This year we escaped to the woods for Thanksgiving. We went to an all inclusive resort not too far away from the house for 5 days. I was so unbelievably excited. There were so many amazing things to do. We could hike, go to campfires, watch fireworks, learn archery, visit a pioneer Christmas village, just so many things. We would also be without television or computers. This is difficult. The children and I have some screen issues we are all dealing with one day at a time. Some are a little more willing than others.But it would still be great.
I pride myself on not setting up expectations. I fully believe it is a fabulous way to ensure disappointment. Go ahead and build up anything in your mind and I promise you, you will see it fall short pretty much every single time. Add in a couple of lively, headstrong preschoolers and you can add epic to that fail. I set up experiences and just see where it takes us. I am usually pretty good at this....usually.
Our first full day there started out beautifully. I ran around the lake just after dawn. The sunrise coming over the hills was breathtaking. I was energized and ready to watch this adventure unfold. I ran back to the room delighted to find the kids were happy upon waking and excited to get going with our day. It was going to be great.
You know, looking back there were a myriad of things going wrong even at that point. The food serve was SAD (standard american diet) and we do not eat that way. Heck, I am a vegetarian that tries to go pretty dang low in the gluten and dairy departments. Also there were only three meals a day. This is perfectly understandable. I do not expect someone else to cater either to my diet or frequent eating habits. But the children and I eat closer to 5-6 meals a day. We are grazers. I have no idea why I didn't bring our own food. I always do. The kids were also in some deep screen withdrawal. John has had some hairy trials and schedules lately and the stress was still emanating off of him. In short, we were a bunch of petulant, pouty, silly whiny pants for at least 1.5 days. I will openly nominate myself as Queen Pouts A-lot. So not cool, but there you are.
So there we were in this glorious natural setting bickering and picking at each other like toddlers desperately in need of a snack and a nap. (Pretty close description, actually.) John is the one who finally articulated our dilemma. We went to the store to load up on fresh raw fruits and veggies and other snacks we love to eat. We slowed down our schedule and allowed room to rest more. Most of all we realized it was okay to be out of sorts and all discombobulated. We have never taken a vacation with the kids outside of visiting family. Not surprising, we had some rough patches.
In the end it was great. We calmed down and truly enjoyed ourselves. The kids rode horses galore. Hannah learned archery. We star gazed and watched fireworks over the lake from our window The kids became almost obsessed with hand dipping candles. It was a great time. We laughed a lot, took naps together, and enjoyed Logan's "shows" he put on each evening to entertain us.
But you see, there was something else. There was something I did to set us all up for failure. I had expectations. Even though I swore I wouldn't and was determined to let the whole thing unfold naturally, I still did it. I pictured how this amazing family bonding experience would be and then had a mental temper tantrum when it didn't happen how I envisioned it.
So lesson learned....again. Don't have expectations, bring your own food, take naps together, and laugh uproariously when your 3 year old decides he is the emcee for the new variety show he has created, written, and starred in, all to make his family laugh and entertain them. Most of all, be so very thankful and love each other.