Attempting to Handle Disappointment When Plans Change as a Parent
This weekend I was supposed to be on a romantic getaway with my husband in the San Juan Islands of Washington. We would eat, sleep, tour the island on mopeds, and say hello to a few whales. We would reconnect in a way we haven’t been able to do for more than a few hours since our sons were born. That all changed when I heard “Mommy!” just hours before we were supposed to leave. My oldest son Dek had thrown up. He was covered in it and so was his bed. Now normally this is not a great a way to wake up in the morning. Who among us really likes dealing with puke? Before a trip is even worse. My euphoria for our trip began to sink.
Confessions of a bad mother
A good mom would cancel everything immediately, comfort her son, and not make her friend even think about coming over to deal with such a mess. I am not a great mom. I’ve never claimed to be. Apparently I’m not a good friend either. I called my friend Beth, told her the situation, and gave her the choice. I could cancel, she could watch the boys for the night anyway and we would just cut our plans short and head home the next morning, or I could turn this into a girls getaway with her. Being the much better friend she opted to stay with the kids anyway and let us leave. So we did.
Now before you get up in arms about my bad parenting, I knew what was wrong with Dek. A stomach bug had been making its way around town and every kid ran the usual course with it. He wasn’t feverish or particularly lethargic. He was happy playing, watching movies, and hang out. If things turned for the worse I knew we could be home relatively quickly. Mike and I hopped in the car with our bags and were on our way to catch a ferry with very little hesitation.
It’s all downhill from here
Half way through our drive Mike turned to me and said, “I think I need to pull over.” I looked at him. He was white as a sheet. This was not good. A powerful wave of nausea had hit him. It passed, but we both knew this could just be the beginning. I made the call. We were going home.
To say that I was disappointed would be putting it mildly. The logical side of me knew this was the right choice. If Mike got sick our romantic getaway would consist of him hanging out in a bathroom for 24 hours. Not exactly either of our idea of a good time. If I got sick it would be double the porcelain fun. On the inside I was sobbing though. We needed this break. I needed this time to reconnect with my husband, who had been working late hours for more than 3 months. I needed to have him all to myself, without interruption, without 5am wake ups, and without needing to take care of anyone for 24 hours. I wasn’t going to get that time, and honestly I don’t know when we will be able to reschedule.
In order to make myself feel better I threw myself into booking our summer tickets when we got home. I even played with the idea of flying to Spain next week with my frequent flier miles to visit a friend. My immediate reaction to my cancelled travel plans was to make more travel plans. Surely that would make up for my lost weekend? If not, at least I knew I was going somewhere again soon, even if it wasn’t alone with my hubby.
Lesson somewhere in all of this
At the end of the day I’m glad we all stayed home. Dek was comforted by the fact that his parents were around. We were able to keep solid foods away from him and then dole them out slowly to make sure he kept everything down. Mike was able to crash in bed for a few hours when we got home. He did not end up hugging the toilet all night, but food was not a big favorite in our house for a while. Mercifully Ty has stayed healthy through the weekend.
The lesson in all of this (I guess) is that plans change. We’ve got kids, that’s just life. This doesn’t mean that I can’t be sad when my one couple’s getaway in over 4 years gets cancelled. I can mourn, I can get a little angry, but in the end, this is life, and that’s OK. We’ll have more adventures; we will have more disappointments. I’ll just keep rolling with the punches, complain a bit about it, and make plans for our next trip. I guess this is a good time to get creative with my Perfect Date Night in list.