I have been sidelined - exhausted, depleted, game over. I'm not even being that drama. And this was not looking like a place of rejuvenation this morning.
After the kids returned from their dad's, we started into our usual debate about where we were going for Sunday lunch with lots of "Fine! I just won't eat anything!" and "She always gets her way!" And then it hit me.
Girls, we're going to the Land of Medicine Buddha. Violet made a face, "I hate Chinese food!" It's not a restaurant but great idea. We're getting Chinese food, and then we're going to this beautiful place. You're not even going to believe it.
We started at the Wish Fulfilling Temple.
The kids were surprised, "What is this place?" They asked me about the people's pictures and names engraved on boxes in rows at the back of the temple, and I explained that it was people's ashes. Daisy was quiet for a couple minutes before deciding, "Mom, when you're dead. I'm bringing you here to your favorite place. You're going to love it, Mom." Sure, but don't kill me off yet, alright? The kids and I took a minute to think about our wishes - I focused on healthy and happy family - and we left a scarf offering.
As we were standing in the temple, people started streaming in, dropping to the ground to pray. Turns out, there was a gathering of Tibetan expatriots there today in traditional dress with monks chanting and incense burning and bells and everything. Awesome.
The kids were a little uncomfortable when we first started checking out the trails and steep paths through the trees, like we weren't supposed to be there, but after we found the first prayer wheel and I convinced them no one was going to yell at us if we played with it, they totally got into it.
At each shrine we came across, we left coins and the kids added flowers and acorns and even a bracelet we found on the ground.
There was absolutely no drama until we had to walk back up the hill to where we parked.
Right before we got back to the car, I asked Violet what she thought about the place, and she gave it a thumbs up, "I really like the soup."
Daisy corrected her, "You didn't have soup here. That was at Golden Buddha."