd have realized that 3 of the 4 children that could walk, were wearing flip flops. And you can't boogie board near the rocks... So we would have had issues with splitting up the group, and with kids in flip flops wanting to go on the rocks. AND we were only going to be there for an hour because it took the girls so long to clean their rooms, and there was a Gator Game at 12.
Then tonight at the lantern walk, she wanted to stay for the marshmallow roast. P and I said "Maybe" with an eye to encouraging them to not throw tantrums. We suggested that we have to leave when we HAVE to leave because of their behavior. But then it was dark and we'd already lost B at one point... We were done. M started crying. Several kind adults noticed. And then I remembered how 2 years ago we did let them roast marshmallows and they got them all over the car. So I should have said "No!"
I'm going to try saying "I'll think about that." and "Probably not." instead of "maybe". No more maybe's.