This time in our lives can be tricky, but it's also teaching all of us some great lessons in flexibility. Yesterday Jim had the whole day off so we decided to check out a new-to-us recreation area in town. We knew it had lots of trails, a playground, and room to play ball. We got there and divvied up the things for people to carry. Audrey: hula hoop and baseball glove. Isaac: two gloves and a baseball. Elliot: bag of snacks. Jim: Asher and whatever ball he was holding/throwing for Jim to chase. DeNae: purse, camera bag, ball, blanket. My point is we were loaded down with gear as we headed out.
First we had to hit the restrooms. One sign said the visitor's center was open 12-4 on Sundays, but the sign on the door read open 9-5 Monday through Friday. Locked. Never one to miss an opportunity to water a tree, Elliot was ready to find his spot. I showed him some trees off the beaten path a bit and then headed to look at the map. I looked over to see him standing approximately 2 feet from the paved path peeing into some tall grass as two women walked towards us. Niiiiice.
Next we made our way toward the park. Or we thought we did. Earlier in the day I read an online review stating that the maps were not very helpful and they needed more along the paths. We concur. After walking for a while and working up a bit of a sweat and probably causing some confusion as to why we were traveling with a hula hoop, we started asking anyone we saw for directions and approximate time of arrival to the park. We knew we were in trouble when two people pointed us in two different directions, one person said we were going the right way, but that it was "quite a walk," and there was nary a park in sight.
We plopped ourselves right down in the grass to assess the situation. Mostly we just needed a break from walking with all that stuff. We were essentially deciding which perfect stranger we believed was leading us in the direction of the park. Tough decision, considering our history with them consisted of one question. We came up with a game plan and started backtracking. After agreeing to wait near a gazebo to play ball while Jim went to get the car and drive around to find the park, we turned in the opposite direction when we saw a baseball field and then were doubly happy when there was a park right across the street. Yep. This is us flying by the seat of our pants.
We played. Oh, did we play. It had a natural playground. (We're making one once we buy a house in CO.) It had a regular playground. It had tons of open space for ball. Audrey led Elliot and me at wizard school. We all played house. Hi. I'm Daphne and I'm 8. Elliot is my 10 year old brother and Audrey is my 24 year old sister. We climbed through tunnels and walked on logs, went down slides and traversed bridges. We played catch and kicked balls. We climbed trees and jumped off of tunnels. Oh. And we hula hooped, of course.
|this was highly entertaining for a very long time|
|Wizard teacher teaching us how to make trees fly away|
|Elliot, a very powerful wizard in training, shows his personal technique|
|My climbing boy|
|Audrey at my spell station, where I store my spells|
|the vW boys|
|the vW girls|
At one point we all took a break for snack. Isaac and Jim started playing catch and Audrey said, "It's not what I expected." There was that nice comfortable pause, just right for listening to crickets in the shade of brilliant yellow tree on a surprisingly hot October afternoon. Then I replied, "But it sure is great anyway." Audrey laughed and nodded, agreeing. That laugh. Oh, that laugh. We talked about how most of our favorite adventures aren't quite when we expected. Our hiking trip to Tettegouchee will go down in family history as a really cold, rainy, unexpected, wondrous day.
|soaked and happy|
|love these cold and wet troopers|
That zoo trip where it started raining as soon as we got there and, without rain gear, we bolted from building to building, soaked to the skin and squeaking shoes for all to hear. We do check the weather before we go places. Sometimes the meteorologist gets it wrong. Shocking, I know. This blip in our lives that is Omaha.
We left it at that, but I couldn't help but think of life, all of it. It's not what I expected. But it sure is great anyway.
What about you? Do you recall a moment that was not at all what you expected, but turned out to be just what you needed?