On the way to our one and only family trip this summer (we had a lot of medical issues keeping us home) at 11PM, in the rain, about to go over the pass, 4 hours away from home, 20 minuets after our last potty brake, Alice has to pee. She learned quickly how to get me to pull over ASAP. Here is how it goes.
Alice "Mommy I have to go potty"
Me "We just stopped, please wait"
Alice "Okay, I'll just go in my seat"
Me, pulling over as quickly as possible.
Works every time.
Well, thanks to Alice we were at a gas station when we discovered our beloved Honda was a goner. I thanked God for the 100th time that he blessed me with a husband who brings a wrench to our family vacations but the minivan was beyond saving.
Time to bust out the iPhones, call a tow truck and a hotel. Makenna was greatly distressed that "the plan" was not working out. She gets so excited for things: like shaking, can't sleep, I'm just going to burst out of my skin, excited but when plans don't work out her dreams are dashed. It's one of those moments as a parent you can see yourself so clearly it freaks you out. I am the exact same way! It's a blessing, really, we intensely experience joy. Joy like jumping into cold water. You anticipate the rush, it's going to be epic and then it's more then your scenes can take it, boom! Joy that is everything and more, it blows your mind because you haven't slept or thought of anything but this one epic thing and it's finally here. But, unfortunately we also experience epic disappointment.
So, I know how to solve her problem because I know exactly how she is feeling. I too was anticipating this evening ending differently. Over the last few days I had worked it all out in my head. I was going to staying up rediculoisly late visiting with my amazing cousin, Karen, we see only twice a year. I was going to ask her about her new job and braid her thick chocolatey brown hair. But now I'm staying up late entertaining my three hysterical children at a gas station in the middle of now wear. But I digress. Makenna is the definition of disappointed. How to snap her out of it? Get excited about something else.
So I say,
"Wow, Makenna, have you ever ridden in a tow truck?"
"No" sniffs Makenna
"I am so excited!"
She looks suspicious
"I have never ridden in a tow truck in my entire life and I get to ride in one with you! We get to all ride together for the first time!"
"In a tow truck?" followed by more sniffing
"It's going to be huge!" I exclaim throwing my arms into the air
She is sold!
And now she is dreaming, "really? You never have?", "will we still go to Seattle?"
"Oh, I think so but in a brand new van and stay in a hotel!"
They were all onboard and by the time we got into the truck, just before midnight, I don't think I have ever seen three happier kids in the middle of the night.
Claire, Makenna, Karen, Alice
Nothing changed, we just looked at our circumstances differently. We decided, as a family, to have an adventure.
My friends Hannah and Andy call each other "the kite and the anchor." I love that and it kind of makes me want to get a trendy tattoo, or at least pin one on Pinterest. Hannah is the dreamer and Andy is her rock. They are both beautiful, talented, vibrant people. God put them together, a little opposite in some really useful ways.
Nate and I are similar, each other's best friends but also very different. For example, loves guns. I have successfully avoided shooting ranges my entire life. I love to bake and draw. I don't think I have ever seen Nate bake or draw, every. We react to situations differently. Nate is a problem solver, a planner. He is self controlled and patient. Nate is the guy who run towards the bleeding car accident victim on the side of the road. He is a helper. I am the dreamer, the optimist. Nate pays the bills and I, well, spend the money. Nate plans weekend projects and I'm looking for every opportunity to have fun.
Our marriage has made us more like each other over time. Nate hammed-it-up the night of our minivan fiasco like a professional actor. I know he was not actually overjoyed to be working on our van in the rain in the middle of the night or thrilled to pay for a tow truck and an overpriced hotel room but you would never have known. Nate because the kite, a dreamer for his girls.
He is teaching me how be "the anchor" too. I'm still an emotional person and my impulse to have "a moment" that night was strong, very strong. I need to let go of my expectations, (which cause those giant Mommy and Makenna melt downs) not place expectations on other people. Over the years my dreams have been dashed much less.
How we handled the van braking down really set the tone for our entire trip. We were a day behind after having to find a new vehicle in Moses Lake. Our carefully planned itinerary was out the window, we had an adventure instead... great trip.
P.S. I love doing life with you Nate Leitz ;)