In my last post, I shared about our restaurant incident where Joel threw up—over and over again. (How long will it be before I feel safe in a restaurant again?) But that . . . was just the beginning of the story.
We drove across the road to our hotel and I went into the lobby to check-in. The receptionist handed me the key cards and told me where our room was. Just as I was headed out the door, I turned back. “Oh, can you tell me where the pool is?”
“I’m sorry, but the pool is closed for maintenance.”
Only 10 minutes earlier, our lovey dinner had turned into a nightmare and now the pool was closed too. “But we came here to go swimming,” I said. I was trying not to whine.
“I’m sorry, but the Four Seasons Pool is open until 9:00.”
I went back to the van and broke the news to the family. We contemplated going to the public pool, but there was only an hour before closing and it just wasn’t possible to get ourselves and six kids dressed and in and out of the pool in that time.
“What about going to another hotel?” Kevin asked.
“None of the other hotels will let us stay with six kids. Remember they told us not to come back to Esther’s Inn unless we get two rooms. That would cost a fortune and I don’t really want some of the kids in a separate room—do you?”
Kevin shook his head, “Let’s just go to the park.”
This whole scenario felt very familiar to me as we dove out of the parking lot. One year ago we’d taken our kids on a trip through the Rocky Mountains. I had told the kids, “We’re going to go to Fort Steele, and they have a real steam engine train that you can ride in!” But the train wasn’t running at the time so we skipped Fort Steele. Everyone was disappointed. “I’m so sorry you guys, but when we get to Jasper we’re going to ride in an air tram to the top of the mountain!”
But when we got to Jasper, we learned that there were no vacancies in any of the hotels. We went to the information centre and got a list of Bed and Breakfast accommodations and started calling. Nothing.
I rarely cry, but that did it. We’d missed the last air tram. There was nothing to do but keep on driving and arrive home in the middle of the night. I must have cried for two hours! It just hurt me so much that I’d broken my word to my kids.
Here I was again. I’d told the kids that we were going to Prince George to go swimming. During the whole 100 kilometre drive, the kids chattered excitedly about showing Daddy how they could swim and then I’d let them down—broken my word. It’s not your fault, I told myself. You can sit here and cry, or you can choose joy and go have fun with your kids. I chose joy.
The kids ran around, climbed on the monkey bars, pretended to drive the fire truck, flew down the slides, and played tag. “You’re it!” shouted Owen as he tapped me on the shoulder and gave me an impish grin.
I laughed and started chasing kids. We sprinted around the playground, tagging each other back and forth. I stopped when an elderly woman shot me a dirty look for nearly colliding with her.
We walked around the beautiful park and had a lovely evening. I snuck up to Kevin and whispered in his ear. “Can we go swimming at the public pool in the morning?”
“But we don’t have any towels.”
“Maybe I could borrow some from the hotel, or we could use Joel’s blankets.”
“Blankets?” Kevin raised his eyebrows at me and then smiled. “If it’s open in the morning we can go.”
I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. I had learned my lesson on not giving into disappointment and we would still get to go swimming!
I checked the pool’s schedule on my phone and it said they would be open at 9:00, so we told the kids we would get to go swimming after all and headed to the pool after breakfast.
The parking lot looked suspiciously empty as we pulled up to the pool. I ran to the door and gave it a pull, but it didn’t budge. I looked up at the schedule on the door. Closed.
“Sorry kids, but the pool is closed.” I can’t believe this! God, please help me to hold it together, I prayed. Joel started bawling as we drove out of the parking lot. I think everyone else felt like crying too.
We had some tension as we discussed going to the other pool in town. Kevin was just ready to go home. He’d had it. Besides we really didn’t like the other pool. I wanted to go, but not if he was going to be miserable.
We ended up driving across town to the other pool. We sat in the parking lot and waited for it to open. The tension was thick.
It turns out we did go swimming and we did have fun. The kids got to show their dad how they could swim, we floated in the “river,” and the kids scared me by jumping off of the diving board without a life jacket. (They actually can swim!)
At home later that day, Kevin gave me a hug. “Wow, that was a terrible trip,” he said while hanging his head on my shoulder. Sometimes all you can do is laugh. We did. :)