Confession time...I had a meltdown at Disney World. I know. I KNOW! I am embarrassed even typing that sentence. We were at the "happiest place on earth", for crying out loud! Kids have meltdowns; mature, responsible adults do not. Right? Well call me an immature momma because I went full out "Grumpy" on my family.
Here's what happened...
Looking back over the years, I'm ashamed to notice a pattern. It pretty much boils down to expectations. I expect that if we are paying for a vacation we are going to get every penny's worth. I want to pack in as much fun and experience and memories in to those 4-7 days that I can say confidently, " YES! That was worth it."
Having two kids, and having traveled with them since they were very young, I know all about down time and taking breaks. I'm good with that. We all need breaks. What I get impatient with is just not wanting to do anything. I hate to just sit on vacation; it seems so unproductive. So on about day 4 of our trip, when my family (husband included) did not want to go back to the parks but instead just sit on the beach at Ft. Wilderness campground...well, I got a bit put out.
What it looked like...
My husband is a huge fan of all the National Lampoon's Vacation movies, so we watch them a lot. I'm sure you all have seen them a time or too as well. I like to think that I am Ellen, patient loving wife to an over eager husband Clark. No. I have recently become aware that I am Clark! I am the one that builds up expectations to the point of impossibility. I also have become aware that, like Clark, I can have over-the-top, ranting meltdowns when the perfect scenario turns out less than perfect.
So, in your mind right now, picture any of the "Vacation" movie "Clark Griswold" flip outs. If you need to Google a video of this, go ahead, I'll wait.
You got it? Well that's what it seemed like at the time...in my head...but I am not the type to make a spectacle of myself in public. I'm pretty sure no one noticed the daggers shooting from my eyes at my sweet husband. Surely no one heard the passive aggressive remarks to my kids. Not one of those happy campers scattered around the beach paid the least bit of attention to my fowl scowl, tapping foot and crossed arms. If they did, they certainly thought I was impersonating "Grumpy" dwarf.
You know who else was unconcerned? My dear family. There they were: the kids trying to build a sandcastle and my husband reclining on a beach chair, eyes closed and hands behind his head. "Fine", I told them. "Well I will just plop myself down in this chair and not do anything either!" "If you all want to sit HERE when you could be having fun over THERE (flinging an arm dramatically towards the Magic Kingdom), that's fine with me!'
To which they all happily replied, "OK".
What happened next...
I was defeated. My family essentially put me in time out with their attitudes. They were great! There they were all relaxed and having fun doing non-park stuff. Me, I just brooded and mentally ticked off the seconds till I could try my next pitch for heading back to the parks.
Then staring out at the water, I started thinking.(There is something so peaceful about the Ft. Wilderness beach area) I stared at the water and listened to the hum of the boats as they taxied guests and I just chilled. I sat and did nothing. I calmed and with a calm body comes a calm mind. I looked around at my loves: husband almost asleep, daughter playing with son in the sand and it was a truly beautiful moment. A calm, non-planned, outside-the-parks fun time.
We must have stayed on the beach for an hour or two. I got some of my favorite pictures of all times and all was well.
Here are some photos from that time...I would have missed these photo ops !
What I learned...
My name is Joni...