Let me paint you a picture:
The kids and I were out picking strawberries at one of West Michigan’s most popular U-Pick spots, DeLanges Redberry Farm. The strawberry picking was fabulous and the kids and I enjoyed time with family as we ate berries straight from the field and quickly filled our box with 14 pounds of sun ripened sweetness.
They brought me their best finds and ran up and down the rows, all while staying close by and declaring: “I love berry picking day!”
When we’d filled our box with bright red berries, we grabbed a green wagon and headed to the shed to pay.
As I pulled the wagon through the grass I surveyed my children, they were giddy and sticky beyond belief. Caedmon was nearly dyed pink from berry juice and as I approached the shed I wondered if his clothes were salvageable. What a way to go… a t-shirt lost to a morning of sunshine and berry juice.
As I paid for our haul, and asked the farm worker about pectin while the kids ran around, engaging fellow pickers in line.
Just as I was finishing up, I noticed that the kids were getting into the flags that were used to mark the rows which had already been picked.
“Guys! Put those back and leave them alone!” I called out as I walked toward them.
Noelle started to obey, but Caedmon grabbed two flags and started running away from me in defiance. (Defiance is his thing lately, he’s two)
I chased them down and made them help me put all the flags back, or at least I tried. Honestly, I was tired and ready to get back to the car and a tall bottle of water.
As we headed to the car, a middle aged man approached me.
I was trying to keep the kids close, my hands full of berries while when he spoke up:
He shook his head at me as he told me: “You know, your kids are misbehaved. Very misbehaved.”
I was shocked. I said the only thing I could think of which was a confused and sarcastic: “Thank you.”
My shock quickly turned to a line of painful questioning: Do I have poorly behaved children? Was their excitement over flags the result of bad parenting or just a normal kid reaction?