We were on our way to a spontaneous surprise mini vacation with the kids to Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, MI, which was in part a thoughtful gift from my parents. We stayed up late one night to book the date and noticed the clause about a fee when canceling or rescheduling less than a week before the arrival date. I told Dave that was kind of hard to predict in the wintertime because of illness and allergies. I felt a knot at the pit of my stomach as I said it. Have I just jinxed the whole thing? Good old’ Murphy is going to have a field day with this.
When traveling with small children, it’s been my experience that if something can go wrong…it will. Our family vacations are often filled with a series of unfortunate events, mishaps and miserable circumstances that leave us, (maybe more me) never wanting the leave the house again. Each one is unique in its ability to test what I am made of and feels more like some type of mom warrior dash or basic training than making fun memories for me. Zack doesn’t even remember half the cool stuff I did for him. Do you remember that time when we had an under the sea themed birthday? Nope.
Despite this feeling I had, this time was going to be different. The kids were a little older now and I was in a better mental state.
A week before the vacation… Lily got sick with a head cold. This doesn’t sound like a big deal. I have time right? No. This sucks on multiple levels because Miss Lily has bad indoor and outdoor allergies and is currently on allergy shots. If she is sick, she can’t get her shot, which was about to expire. Not only that but because of those allergies, a cold often times would send her into a sinus infection. And it doesn’t stop there… A cold isn’t just a cold; it’s a Trojan horse that takes out the whole family for a month. Sure enough, a couple of days after Lily got sick, Jackson, who also has those pesky allergies, started showing symptoms too. Great two down, two to go and less than a week to Vacation day. This is going according to Murphy’s plan indeed.
With only three days left, my husband comes to me with a problem. He has had a cyst on his tailbone for some time. He was told by a doctor to leave it alone unless it really started bothering him. One look at this thing and I could tell it was infected. As if this mom gig wasn’t hard enough; now I have become the local Practicing Physician, Nurse and now wife to the most stubborn man I have ever met.
So, I told him my recommendation to go to the doctor ASAP, which he immediately dismissed as expected. I gave him supporting facts for my case, he still said no. Finally, with only 3 days left until Vacation, I called the doctor myself. I really hate it when it comes to this, but I’ve already saved the man from blood poisoning once. This doesn’t inspire much confidence that he will take care of himself and I’d like to keep him around for a bit; preferably in good condition. After talking to the nurse, she tells me that it has been over three years since he has been seen and that he had to go through as a new patient again. Great, now our only option is urgent care.
After pleading my case one last time, he still dismissed me yet again. He left me no choice. I just stood there looking at him with my hands on my hips and a glare that only a mother can reproduce. He turned around in his office chair and met my mom gaze head-on. At that moment, he knew what he had to do. It was the only way out without it without me losing my shit. He quietly went to Urgent Care where they lanced and drained the cyst, then gave him a prescription for some antibiotics and sent him painfully on his way.
For the record, I can see why he wanted to wait until after the trip, but the risk of the infection spreading was too great. I didn’t tell him to get it lanced; he let them do that on his own. I can only imagine how much that hurt. Here we are, two days out from a vacation at a water park and he can’t go in the water. Touché Murphy. Touché. I didn’t expect that one.
You see, I actually detest water parks. I think they are gross. Think about how many kids and people are in the same little bit of water. Gross. My husband feels the same way, but we are doing this for the kids and I was going to make him go in the water, citing my very sensitive skin to chlorine as the reason. I also don’t like to wear a bathing suit. I am very proud of my weight loss, but losing 210lbs and having 2 kids does a toll on one’s body and thinking about it triggers memories of being body shamed publicly. However, instead of looking at this like a tragedy that would affect my entire trip, I decided to be the observer and see the opportunities for growth and understanding. I’m through letting myself get in the way of enjoying that which is already mine.
The day before the trip, I see Zack in the morning as he leaves for school and I can tell in an instant that he now has the beginning signs of the head cold. Great. No surprise here, I already knew it was coming. Bring it on Murphy! Let’s see what you got.
Four hours later, Dave finally gets up with the same cold and a very sore rear end. Awesome. It’s working out just how I expected. Well, mines the whole sore rear end. That one was new, I must admit. I can only let out a laugh at the sheer comedic tragedy unfolding before me. Luckily being as the observer has given me a different perspective. For aren’t I lucky that I get to live a family comedy?
Despite the illnesses, we trudged on… Not because we wanted to infect other people. No, the chlorine takes care of that. Because there was a charge if we had to reschedule and you know what? Something like this would have happened no matter what. If it wasn’t illnesses and cysts, it would have just been something else. There are important lessons and experiences to be observed here and when life throws you a challenge you embrace what it has to offer as a mean of personal growth and well, to simply know that you are truly alive and can overcome any obstacle.
Once we finally reached our destination, we headed straight for the water park. I sent Dave ahead with the kids while took a moment to get my swimsuit on. It was time to bite the bullet. I had brought 2 different suits just in case I felt horrible in one. The first one I tried on actually fit pretty good. Now there was the problem with my legs. That is where I carry my excess skin and weight. I stepped out of my emotions to become the observer again. From there, I decided there was nothing I could do about my skin so my only real option was to accept and embrace it. This is my body. It is all I have. Might as well walk with pride and go join my kids’ right. Besides, it wasn’t THAT bad. I had suspected that perhaps I had been magnifying my fears and even reliving the trauma every time I thought about putting the bathing suit on. I searched deep inside for what it was that really bothered me and then I told myself the likely hood of getting public ridicule again would be low, especially in a family setting.
I could feel my leg skin swaying and jiggling as I walked down the hallway to the water park. Even though I was covered by a thigh length sweater, I felt naked as I entered the bustling main lobby where guests checked in and out. I made it to the elevators and down to the park, I was in. I found my family and now was the moment of truth. I had to take the sweater off. Lily squealed with excitement when she saw my bathing suit. She said, “Mommy, are you are wearing a dress in the pool?” I explained that it was just a type of bathing suit and she smiled back in approval. Meanwhile, Jackson has waddled up and hugged me around my thighs, then kissed my skin. He loves my excess skin and plays with it whenever he gets a chance. Bless their hearts, it’s like they somehow knew that I needed a little reinforcement. I went on to have fun going down slides and playing in the water. No one said a thing. I even noticed an approving glance from my husband.
This trip would indeed be a test of my courage, strength, and perseverance and I’m proud that I embraced it head-on. It’s amazing how powerful the mind can be. It’s up to us what we plant in our head. This is why positive and mindful thinking is so important.
I might not have embraced if this crazy set of circumstances didn’t happen. Thanks, Murphy; maybe all this time you’ve been trying to show me something instead of ruining my life. I never thought about it from that perspective. As the observer, I was able to detach from some of the emotion of it and embrace it as an opportunity to learn and grow. I know this was long. Thanks for reading.