Our family of five has been having a streak of random days lately. Days spent doing random things not because we just feel like it but because whatever we had planned out did not quite work out. Sounds exciting, but when you’re supposed to be getting things done and end up with nothing, it’s no fun. Like the other week, we made plans of going to the National Museum to take advantage of the free entrance. We headed there and was greeted by a very long queu of people waiting to get inside. We stood in line for five minutes then decided to just come back another day even if we have to pay because waiting for an hour to get inside only to have one hour left to look around just wasn’t worth it. So we all hopped back in the car and realized how near we were to Nayong Pilipino where, at that same day, they were having an art fest. We drove a around the block to get there and just when we were unbuckling our seat belts to get out, rain started to pour. It escalated pretty quickly too! So we drove away again and ended up at the mall — not where I wanted to spend that day, obviously. But we had to kill time somewhere dry.
Another time, Kayo and I cleared out a day to have our licenses renewed, and just when we got there we discovered their office was closed because they were moving to a new location. We went to a different office only to find out we were misinformed and I didn’t get to bring all the required documents, so, once again, I didn’t accomplish what I had set out to do that day.
Those are only a few of the many instances these last few weeks when things took a weird turn in our schedules — our lives — and I somehow found myself feeling very defeated. Kids getting sick, Kayo getting held up at work, bad weather, bad restaurant service, etc etc. On top of all that, there is, of course, the horrendous Manila traffic we’ve had to endure.
At the end one of those days that “didn’t quite work,” while driving home, Summer, our eldest, told me how she didn’t have a fun day. I was a bit taken aback because it’s the first time I’ve ever heard her say that. I immediately wanted to convince her otherwise, to tell her that we did other things and that those were fun too, but I stopped myself because, in truth, the day sucked. We spent most of it in the car stuck in traffic and didn’t get to do the things we promised her we’d do. So I acknowledged her honesty and simply said, “Yeah, babe. Sometimes we have bad days and those really happen. Let’s go home, take a bath and sleep. Maybe tomorrow we’ll have a better, more fun, day.”
At that moment I knew our four year old daughter was getting a glimpse of something important about life. It’s not that I’m teaching her to be negative or that I’m being such a downer parent. But I think it’s crucial that our kids learn that life is not all about fun fun fun. There will be days when we don’t get what we want or do what we want, things don’t turn out how we expect it to, but that it’s all good and part of life. You do what you can and keep hoping for the best.
It also helps to have a husband who is always ready to make the most of situations whether good or bad. Kayo will always save the day by coming up with creative alternatives to ruined plans. When we missed the museum, he took us to ramen for dinner (and what superb ramen it was I must say!) at a place where there was also a water fountain show with fire balls spewing out of it. Of course, we all enjoyed that! After that failed trip to LTO, Kayo took me out for a spontaneous movie date, which I realized I really needed.
As I was talking to Summer that evening, I can’t help but feel like I needed to hear it all for myself too. I’ve had too many such experiences that one would expect I’d be an expert by now and handle bad days like a pro. But no, when plans fall through and schedules get messed up, like Summer, I still get badly disoriented and very disappointed. It affects my mood and my attitude. So seeing my own child experience a bad day and recognize her disappointment helped me and is helping me put things in perspective. Things may turn out bad, even random, but it’s all good. Go home, take a bath, sleep, move on. Things can and will get better.