Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Vacation Blessings

I have a praise I'd like to share. We're on day 5 of a 2 week vacation in Florida (we're Oregonians.) Monday we milked the most out of our Disney tickets with nearly 12 hours (and 8.88 miles of walking!) at the Magic Kingdom.

The kids (6, 5, and 2) did pretty well that day, but Tuesday was a near disaster with numerous disciplinary problems as too tired kids (and parents) drove too long down to the Tampa area and tried to take care of too many little chores like laundry and groceries while adjusting to yet another new location.

I went to bed discouraged and dreading the visit to my husband's ~90 year old grandpa which was on the schedule for today. I imagined wild, wound up children bouncing off the walls in an old, cluttered house with nothing for them to do forcing us to cut our visit to 30 minutes or less. And I couldn't figure out any way to problem-solve this. My husband thought maybe we could get Grandpa to come to a nearby park with us, but I doubted he'd be willing or able. Nothing else seemed likely to work, and I'm afraid I unloaded on my husband a little more than was truly beneficial about the difficulties and stresses of a mother on "vacation."

Anyway, I found myself awake much earlier than I really wanted (my norm for traveling days even without jet lag!) and for once had the sense to grab a Bible and sit on the porch for 20 minutes before the kids found me. I prayed for God to bless our day and especially our visit with Grandpa Pete. And He did! He started by prompting my mother in law to offer us the pick of her large stash of children's books, so we had half a dozen new-to-us titles when we got to Grandpa's. Within 10 minutes of our arrival there, he was reading "Go Dog, Go" to the girls while my eldest entertained himself with a book more his own speed.

 Shortly thereafter we discovered that the old play room was relatively tidy and still stocked with fun toys from 3 or more generations. All three kids proceeded to entertain themselves nicely - and even more importantly, peacefully - for at least an hour. We were able to stay as long as we wanted and have a nice visit despite the fact Grandpa wasn't up to the nice dinner out we'd hoped to give him - let alone the park.

Sure, there was some fighting and griping and sniping in the car, but with my mother-in-law in the front passenger seat having a good conversation with my husband, I was relegated to the center row of the van. This allowed me to encourage, cajole, entertain, and (yes) threaten without raising my voice. I stayed calm, and the kids eventually straightened up and ended the day on a relatively good note - I even had really good bedtime conversations with the 5 year old who thinks maybe she'd like a career in "helping manatees" (we learned about them on a side trip), and the 6 year old who had many biological, theological, and spiritual questions.

And they have a Mommy with a renewed commitment to starting the rest of our vacation days with prayer!