This past weekend, my family and I went on a mini-vacation to Grand Lake, Colorado to celebrate the end of summer before my oldest starts school again. It was fun, but it was not quite what I expected.
If you have been reading my posts for a while, you might remember when I wrote in May about expectations, but if you need a refresher, here's the link to that message: https://www.thepartnerhood.com/post/what-did-you-expect
Anyway, one of the main things we did over the weekend was visit a nearby hot springs. It was about 20 minutes away from where we were staying. We wanted to get there fairly early so we could spend enough time before heading back for our youngest's nap time in the early afternoon. I originally wanted to go there when we planned the trip, but the morning of, I was having second thoughts.
I worried maybe it would take too much time out of the day and be too far away from the hotel with two little kids (if you're a parent, you'll know a 20-minute one-way trip is easily an hour round-trip).
I was nervous about everyone's moods since we all barely slept the night before.
I thought about it costing a bit much and wondered if it would be worth it if we had a pool and hot tub at the hotel anyway.
I didn't know if the kids would even like it.
But my husband said we had already come all this way, so why not go?
So Saturday morning, we packed up our towels, swimsuits, changes of clothes, sunscreen, and various other things. My husband went to take our dog out to do her business before putting her in her crate while we were gone while I got myself and the kids ready to go.
As luck would have it, our dog (who is 14 years old and almost completely deaf, by the way) did not make it outside before relieving herself. Sometimes this happens, so we actually planned ahead and brought stain remover and a roll of paper towels just for situations like this. Plus, we have two messy kids, so stain removal is like a second job. I somewhat think that it's funny we prepared for this and basically expected it as part of our vacation. What we didn't expect was that she would do it AGAIN right as he was cleaning up the first accident.
It was frustrating, but my husband took it in stride and we didn't let it dampen our morning too much.
But it doesn't stop there.
We quickly gathered our things, said goodbye to our dog, and headed out the door.
When we arrived to the hot springs and parked the car, we realized we forgot the bag that had our changes of clothes and sunscreen inside after all the craziness with our dog. Being that we were going to be in the sun for at least two hours, the sunscreen was a must. The kids were only wearing their swimsuits and riding back to the hotel in either cold, wet swimsuits or naked was not an option.
Plan B it is then!
My husband graciously offered to drive back to the hotel, get the bag, and come back while we stayed in a covered area out of the sun.
I was able to occupy them for some of the time while he was gone, but they quickly grew restless and wanted to play in the pool with the slide. I tried stalling them saying that Dad would be back soon with the sunscreen and then they could go in the pool. But to no one's surprise, that didn't work.
Being brave, I asked a nearby family if they had sunscreen we could use. Thankfully, they were very generous and said yes so I slathered my kids in borrowed sunscreen, and off we went to the pool.
Shortly after the three of us got in the water, I was playing with my toddler when my oldest decided to jump in the pool right next to where we were and splash us. As I wiped the water out of my eyes, I sputtered, "I did not expect that," and asked him not to do it again since I don't enjoy being splashed.
Another parent nearby laughed and said, "Isn't that the truth! That's like the whole idea of being a parent."
I laughed with her and we connected over parenthood being an endless series of unexpected events.
There were certainly more expectations that went way off the rails during our vacation, but I wanted to share with you a small snapshot of a crazy day in the life of my family.
Life is definitely full of the unexpected and though you can prepare for some things, you can't prepare for everything. Especially after having kids, you'll experience many things you never even dreamed of (quite a few of them dealing with bodily functions, to be honest!).
One thing you can better prepare for though is how you and your partner handle the unexpected together. When things pop up out of your control, do you let stress affect you negatively, or do you roll with it? Do you turn towards each other for support or allow conflict to take shape? Do you ask for what you need in those moments or assume your partner should know?
I'm very grateful my husband and I have a Partnerhood where we provide mutual support, try not to feed each other's stress responses, and are direct yet gentle about what we need from each other.
If you want to create a Partnerhood that will help you weather the unexpected together as a united front, check out the online program by clicking the button below:
Christie Sears Thompson
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
The Partnerhood (www.thepartnerhood.com)
Trade Winds Therapy & Relationship Coaching (www.tradewindstherapy.com)