The Red Dress Club: Detour

4:00 Three and a half hours until bedtime.

How about play doh? A fort? Books? Puzzles? Paint? What do you want to do?

Can we watch a movie, Mama?

My eyes are bleary, my other half is working late, and two hours of a movie and popcorn and snuggles and quiet sounds like nothing.

Perfect, blissful nothing.

4:15 Three hours and fifteen minutes until bedtime.

Movie in, popcorn popped, cozies donned.

4:30 Three hours until bedtime.

Hey! My friend Kate texts. Do you want to take the kids ice skating?

Sitting! Relaxing! Nothing!

But, ice skating.

Magical, gliding, smooth, we’ve-never-been-before Ice Skating!

4:45 Two hours and forty five minutes until bedtime.

We gather our snowpants and snowboots and ice skates and helmets and hats and gloves and mittens and scarves and chairs and a sled for Brody to sit in, of course.

5:00 Two and a half hours until bedtime.

I stand still. Take it in. The flooded out field goes on for miles. A shiny, sparkling canvas for sharp, new skates and excited, ambitious skaters.

The moment passes as I’m jolted back to the reason we’re here. Let’s go! Our kids squeal. Their achingly independent feet run down the path, slide across the ice and start to untangle the mysteries of their ice skates.

Push your feet in. Yes, like that. Kate explains. Lace tight, even tighter. Stand tall, even taller.

Our bundled children are lined up in a neat, huddled row. Each one waiting for their turn to learn how to master the ice. And one by one, Kate teaches them.

Whispered survival secrets passed down from one native Midwesterner to another.

And then, they go. They waver and fall and bruise and try again. But most of all, they go.

They glint of Winter.

Rosy cheeks.

Red noses.

Sore tushys.

Heart-breakingly big smiles.

6:45 Forty five minutes until bedtime.

We trudge back to the car. This time our voices are quieter and our steps are heavier.

7:00 A half hour until bedtime.

The snowpants and snowboots and ice skates and helmets and hats and gloves and mittens and scarves and chairs and even the sled invade our mudroom in one shockingly sloshy pile that absolutely screams FUN.

7:15 Fifteen minutes until bedtime.

Bath bubbles. Warmth. Laughter. And yawns that they’d rather I not see.


Mama, can we watch that movie now?

7:45 Fifteen minutes past bedtime.

Movie in, popcorn-for-dinner popped, cozies donned.

Sometime far, far beyond bedtime.

I sit snuggled between so many pieces of my heart. Bare to the world but bungee corded to me.

My pieces are lost in their movie. Another world, another time, a slice of someone else’s magic.

They fight their heavy eyelids. Breathing in sweet, deep sighs that only children give into.

Yes, there could have been writing and facebook-ing and twitter-ing and –my heart be still– perhaps even reading a real book tonight.

But instead, there’s snuggles and magic and breathing and that big sloshy pile that can wait until tomorrow. So this time? Our detour served us well.

Red Writing Hood is a writing meme. This week’s assignment is to write – fiction or non-fiction – about a time when you took a detour. Constructive criticism? Yes, please!

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  1. oh the sweetness… i love this story. making a last minute decision and having it turn into such a memory :)

  2. Sometimes the the best moments are the detours – the unplanned ones.

    I love this story, the descriptions, the countdown to bedtime , the dripping clothes.

    I want popcorn now. And snuggles.

  3. I love the countdown until bedtime and then after bedtime. I have had nights like these before too. The snuggles are the best.

  4. Love those nights. We have movie night almost every Friday and I sit between my girls and just be with them. Perfect.

    Love how you let them stay up late so you could skate. Expressed brilliantly as always.

  5. Great detour indeed. The sleep had to be much deeper after the skating trip.

  6. Loved this…how you can be caught in a moment of just waiting for bedtime and then the unexpected happens and your day is just complete. Awwwwww..what a wonderful moment.

  7. You gave me the warm, fuzzies. Such a wonderful place your house must be.
    My favorite line “I sit snuggled between so many pieces of my heart”
    This post made me excited to get my little “pieces” out of bed this morning.

  8. What a fun and flexible parent you are! Your children are going to have many happy memories :-)

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence, Lisa! Flexibility, though? So not the name of my game! I think that was part of the detour! XO

  9. I completely love the sweetness of you being surrounded by love. I also love the absolute truth in this about the directions parenthood sometimes leads.

  10. Oooooohhhhh I loved this so much!!! The best times are always the unplanned, spur-of-the-moment ones, aren’t they? I loved the ‘pieces of my heart’ and ‘heartbreakingly big smiles’ lines. Beautiful.

  11. This was a great reminder.
    Its important to “detour” from routine sometimes for fun AND its important to close the computer/phone for family more than sometimes.

  12. Ah yes, these detours… i love these detours… they are the best kind, the best.

  13. Mary Fretland says:

    The best thing about detours is the fact that they are unexpected. The unexpected comes with NO EXPECTATIONS. No expectations from you, no expectations from the kids. If I make fun elaborate plans, I get caught up in how it’s going to play out and just how FUN it will be. When those plans don’t play out as expected (they rarely do) then the “fun” suffers and disappointment and frustration take over. Detours come with an inherent “go with it” quality. Kind of a “give it a try and see what happens” attitude. The lack of expectations always serves me well. I think this is why the low-key everyday moments are the ones that often give us that “just right,” “perfect,” dare I say… *spiritual* feeling. The big planned moments (holidays for example) suffer from the “expectation curse” and often fall short.

    Love the post. This is a great personal reminder for me to relax and just go with it.

  14. Loved your story. I’ve had my eye on the bedtime clock more than once. I have to admit though, I thought to myself. “I don’t think the kids ate dinner.” I’m all about food.

    • Hi Kris! I so get that, we’re all about the food, too! Do I dare admit that we added apples, etc. to the popcorn and that *was* dinner?! :)

  15. This is so so sweet. I love the moment before they hit the ice! I think if you wanted the piece to have a more powerful punch, you could end it with “Heartbreakingly big smiles”. Although I like the sentiment of everything that comes after that too.

    • Thanks, woman! I’m totally looking for a powerful punch! Do you think that line could stand on its own at the end there?

  16. Galit, thank you for introducing me to these writing prompts. I’ve needed something to take my writing in another direction, so “detour” was the appropriate beginning. I love visiting you in your space; I miss you in mine. What lovely stories you tell and I’m so glad you’re open to flexibility!

  17. It’s Friday…which made me think of mojitos….which made me think of you! Hmmm? Go figure! :)
    I really came to make the mojito observation…but then got the extra bonus of reading this post. Just beautiful. I really loooove your writing style!! Have done the bedtime countdown too many times to remember. …and the best memories usually always come from the detours!
    Have a great weekend!!

  18. The best moms keep a consistent schedule, but the best moms also know when to let the schedule go so they and their kids can live in the moment. Those are the memories that we cherish!

    Excellent story, and I liked how you used bedtime to tie everything together.

  19. This was very sweet Galit.

  20. I loved the rhythm to this, it read almost like a spoken word piece. I love that you were bending the rules, the kids were learning something new and getting to stay up past their bedtimes, I am sure the story of how they learned to skate is something they will share with people in their lives much later.

  21. Countdown til bedtime.
    What a great detour! I love the description of learning to ice skate.

    And still time for a movie and popcorn.

  22. I love it. Absolutely perfect. I completely identify with the bedtime countdown and the completely overwhelming feel of love. What a wonderful first skating adventure.

  23. Beautiful. Heart-warming. Love everything about it!

  24. This sounds like so much fun!! sometimes the detours are the best days!

  25. This is such a lovely post. I was right there with you, as I have often counted down to bedtime hours before it actually occurs, and all that magic that happens in the middle. Beautiful stuff.

  26. detours are a road somewhere. often where we wanted to go (but didn’t realize we did)!

  27. All of the “itterings” and “ings” pale in comparison to the quality family time and enjoyable memories that are being made.

    Shabbat Shalom!

  28. What wonderful details, emotions… And what an unexpected pleasure for your family. These are the moments that our kids remember…the spontaneity, the fun, and of course, the love!

  29. I really like this. It’s so sweet and so true. Sometimes detours make for the best memories.

  30. I loved the balance between the excitement for “me” time after kids bedtime and the satisfaction of going with the flow and being with family.

  31. Without a doubt-this is one of the most beautiful and magical pieces I have ever read. A true winner! (I’m giving you a standing ovation.)

  32. Sometimes bedtime is meant to be thrown right out the window! I love your posts. I’ve got a Brody too, so seeing that name makes me smile. :)

    • I know *exactly* what you mean about Brody-love! I can’t help but smile whenever I hear or see it anywhere! XO

  33. [happy sigh] I loved the line about being snuggled between pieces of my heart. Interspersing the details with the timeline was a great idea and a wonderful way to cram so much in so little. Great job!

  34. What a neat trick: to show the times. Made the post more interesting and kept us moving along without having to explain the passing of time.
    Well done.

  35. There was so much I loved about this story. I thought the countdown was great…I remember that time when you knew down to second when it was time for bed:~)

    I love how you say so much in so few words. For example, “Magical, gliding, smooth, we’ve-never-been-before Ice Skating!” That captures all the wonder of that moment. I can feel it and, while I never have ice-skated, it makes me want to go.

    You also organize your story very well and I don’t mean just with the times you list. There’s almost a poetic feel to how you your words together, like “Another world, another time, a slice of someone else’s magic.”

    Thank you for sharing this well-written story. There’s a sweetness to this detour that lingers with me, reminding me of my own memories of snuggling with my children — there’s nothing quite as special as that. Enjoy it.

  36. So, so sweet. Of course I’m thinking – but did they eat dinner? I know too well that countdown to bedtime, so you going ice skating was just all kinds of awesome.

    • I know, I know! *Someone* needs to feed these kids! I went back in and made it more clear that the popcorn *was* dinner. Now don’t go back and judge me for it! Thanks for the words, lady! XO

  37. Yes it’s true, you earned your motherness with that detour. Because I know exactly how hard it would be to drag myself off of the couch when I know they would have settled for the movie. All too often I find myself struggling with these tiny decisions everyday. Wonderful writing.

  38. What a fun detour! I love moments like this.

  39. Oh, oh, oh! How I loved this! So sweet. Such wonderful details. You are a GREAT story teller!

  40. I absolutely love this!! I felt like I was looking out onto the ice with you!

    Sometimes those last minute detours are the best ones.

  41. This is so expertly woven together and just magical. I will always keep this in the back of my head on a day that’s not going so well at home. How wonderful to find such a special memory in an absolutely spontaneous event :)

  42. Did you edit out the whining? :) I love the words “sore tushies”!!!
    It seems like such a magical time, with the kids so eager for the experience.
    If it had been my own kids, it would have been 60% magical and 40% whining lol!

  43. Oh, how I love this piece.
    Such perfect small moments…moments that could have so easily slipped past you.
    The structure was perfect. As a mother, I know all too well how much the choreography of the evening is tied to the clock.
    Just lovely, Galit!

  44. LOVED this! Those years with my littles were the best times of my life…it sounds like that will be your testament also.

  45. I love this!! As a very planned out person myself, I realize the need for being spontaneous once in a while! Besides, the ice will only be there for a little while longer!

    Ps Did you learn to skate too!??

    • Hi Kyria!

      No, I didn’t learn how, too. I will admit this here: Not having grown up skating, I am TERRIFIED of it! But I feel like if we’re going to raise our kids in this half-a-year-of-Winter-land, then they have to learn how.

      Ouch. Does that ever sound double standard-ish, or what?! Don’t judge. XO

  46. I’m sure the fact that it was past bedtime made the movie and popcorn all the more exciting. And I’m sure they slept well after all that excitement and exercise! Beautifully written :)

  47. Definitely a “life is in the journey, not the destination” moment. And one they’re likely to remember far longer…

    My photography is available for purchase – visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

  48. Oh, the absolute best. Fabulous words. I can picture you in snuggle Heaven with all your exhausted angels.

    We have a saying, I guess more of a “calling” around here – NAY! It’s one horse sound after another on certain days. It stands for “Not About You.” You deciding to take them ice skating was one of those moments.

    It’s funny though, NAY detours have a way of filling my soul like no other. Still selfish? 😉

    • Nope. Perfect, actually. I love it!

      In fact, when my husband wants to know why I’m NAY-ing, I’ll send him your way, mmkay? :) XO

  49. Cindy Breen says:

    Another wonderful story, beautifully told …..Yes, the unplanned moments ARE often the sweetest!!

  50. This reminded me of my skating days as a kid in Michigan. Loved it Galit and especially love that you took a “detour” from the everyday things. Wish you had a photo of the smiles on the kids faces as they rushed to the ice rink. Oh, and glad Kris mentioned the dinner – I was wondering as well 😉 Beautiful – Hugs!

    • I know! Feed these poor starving children right?! I edited that part a bit based on all of you worried Mamas. :) Thanks so much for the words, Kim! XO

  51. Bravo! You have a wonderful way with words. The entire piece moved, as if gliding across ice, with the inevitable end lingering in the background in the form of a countdown. Slight nits: Our bundled children – like telephone, Internet, and cable? – Bubbles and warmth and laughter and yawns – bath bubbles?

    Loved your post!

    • Hi Lauren! Thanks so much for the words and concrit- I love both!

      I added bath to bubbles to clarify and as for bundled, I meant as in Winter clothes. :)

  52. I could feel the nip of the cold on my nose, the tightness of the skates, hear the squeals as the children’s bottoms hit the ice. Well written and reminiciant of my childhood. I can’t wait to share these memories with my girls ;;)
    Thank you for sharing.

  53. I’m at Bloggy Boot Camp in San Diego and I just met the Red Dress Club person. I knew I had seen it somewhere. :)

  54. What a sweet detoured tale told. Love the writing, love unique take, via the countdown to bedtime. Love remembering all the gear that was pulled on, carried, dropped and pulled off again after playing in nature’s winter playground from my own childhood and that your writing took me there. :>

  55. Love! I used to adore ice skating as a child.. I’m afraid I’d snap an ankle if I even attempted it now. 😉

    Favorite line: “I sit snuggled between so many pieces of my heart.” sigh So beautiful!

  56. Loved this! And I love that you still put the movie in after the skating adventure.

  57. I really love this! I am another mom who counts down until bedtime, actually, I’m doing it right now! But I know that I should plan more detours in my life because she’ll be older soon enough and won’t have any interest in doing anything spur of the moment with me!

    You are amazing Galit! I mean that.

  58. Lovely! I really enjoyed this! I loved the time countdown, especially the last one that says “15 minutes after bedtime.” :)

    Here from TRDC!

  59. Well this was just incredibly cute and sweet!

    And sore tushes? Mine would have been broken bones… not a whole lot of natural grace around these parts, lol! You capture children very, very well. Concrit-wise, maybe watch some of your punctuation here and there, but that’s such a trivial thing…

    I’m just impressed. Great job, and thanks for the grins. :)

  60. I always love your pieces. Always. You have such a wonderful way of showing real life – always honest, always beautiful.

  61. I love nights like this. Love them. This piece has great flow, and the countdown to bedtime! What parent has had that countdown running in their head all afternoon.

    Two technical things. I think it’s “bungee corded,” and I think you could scrap the last two lines. You’ve shown us just how well the detour served you; you don’t need to tell us.

    • Thank you so much for the input lady! I have had so many issues with that bungee corded line! Kelly from DWC handled most of it- thanks for tying up that loose end for me!

      And the last line: Oy the last line! My husband agrees with you whole-heartedly; I’m having a hard time letting it go. I need a kick in the butt. Any takers? :)

      Thanks again!

  62. Sigh. What a beautiful evening. And how lucky are you to have a friend who knows how to ice skate. You might think all Minnesotans know how, but I don’t. I’ve tried. Can’t do it. But I want my kids to know how. So fun. Now I want to cuddle up between my kids and watch a movie!

  63. This post is wonderful. It tells us what a tradeoff life is. Decisions being made all the time.

    We choose to not do computer time…we get moments like these instead.

    Then, we check the computer, and we are so behind…but we haven’t missed moments like these.

    There is no easy trade off…ever. You just have to close your eyes, and say, “if i do this, then I’ll miss that.”

    No easy choices.

  64. I sit snuggled between so many pieces of my heart. Bare to the world but bungee corded to me.

    That line is perfection. Absolutely true. This entire piece…the description of the rosy faces and all—brought a smile to my face. So very lovely and so inspiring for me as well.

  65. hey, i think popcorn counts as whole grains!! so excellent dinner. and hopefully it was buttered popcorn, so you got the dairy covered too. =) it truly made me happy that you had this wonderful detour that turned out to be yet another priceless memory for everyone.

  66. this was beautiful. a beautifully written piece about a beautiful moment in time. i loved it. and you’ve inspired me to do more and BE more. with my children. we only have this time, and when it’s gone, it’s gone forever. i’m so glad you went skating and did the movie. what a treat for me to read. thank you.

  67. There have been times I have count down the time to bedtime. What fun you had during your countdown. The movie and suggling sounds great.

  68. Glad you took the road less traveled, so many people make their schedules sooo restricted they forget to live, good for you! :)

  69. Ahhhh, love this! Thanks for sharing your blog today on SITS! I really enjoyed it.


  70. Detours can save us. It sounds like you took a very wise detour that day. Good choice.

  71. This is a lovely piece–one that revives memories now decades old (but not forgotten). I wonder how many times we parents let them go by un-noticed–the magic moments with our children? Wonderful, the way you’ve captured these few. Thanks.

  72. I love this Galit. it’s just, perfect. I want this. (not now of course, I’m enjoying the 104 degree heat index at the moment, but some day… I want this.) XO friend.