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Find Calm When Unexpected Events Fail Expectations

One thing that excites me about this business of living involves the outcomes of unexpected — even unwanted surprises. Monday was one of those days that provided an unexpected bonus to an adventure we shared with our Austin grandchildren. I must admit that the adventure did not go as planned. Yet, at the end of the day, I felt satisfied.

The adventure started when I spoke words that should have struck fear in the heart of my husband, “Hey! I’ve got a great idea!” Naturally, the sweet man agreed to my idea. We arranged to pick up three children, one teen, two moms, one dad, and another grandmother. Off we drove in our RV to see the Christmas lights at Marble Falls and to enjoy a meal at the famous Bluebonnet Café.

After picking up the first family, a small mishap got us off to a lively start when the door to the refrigerator swung open and bottles of water crashed loudly to the floor. Nothing broke and Wade helped the children as they gamely restore the bottles and food. When we arrived at the second home, we requested duct tape. We should have known that Kirsten, a mom of two boys would supply duct tape featuring Ninja Turtles. “Very classy,” I stated as we taped the refrigerator door shut. (So proud — protecting our perishables with Ninja Turtle duct tape.)No new problems until we piled in the RV after eating at the Bluebonnet Café. Tummies full, excitement building, we were ready for those lights on the water. Aiden got out of the RV determined to guide Grandpa out of the parking spot. As Aidan waited patiently, the RV silently refused to start. Linda and Kirsten instinctively began serving water and offering encouraging statements.

As responsible adults, we sprang into action. After Wade called AAA® (thank you for your membership, Wade), the parents and children decided to walk to the trail of lights. Grandparents stayed behind. Grandpa continued to calmly explore possible solutions and Grand Mary and I “pretended to have fun”. As more systems began to shut down, we decided correction might take a long time. Todd, the second dad and Grandpa Brunner were summoned to drive the families back to Austin. With no hesitation, our rescue team scrambled to make the hour-long trip to Marble Falls.

Shortly after the families returned from seeing the lights, AAA® arrived. We greeted a nice young man who quickly surmised that he needed help. A second AAA®. truck arrived with an expert RV man. Within a few minutes, our family rescue team showed up. By now, we had created quite a scene with people milling around, truck lights flashing, and various men joining me to peer under the hood.

Do you wonder how I am going to find something glowing about this experience? To begin with, I am thankful that when the RV started, Grandpa did not drive forward and run over the AAA® expert. I am also thankful that with the help of George and Todd Brunner, everyone returned safely to Austin prior to the onset of any cranky behavior. However, I cling to the notion that something more important happened.

Through the unexpected delay, all adults remained pleasant and the children followed our lead. Our teenage Catherine eventually fell asleep. Elliott, the youngest of the group, wanted to go home but after a brief back rub, his good nature returned. Aidan and Chandler continued to play games with no apparent concern and very little interest.

Probably, I’m making more out of this than I should. However, I know for certain that these young ones will face MUCH worse misfortune than a stuck RV. When life doesn’t go the way we plan, how important can it be to stay positive, calm, and hopeful? Attitude says it all. When unexpected and unwanted events occur, we can dissolve into frustration or we can laugh at the Ninja Turtle tape holding the situation together. I hope the kids remember to laugh.


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