Monday, July 6, 2015

Under Cloud and Under Star

The past week has been a whirlwind of travel and family and new places and adventures. Brooklyn and Tobin were both extraordinarily brave, meeting each new person with a smile and accepting the utter upheaval of Normal.

We roadtripped to Mountain Home, about three hours away, on Thursday. As we were wending our way along narrow country roads, we kept seeing signs for a natural bridge. Because my family was all about spontaneous side road adventures and Adam's wasn't, we decided to check it out (I was motivated by fun memories, he was motivated by deprivation).

It was a really nice break to get out and walk a little - there was tiny cabin that you walked through to get to the trail, which was a very manageable half mile total. It was well worth stopping, but not a huge ordeal, and I think it helped the introverts among us prepare for the family reunion that we were headed for.

We enjoyed spending time with my mom's family, who I hadn't seen in several years (no one had met Adam...) Brooklyn found a bed of pea gravel that she industriously mined, and Tobin was delighted to be passed around and snuggled almost constantly.

Adam got to do some fishing, and rose gloriously to several challenges (such as the power going out while he was cooking dinner, thereby prompting him to successfully finish the meatloaf on the grill) and had an excellent attitude about everything (even the pop-up storm that soaked both the clothes he'd laid out to dry on his tailgate and the dry clothes he'd just changed into) and I maintained my equilibrium and sanity by retreating to a solitary bench down by the river for a few minutes of quiet whenever I was getting overloaded.

I read once that optimists tend to see themselves as lucky and pessimists as unlucky, even in the same situation, because of their attitude. The pessimist watches things go differently than they'd hoped and mourns the loss, wondering why nothing ever goes right for them - the optimist gracefully finds something to be happy about and grateful for, even when the outcome (or the journey) don't go quite as they'd planned. Positive perception and a thankful attitude go a long way toward making anything a {perceived} success.

That's important to keep in mind, I think, especially around holidays and especially around holidays with kids. There are so many variables and so many expectations, and so much potential for disappointment and frustration. A stressed mum (or dad) does not an enjoyable time make, and if the grownups can take everything in stride and find the positives in even unexpected situations, they can help set the tone for everyone else. (That doesn't mean that the overwrought toddler may not still scream for an hour and a half of the three hour drive home - after all, the only person whose actions you can control is your own, and there's only so far your influence can extend.)

I want Brooklyn and Tobin (and Adam and I) to look back in years to come and remember how much fun we had together as family, even if the fun we had wasn't the fun we'd planned. I think we all had an overall-positive time - I also think that it helped that several days of travel and family were bracketed by a day on either end with all of us home together. We spent yesterday decompressing together, and today is a jammy day for just-us-three since Adam's back at work. Just taking a break and a breath before the next plunge...

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