A while ago I wrote a blog post about why we are intentional about traveling with our kids. You can read the full post here, but one of the reasons I mentioned is to teach my children about flexibility and adaptability. You want a guaranteed way to have a trip riddled with mishaps, write about how mishaps are learning opportunities (insert eye roll here).
Jimmy and I had visited Grand Cayman before we had kids; so when we landed there as a family of 5 we were bursting at the seams with excitement to show our kids the island we had fallen in love with years back. We timed our flight perfectly and landed a little before dinner anticipating the time to get our rental car and check into our hotel before needing to feed the little people. The rental car place was packed took a little over an hour. That’s ok, my diaper bag is fully loaded for these types of situations: surprise toys, snacks, we got it all.
When we get to our hotel, the receptionist didn’t even bat an eye at the TWO babies in my arms as she politely told me they weren’t able to get two cribs into my room and so we were only given ONE. Yep, you do the math. While Jimmy was contemplating which baby would need to sleep in the hallway, I went up to the room to check it out. I’ll spare you the details but a consultation with the hotel manager, and a couple of end tables lighter we received two cribs. Apparently, nobody wanted to take the night shift with the extra bed-less baby. It’s well past dinner time and fast approaching bedtime at this point. A quick trip to the local pizza hut and it’s time for bed. Tommorrow is a new day.
Grand Cayman gets over 300 days of sunshine a year. If you want to do the math each day you are on the island there is an 82% chance of a sunny day. If it does rain, it’s usually a quick storm blowing across the island that may bring an hour or two of rain but it’s sure to clear up. Keyword there being usually. Leave it to us to experience the unusual.
A Tropical Storm decided to camp out right over the island bringing torrential downpours and crazy winds. Making it impossible for us to leave the resort property. Have you ever tried to entertain 2 toddlers and a 7-year-old in a hotel room for 3 days?! I feel like it’s similar to a hostage negotiation with a band of drunken bi-polar pirates. Oh and I’m paying for this experience.
When there was finally a break in the weather – we were the first ones out on the beach. When Cam’s arm started to swell that night, we remembered that rain brings out the bugs. Turns out he had been bitten by what we assume was a mosquito and the bite had become infected. Word to the wise – scrub those dirty fingernails! When the sun finally came out – the ocean was still upset. Big hard waves. High-speed winds. Blowing sand. Not the ideal setting for two toddlers (or anyone) to enjoy the beach at full capacity.
Most of the excursions and activities we had planned to attend were canceled due to weather. Even when the storm passed, the winds were still very strong. We did manage to squeeze in a couple of our planned adventures. A trip to Sting-Ray City and the Turtle Discovery Center were definite highlights and I highly recommend both to anyone traveling to Grand Cayman (with or without kids).
I’ve heard people say, “If you want to get to know someone really well, vacation together.” I say if you want to get to know someone really well, go on a bad vacation together.Nothing brings out your true colors like setback after setback. It’s not that I want those setbacks, but the fact is, that life is full of setbacks and how we respond matters.
I want my kids to learn that most things don’t go as planned. I want them to see there’s a lot you can’t control. But there’s also a lot you can control. My mom used to tell us life is 10% situation and 90% attitude. This trip turned out to be learning to improvise, learning to be flexible, finding simple joys, offering apologies for lost tempers, choosing grace, and making each moment count.
Our natural bend (or at least mine) is to get cranky and sulk when things don’t go my way. I want my kids to learn to go against that bend. To choose to find the positive, to get after grateful, to choose joy. So even though trips like this aren’t what we plan for, they’re important too. There’s always something to be found – in the good, the messy, and in everything in between, you just have to look for it.