Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lessons from Geocaching

Here's another catch-up post that I started all the way back in April! It was a fun day, but, more importantly, one in which Daddy and Mommy learned a few lessons from the kids.


The weather warming up means one thing to our family: geocaching season begins! 

Sure, we could go out any time of the year because the caches are in place year-round, but we're not quite ready to trek through the snow and cold with our little ones just yet.

That Saturday was a beautiful day, so we decided to pack a lunch and head out to a park to find some caches. Since Tyler is a big fan of "gucks", I wanted to make sure we went somewhere we could feed them. Everyone was very excited about the plans we made.

And then the plans changed.

And changed again.

And again.

Leighton had to work a couple hours in the morning. And, as it usually happens, a couple hours turned into a few hours. I was left with antsy kids at home who were itching to head to the park.

When's Daddy coming home?

Soon. He should be leaving in a couple minutes . . . Oh, he just sent me a message. Nope, it'll be another hour or so.

I wanted everything ready to go, so when he got home, we could walk out the door.

Sandwiches--Ugh. we're out of lunch meat (even though I had gone grocery shopping the day before and should have bought some then.)

I sent Leighton a text and asked him to pick up some on his way home.  Oh, and bread, too, since I had forgotten to buy a loaf for the ducks. Oops.

He got home. I made the remaining sandwiches. We gathered everything and headed out. Finally.

We unloaded at the park and decided to have our lunch right away because it was already 2:00 pm. The picnic was nice and uneventful, except for the runaway sandwich bags. The wind had picked up quite a bit and was blowing things around, much to the delight of our little ones. They laughed as they chased the bags.

As soon as we packed everything up, Alyssa informed me that she had to go to the bathroom. We headed over to the building.


It was still early in the season and the park wasn't "officially" open yet. Now what? Do we make her hold it? Do we leave? Do we find a secluded spot and have her go in the woods like we're camping?

Leighton and I asked her to try to hold it for a little while, at least long enough to find a cache or two and feed the ducks.

She agreed and we started walking down the path. The boys were trying to run ahead, Alyssa was whimpering and hobbling along, and the ducks were no where to be found.

On top of that, the GPS wouldn't pick up any coordinates, so we couldn't find any caches either.

Nothing was going as planned. We drove all the way to this specific park, only to cross off eating lunch from our list of things to do.  

I was cranky.

Having kids has taught me to be more flexible. Things don't always go as planned. This perfectionist has grown a lot these past 9 years, especially once we started homeschooling.

But this day? I was having a hard time keeping my attitude in check.

I did not want to load up all the kids again already, especially since we hadn't done anything. I was crabby that we were leaving. I was frustrated that the GPS wasn't working. I was annoyed that Alyssa kept reminding me how badly she had to use the restroom. I was upset that the bathrooms were locked. 

I was cranky.

I told Leighton that we needed to go somewhere with a bathroom. The problem is that there was no where near the park we could go, except the library. I said we needed to go there, but he was against it since we weren't actually going to the library for the books. It seemed wrong to him to go just for the bathroom. He just wanted to head home.

I snapped. No, we were not going home. We were not going to forget all this planning just to go sit at the house and do nothing. We were going to have fun! Whether we liked it or not.

The kids sat in the back of the van happily chit-chatting, while Daddy and Mommy were upset in the front. We weren't fighting, by any means, but we certainly weren't seeing eye-to-eye.

He decided to stop at the library, after all. Poor Alyssa wasn't going to make it much longer. I took her in while the boys waited in the van.

As soon as we got back, Zac decided he had to go. (Why didn't he realize this 5 minutes sooner?) Now it was my turn to wait while Leighton took him in. It was starting to feel as if we were never going to actually begin geocaching. 

It was at this point I realized how foolish I was being. All these circumstances were beyond my control. The kids weren't bothered by them; they were still enjoying the outing. Why was I so cranky?

I apologized to Leighton when they got back. It wasn't his fault, and he certainly didn't need or deserve my attitude. Thankfully, he's an understanding guy. It's one of the many reasons I adore him.

He found another spot with multiple caches that wasn't too far away. We headed there, this time with better attitudes.

And then, in typical fashion for the day, the area was closed off by a police car. There was an event taking place later that day and everything was blocked except for the main road. We got stuck following the path into the event area until we could turn around the head back.

Geocaching spot #2--denied. Again. But this time it was more of a frustratingly funny situation. Your attitude determines how you will respond, not the circumstances.

Leighton suggested trying 1 more spot before heading home and giving up. This is a strip with tons of caches covering miles of trails. This area has never let us down. We found a spot we'd never searched, park the van, and began our excursion.



It ended up being a great day. We found multiple caches, the kids had fun playing and climbing in the woods, and we enjoyed spending the day together as a family.

It was humbling to me to see how my little ones reacted to the mishaps of the day. They remained positive and delightful. And me? I acted like a little child who didn't get her way. As parents and adults, we're supposed to be teaching the kids; we're supposed to set the good example. And yet, it was my children who were acting more mature than I. I'm generally a positive person, but I let undesirable incidents cloud my judgment and affect my actions.

Once I got my attitude back in the right place, it didn't matter when something went "wrong" or not according to my plan. I determined to keep my mindset positive.

And once I relearned that lesson from my kids, I had a lot more fun the rest of the day.

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