Thursday, June 20, 2013

Expectations of Magical Moments

When visiting the “Magic Kingdom” one would expect a dreamlike vacation. While I’ve never been to Florida, I did experience the magic of Disneyland, California as a child. We knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as children of a self-employed carpenter and stay-at-home-mom! I remember being encouraged to share all of our loose change in a large coin bank that was being saved for our vacation. Dad had a goal of finishing laying the brick on our home which we all helped with in an effort to make our dreams come true. In hindsight, I can now imagine the sacrifices my parents must have made to make this magical vacation happen.

For my dad to take two weeks off of work to drive out west was unheard of. I don’t remember him as a man who could relax easily. Construction is a hard-working job where he had to take advantage of the good weather in the summer months to get his work done to provide for our family. The fact that we gardened much of our five acre property didn’t make it any easier to get away. Somehow, he was able my parents were able to let go of everything to create memories that are cherished in my dad’s absence today.

(My mom teases me that I always talk about the way my dad created memories. I do realize the part my mom played. It’s just that my mom was always there for us. I didn’t long for her time the way I did my dad’s. Thank you, mom, for being humble enough to cultivate memories that likely left you feeling on the sidelines. I’m grateful for all you did to make family memories happen.)

While we were given incentive to make our vacation happen, my husband and I are taking a different approach. For the past couple of months, we’ve been planning a SURPRISE vacation for our kids. With our oldest entering junior high in the fall, we want to be sure to create our own enchanted experience before she loses the simple awe that comes with being a child. More than anything, I want them to have memories to take with them into adulthood.

So here I am busy planning a fairytale vacation, all the while doing my best to keep it from our children. That means I’m still hosting an open house for my daughter’s 11th year of life. And when my mother-in-law’s neighbor unexpectedly gifted us with a set of bedroom furniture, we decided it was God’s nudging to graduate Nikelle from the dorm style bedroom shared with her two younger sisters to her very own room (birthday wish list #1). Ideally, this would all happen before her birthday party (one week before we leave on vacation).

I had just about given up on this idea when grandma offered to take the girls overnight. It was the ideal opportunity to set my plan into motion. I was determined to create the best birthday surprise for her, fresh paint and all. Yep, I’m crazy… and I want it all to be perfect.

I once heard it said that if you procrastinate on projects until you can do it just right, you are a perfectionist. That defines me to a tee. It’s also why I get nothing accomplished.

Last weekend I finally admitted the need to give up on my idea of perfect. Reality hit that I had bit off more than I could chew and I had to admit my limitations. My daughter was surprised with her own room painted exactly the same way it was when she entered the world 11 years ago (with a mural of Little Suzy’s Zoo characters in Noah’s Ark). It doesn’t match the rest of the décor but we could still present her with her own room.

Nikelle was so overjoyed that she was choked up as she thanked God for her own room during family prayer time that evening. Later, as I explained my desire to paint her room, my daughter surprised me. “I don’t want you to paint over the mural! Carrie made that for me when I was born.”

I need to remember my daughter’s response. While I thought I had let her down, she was thrilled. Rarely, do my girls’ react to the disappointment I create for them.
As we set out to surprise them with a magical vacation, I must let go of my expectations. (PLEASE REMEMBER WE ARE STILL TRYING TO SURPRISE THEM. SHHH!!!) The enchantment will not be in the experiences I try to create for them. Our children have no hopes for this experience. They don’t even know where they are going! Magic happens because we are sharing this time together away from all the demands of home. That’s the captivating experience I’ll be reaching for this summer!
What expectations are you setting your children up for that you need to let go of this summer?

(Today is the Third Thursday of the month. Time for the Hearts at Home Home Blog Hop! This month's topic: No More Perfect Vacations. Head over to Jill's blog
to read more.)

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