Enjoy the Unexpected

With summer in full swing, the children were having a great time. The ladies in my neighborhood who sat together at the club were busy working on their tans, the children were intent on splashing us during adult swims and Junior took his first dive off the diving board. My heart caught in my throat but he did a great job and mastered whatever fear he may have had. I treated him by allowing him to order lunch for himself and lunch for a friend at the snack bar. Daisy sat on the side of the pool with her feet in the water clapping every time he dove off. He nearly knocked Steve over when he came home from work in his excitement to let him know about the big accomplishment.

Steve brought up the possibility of us going to spend time with his parents during the summer and I tried valiantly to change the subject. Visiting his mother wasn’t fun under normal circumstances and a long visit might really try my patience. I told him that I would consider it but I really wanted to know what prompted the idea. We had never gone for any long visits to his family previously. Daisy asked me if we were going on a trip as I helped her get ready to read at bedtime. I was torn between being truthful and telling her the chances were slim and letting her have some hope about at least having a trip to think about. I asked her what her preference would be and she answered diplomatically that she would go if I wanted her to. I sighed. I really didn’t want Daisy to start being a people pleaser so early in life. We get caught up in doing the right thing for the wrong reasons in an effort to spare someone else’s feelings or go along with the crowd. I know there have been times when I chose not to follow my own desires and regretted it. If I could discourage that trait in Daisy, she would be able to choose her own path more easily.

Junior was still excited about his feat at the club. I asked him why he chose today and he let me know that some other boys at the club were talking about diving and he wanted to be the first. That was a brave statement. I had never considered whether my children were brave or not before. Up to this point, I was more focused on the obedient side of them. Raising children to be reliable adults is a process and I needed to think of ways to encourage more good traits in them.

Before we turned in, I asked Steve about his idea of visiting his parents. Steve admitted that it wasn’t the first thing he had planned this summer, but they were getting older and he thought that perhaps he should reach out to them more often to see if they now needed him. Very altruistic. Steve’s dad was still working and they didn’t have any big health issues but I liked that he was thinking ahead about what the future would hold for them. I really wasn’t certain that his mother would like us to visit. She tends to be more formal than us and my lifestyle did not include dressing for dinner every evening. After we discussed it for awhile, Steve decided that he would start by calling more often to check on them. That sounded like a good start.

At breakfast, Junior wanted to get going because he was working with Zettie Louise today. Daisy was going to join me for grocery shopping and Steve was off to work. Before he left for his job, Junior asked Steve about whether we would be going to take a trip. Junior said that he wanted to let Zettie Louise know so that she didn’t count on his being available every day. Steve announced that he had actually decided that we were going to take a trip but it wasn’t the one he talked about at dinner. My head snapped around to listen while I placed Steve’s eggs on a plate and when I looked back, one was hanging off the edge of the plate. I righted it and placed it down in front of Steve, gazing down at him and waiting for this big announcement that he had not yet discussed with me. Steve realized that we were all looking at him and waiting for more information. It was at this point that Steve let us know that we were going back to the lake this summer and that Buck thought we should spend three weeks there this year. Buck was going on a trip to visit June’s parents for a month and the lake house would be all ours while they were away. Well, that wasn’t bad news. As he was leaving, Steve asked me if a longer stay at the lake was alright with me this year, and I agreed that it was good news. The only problem I had with it was the surprise element. I really did not like surprises; I am a planner. Steve pecked my cheek goodbye but I refused to smile.

As I thought about my reaction later, I realized how silly I was. It was a great gift to get to spend time at the lake; we all loved our time there together and I knew Steve could use a restful vacation and more time with the kids. I even could spend some time reading and preparing for the fall classes I had chosen. This was unexpected good news and not a burden. When Steve came home, I apologized for the way I acted and told him that I had started planning our vacation. This little episode taught me a new trait that I would try and teach to the children. When an opportunity presents itself, don’t make it into something bad just because it wasn’t your original idea. Stop for a moment and think about the goodness of the unexpected.


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