Disappointment, sadly, is one of those inevitable feelings we all encounter at various points in our lives. It can come as the result of finding a disproportionate amount of Tootsie rolls in your Halloween haul, not landing the job you really wanted, the Lost series finale, or finding out that Lego discontinued their Beatles set before you’ve had a chance to buy the final one…poor Ringo. Recent events in The Beandricks household involving fevers and stomach bugs preventing us from going on a planned adventure to Great Wolf Lodge this weekend, have reminded us that, while disappointment is inevitable, we’re pretty darn good at applying our family motto of ‘making the best of it’.
To be clear: the kiddos actually had no idea that we were planning to go, and we are wise enough to know that it’s better to keep it that way. So when I speak of the feeling of sadness, I am speaking strictly to the feelings and emotions of Alison and myself. For those who may not have been to G.W.L. as a 41-year old kid: It. Is. AWESOME! The waterpark is filled with different areas of play involving slides, buckets, a lazy river, slides, a wave pool, an indoor hot tub, an outdoor heating pool, and slides! Outside of that there are plenty of cool things to explore and interact with throughout the facility, and I was pretty excited that, compared to the four years ago when we last visited, the kids would now be old enough to explore these things with me…as well as go on a few of the bigger-kid slides together. Alas, given the circumstances this will not be the case, and so Alison and I wallow in our misery as the kids remain happily naive to what could have been today. That said, we are pretty good at adapting to and coping with our situation, and so while we don’t ignore or reject the sadness, we do enjoy finding ways to turn things around.
We’ve saved ourselves a long drive, for example, which means we now have some more time back in our day to accomplish the things we’ve pushed off for so long: designing next year’s calendar, preparing our Christmas cards, cuddling on the couch to watch a few holiday specials, and, if I play my cards right: getting our tree earlier than planned.
The art of subtly takes practice and patience; I can’t just come right out and state “Let’s get the tree today”, no, no, a statement like that is destined for rejection. But if I start to suggest that the weather might take a turn later in the week, followed by observations such as “Sorry, my love, I know that the totes with the tree decorations are in our way right now, but it’s only for another week or two, then we can have this space back.” well then, now we’re on the right path. Pointing out that we’re all home today and could really benefit from an inclusive activity that won’t exude too much energy or infect others with whatever plagues our household, is a quick win in the ‘what other options to we have for today column’. Not that I’m trying to be manipulative here; I’m merely trying to take a negative experience for the day and turn it into something joyful, while still involving the entire family. Yeah, that’s all it is.
Jokes aside, we do, as a family, make every attempt to accept our situations and use them to our benefit. Rainy days are great for puddle jumping, but also for board games, puzzles and movies. Sick days are good for long naps, a little housekeeping and reading on the couch. Cancelled events, parties and outings are good for doing ‘the other things’ we’ve been meaning to do so long. It’s a coping technique that we try hard to share with our girls, as we acknowledge that “this sucks, but…”
So, yes, Lost went out on a whimper, but I got to enjoy the finale with a good group of friends at a fun party. Lego discontinued their set, but I’ve accepted the creative challenge of piecing it together myself; something I otherwise wouldn’t have opted to undertake. As for those Tootsie rolls? I know a guy who regards them as his favourite, and I’ve now got a whole bag full of bargaining candies with which to trade for what I really want. The isn’t about the glass always being half full; it’s recognizing that it’s only water and I can easily clean up whatever may have spilled then head back to the tap for a refill. Great Wolf Lodge will be there for another day; the Christmas tree farm, however, is running low on supply already, and so we had better appreciate the opportunity that’s just been given to us.