I’ve just come back from holidays and, yet again, I am reminded of the virtues of a little R&R on a regular basis. We really needed this break, and boy did it deliver. As I overheard my husband say to a friend…it was spectacular!
And spectacular it was, we were fortunate to get ideal weather, complete with picture perfect sunshine, clear blue skies overlooking crystal clear beaches with white soft sand. Our flights landed on time, our hire car was ready for us (albeit a tiny pink car which our bags barely fitted in, which the kids aptly named the Pink Marshmallow), we had the top floor room at our apartment block with absolutely stunning views out of the balcony. We spent time on our holiday reading, relaxing and just chilling at home… and then other days at theme parks, going on rides with the kids. We met friends for meals and watch whales over glasses of wine. The kids laughed so hard jumping waves on the beach. It was nothing short of awesome…
Ok Ok… before you roll your eyes and stop reading my blog post… I am going to break this down for you a little bit further and clarify something really really important. Just because this holiday was awesome, doesn’t mean it didn’t have some crappy moments. Infact…let me tell you one story from our first day….
We arrive at the apartment after hours of travel time. The kids are on hyper drive, they are excited about the holiday and have NOT STOPPED talking for one single moment. They are up in each others faces and have taken whinging and whining to a whole new level. We are going up in the lift and there is a major argument about who is going to press the button for our floor. Yep, a MAJOR argument, there are tears involved (no, not mine….yet). We arrive in the apartment and are momentary floored by the view before the kids are at it again, wanting to go to the pool…to the beach.. we have barely walked in the door. And I am tired, I am in a bad mood. Now my husband is getting cranky with the kids and I just want to scream. I can feel the frustration boiling through me like lava…and then I blow. I’m yelling at the kids, I’m stomping around the apartment. I blame my husband. There is a sweet release as the frustration flows out, but then I just feel terrible. We are on holiday. This is not supposed to happen.
I find myself sitting on the balcony feeling fed up. I was so looking forward to this holiday and it already feels crap. Is it going to be like this the whole time? This isn’t fun. Now I feel like the crappy Mum, who is spoiling everyone’s holiday fun with my bad mood. When I look at other people holiday photos, they look so relaxed…they are so much better at this than me. What is wrong with me?
Then I remembered some advice I’d been handing out to my son recently that perhaps I needed to follow myself. He had come home from school one day and when I asked about his day he said “It was awful. I had a horrible day. I was bullied all day, no one likes me and I have no one to play with”. Obviously I was a little horrified with this news but when he started to explain further, I realised that he had, infact, not been bullied but he had had an argument with a friend which resulted in some nasty name calling. He found someone else to play with and, actually, had a great afternoon playing soccer. So we talked about seeing life as a series of “moments”. Some moments are not good, some are great. But one single moment doesn’t define a whole day, or a whole week. Since then, when he comes home from school, we talk about the bad and the good moments from his day.
So, here I am, sitting on the balcony feeling sorry for myself. When I remembered my own advice and I think, OK, stop exaggerating. That was a bad moment. There will probably be more bad moments on this holiday (especially given the time of the month it is and my tendency to ride on a mood swing rollercoaster where everyone has to hang on for their lives…but, maybe more on that another time)… but there was also likely to be lots of great moments too…
Watching the “facebook highlights reels” of other people’s lives, these are just the moments people want to remember and share. But generally speaking, those moments are also surrounded by not so great moments… like the kids whining so hard my head hurts like it is nails scraping on a blackboard, before they start skipping along holding hands together (picture snap), standing in a line at the theme parks for 45min bored and tired, before the thrill of the ride and laughing so hard my cheeks hurt (picture snap), long drives in the car with me getting Hangry, snapping at everyone (as my husband will attest, you don’t want to mess with me and my food) before meeting friends for lunch at a picture perfect location (picture snap)….
Now, I also don’t want to sound like I am spoiling all the good moments by pointing out the bad…. but the thing is, not only accepting but expecting that good and bad moments are merged together and just because something was great doesn’t mean it was “perfect” …was something I had to practice really hard on my holiday.
In the end, my holiday was a patchwork quilt of all sorts of different moments, sewn together to make something ultimately awesome. And isn’t that kinda like life as a whole?
When was the last time you compared your warts and all life, with other peoples highlights reel?