34 days until departure.
Today was supposed to be a fun day — a 1.5 hour drive to see the great-grandparents and celebrate Great-Grandma’s 88th birthday. But, Missa B got sick yesterday. A 100.6 fever in the middle of the night solidified the fact that she couldn’t go see “The Greats” for fear of passing on something to them. It also ensured that plans to have dinner at a friend’s house were cancelled for tonight — I think this is 5th time we have tried to get together.
JJ and Hubs did go to The Greats, however, which left Missa B and me home together. We had some breakfast and then settled onto the couch to read a chapter of the final Harry Potter book (we committed to finishing the series before the trip).
As we lay down, I mentioned how the fact that she was sick made me think about what would happen if one of us got sick on the day we were departing (just typing it out makes me think I’ve cursed myself…too many Harry Potter curses on my mind). We talked about how bad it would be to fly across the ocean sick, but agreed that it would have to happen.
Which led into a really interesting discussion about how things could, and probably will, go wrong on the trip. It turns out that she had talked with her grandpa about this who told her that some of his best experiences have happened when things have gone wrong on trips, and he therefore ended up doing something completely unplanned. (No idea if that is true or not, Grandpa, but THANK YOU!)
Now, one would think that with all the travels I’ve done, I would be a bit more flexible. But, I’m not. We all have our faults, and an inability to be spontaneous is one of mine. I often allow myself to stress out when something goes wrong instead of going with the flow. Not a good example for the family. So, I told Missa B about how when Hubs and I were in Cinque Terre, there was a train strike. We took a boat to another town, only to have the weather turn bad, and for us to be stuck in the town for 9 hours. I stressed out, making us go to the station every time I heard a rumor about a train possibly making the trip. Hubs was calm, wanting to lay on the rocks by the water.
It wasn’t like we would have been completely stranded. We even met a nice Canadian couple who offered to put us up in their rented apartment for the night if we ended up stuck in town. But, no, I continued to stress and didn’t enjoy myself nearly as much as I could have done.
So, I told Missa B. that my goal was to be more relaxed when things go awry and to see what we could learn from whatever happens. “Yeah, Mom — if you can’t do anything about it, then you just have to see how it goes, right? Something good could end up happening!”
Oh, what we can learn from our kids.
Although I shouldn’t have been surprised. This is the same kid who, when she was stressed out about something at school, woke up in the middle of the night and wrote herself this note to put next to her bed:
I’m thinking that may need to be our trip motto.
Then I turned the tables. “So, Missa B — that’s what I want to work on during the trip. What do you want to learn about yourself or improve while we’re gone?”
As she paused to think, I realized that I was probably asking a question beyond her reach. Kids her age are learning so much; how can they think about what they want to personally gain? That takes a lot of introspection for a 9 year old.
I underestimated her.
“I want to learn what it’s like to be an outsider. I want to see how people treat me, and how it makes me feel. Are they nice to me? Are they unkind because I can’t speak a language? And, if they are not nice, how do I feel? I think that will help me when I meet people in the future. I have never been an outsider, so I really don’t understand how they feel. But now I will, and that will help me be kinder when I meet new people.”
Oh, what we can learn from our kids.