Allow me to explain. I expect everything in my life to run perfectly - and within my control (you see my issue already, huh)? This expectation of perfection even goes right down to our family vacations.
My daughter is away at college and last week, she was home for Spring Break. Now, last fall, we had planned to take a cruise to the Grand Cayman Islands during her Spring Break and even scheduled the event. But when God began leading us to get out of debt - we made the decision to cancel the cruise and schedule it again when things were more stable financially.
With that being said, I had still spent several months saving my dollars so we could at least take a little mini-vacation together (I still didn't want her Spring Break to be a total loss). My husband and son love to fish so we planned a little 4-day fishing trip to Grenada Lake in Mississippi.
Ah, a fishing trip. On beautiful Grenada Lake. Soaking in the warm rays of the Mississippi sun. Yeah. Right. I should have known on the first day before I even got to the hotel that things were not exactly going to go my way.
We own a construction company and buy and sell real estate as the market allows. We had been waiting several months to close on a particular piece of property and the closing had been rescheduled several times. On the morning we were to leave for Mississippi, I received an email stating we were absolutely, positively going to close on the property that day! Since my signature was the one they needed to close the deal, they asked me not to leave so we could get it done.
I did not want to ruin my family's trip so they gathered up their things and started on their 6-hour drive to the hotel in Grenada, Mississippi. My plan was to close on the property - early - and drive down separately. Anything to get this deal finalized.
I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally - at 3:00 in the afternoon - I get the call that the closing is ready and I quickly grab my things to make the hour drive to the closing. In the hustle to get out the door, I dropped my favorite Elvis Presley cup that my son had bought me and shattered it in pieces. And that was only the beginning.
As I am literally driving to the closing ready to get this done, I get a second phone call. Issue with the closing documents. Closing delayed. Never mind. Have a great trip! Seriously?
I arrived in Grenada Lake around 9:00 that evening, tired and frustrated but ready to begin this "perfect" little vacation with my family. My son and husband went fishing early the next morning and we joined them for lunch ready to go out on the boat and soak in the sun! My husband decided to try a different boat ramp when he came in for lunch so we followed him to the ramp. It was closed from flooding! So we drove to another boat ramp that a local suggested - too much brush that would damage the boat. After driving around for over an hour - still not outside enjoying the sunshine - we drove back to the original boat ramp where we had just left - and decided to launch the boat there.
Just as we all piled into the boat - life jackets on - ready to soak up the sun, the fisherman next to us said "you know there's a big storm coming in, right?" Literally, that very moment, we looked out onto the lake and every boat was coming in off the water.
We never did end up on the water. My husband and son went fishing again the next day but a cold front came through and I am not about the cold weather! It was about this time that I received a phone call from my husband stating his dad had been to the house to check on the cat - our outdoor cat - and he was stuck in the house! In my haste to leave for the trip, I had failed to check on the cat and make sure he was out. He had been in our house for two days - with no litter box. Ugh. I could only imagine what our house was going to smell like. At least my father-in-law was able to get the cat out of the house after only two days. It could have been worse.
We left Grenada Lake on a Saturday with plans to stop in Missouri for the night at a hotel that had a Jacuzzi tub. Since I had spent the entire vacation NOT being able to enjoy the sun, I was very much looking forward to the Jacuzzi tub. A little rest and relaxation.
And then we arrived at the hotel - along with the million other families who had the same idea. Every time we would walk down to the Jacuzzi area, the hot tub would be filled to capacity. No hot tub. No fishing. No boating. No sunshine. Cold front. Rain. Happy Vacation!
I was really needing some good news but remembered the cat in the house for two days - it was time to go home and discover the damages. We have a mat under the dog's water and the cat had pulled the mat out and used it as a litter box. Smart cat! Whew! That disaster was averted.
Or so I thought. Then it was time for bed. It was 11:30 at night and my husband pulled the covers back on our bed and climbed in - only to climb out just as quickly! The cat had done #2 on the dog mat but apparently decided our bed was sufficient to perform his other daily duties. If you have never smelled cat urine on a mattress, it is nasty! And this cat obviously had drank a lot of water during those two days because he used our entire king size bed to relieve himself!
We threw the mattress outside and the covers in the washer. I slept on the air mattress and my husband ended up sleeping on the couch (I think that was actually the first time in our 27 years of marriage he has ever slept on the couch)!
The smell did not come out of the mattress and it did not come out of the bed covers. So I spent my first day back from vacation buying a new mattress and new comforter! It was official - we had become the Griswolds from the Vacation movie.
Now why did I tell you this entire story? Well, for one, it was just too plain funny not to share but more importantly, I wanted to let you know the daily struggle I have when things do not go as planned. And this ENTIRE trip did not go as planned. There were times during that trip when I wanted to scream. Or cry. Or pout. Or crawl into a corner.
And why? Simply because things were not working out the way I thought they should? Because things weren't "perfect"?
Ah, but they were perfect. My daughter was home from college. My family was together. God had blessed us with the funds to take this little trip together. So things did not go as planned. Not even close. But I could choose to dwell on the negative (which I did at times - I fully admit) or I could choose to accept what I couldn't change and enjoy life anyway!
Can I tell you something? Trying to make things perfect for everyone is simply exhausting! Sometimes you just have to let it go. So the vacation wasn't perfect. We were together - and that's all that matters!
An important part of your recovery on the road to acceptance is allowing yourself to be imperfect. You cannot control everything (repeat that several times until it sinks in). I had to let it go or face the consequences. And those consequences were ruining this trip for everyone because of an outburst or "episode". I have done that before and it wasn't pretty.
So the trip wasn't everything I expected it be. At least we have memories to share for a lifetime!
And a cat - if anyone wants one!