Sunday, May 31, 2015

Expectations, Entitlement, and a mom named Grumpy.

The Triplets' Epic Senior Trip has continued to Orlando and Walt Disney World. And in our state of utter exhaustion -- I mean we have moved our belongings across country, lived out of a bare-bones-air-mattress-filled-house for two weeks and graduated our three amazing teenagers from high school before spending several days in Disneyland -- we have emotions flying all over the place.

The airline damaged Benjamin's wheelchair. It is working now but we lost an hour and a half in the airport dealing with the paperwork involved in reporting the damage. And could lose more time if the airline requires the necessary repairs to be made here. Sigh.

When the triplets were little, we stayed at Port Orleans Riverside during our Disney visits. When we began planning this trip, Benjamin asked that for nostalgia purposes we spend the first part of our trip at Port Orleans. So we planned accordingly. Unfortunately, the resort did not plan as well as we did. The rooms were not located anywhere near each other. And so after the airport, we spent another hour and a half dealing with the front desk and the manager that had to finally get involved to try and sort things out -- she didn't until the next day by the way. But it was close to midnight and we had to get supper still and get luggage and get four overtired kiddos and two half-crazed parents to bed!

We are trying to save the magic -- Mason looked at me Saturday morning and asked, "Mom, why do you think those Vacation movies are so popular?? Vacations are hard. They don't always go as planned!"

Ah, he is absolutely right. Things go wrong. They do. And today, a couple days later sitting in a hotel room next door to my other reserved room, it does seem a bit funny. But the reality is the Griswolds did not have to battle special needs. Things can be a bit harder to laugh it off when special needs are involved.

Standing on the jet way watching the airline agent deliver a wheelchair that from my end of the jet way looked like it was falling apart, I almost lost it. I could not stop my mouth from spouting everything my brain was thinking:  "These agents should have to spend time with a child that can only enjoy a vacation if the airlines take incredible care of the wheelchair."  "They should be limited to a wheelchair all week -- one that they handled on a flight."

I was so mad. I was so scared that this big huge celebratory trip would go down the toilet if Benjamin had to ride in a manual chair the entire trip. I was so sad that we couldn't just walk off the stupid airplane and get our luggage.

That grumpy spirit is fighting for control of my attitude. I won't lie. I gave in to it several times today. And then tonight, we darted in to a line at the last minute to meet Tinker Bell. We hadn't planned that, but the line was unusually short and we decided it was a great time for Little Red to pose with one of her favorites. As we stood waiting, an official Disney tour guide (as in paid tour guide) escorted a man, a woman and a little girl no older than three past us for VIP access. I wondered what that little girl was learning about instant gratification in that moment. What kind of adult will she grow up to be if she feels entitled to special treatment that prevents her from standing in a 10 minute line?

Not all Grumpy...a highlight of today was watching the parade in the exact location we did when the triplets were 4....

A half hour later we were waiting in the bus queue for our resort. When the driver lowered the ramp for Benjamin and Mason, he spoke harshly to the girls and I about waiting to board. I was furious. Loading the buses is my least favorite part of our Disney experience. We have to go first so the wheelchair can be fastened down. We are often sighed at by bus drivers who don't want to make the effort and by other guests who hate waiting for us. It is my inclination to dart on as fast as I can and get out of "sight" of the waiting line. In my anger/embarrassment, I realized I might be battling some entitlement issues of my own.

So help me here. Really, is it an issue of feeling entitled when you expect the airline to treat the equipment your child requires gently? We do pay the airline a hefty fare for the right to fly. So, IS that an area where we are entitled to know, entitled?

My family trying to help me find my happy place by riding my favorite ride -- DUMBO!

Tomorrow I will work on my bus loading etiquette. I should not feel the need to dart on the bus -- I can wait. While my son should be loaded first, I do not require that same service and should not expect it.

Little Red wants Dumbo to fly higher!!

Perhaps as parents, we look at entitlement differently. I don't feel I deserve special treatment, but man, I think my children overcome enough obstacles every day to warrant some. Sheesh. I want them to learn the value of delayed gratification. I want them to understand that things worth having are worth working hard to obtain. And yet, I also want to pave the road a bit, make life a tad bit easier.

It is a fine line. And I am the first to admit that I don't always get it right. But tomorrow, I pray I won't be harsh to judge others but just diligently attend to my own heart, my own attitude and get about the business of banishing grumpy! My job is not to teach others how to parent. Or bus drivers how to load. My job is to ensure my children's needs are being met -- from wheelchairs to attitudes -- and the best way to do that is to model a good attitude myself.

But just in case....if you see a crazy-eyed woman who refuses to get off of'll know it is going to take me a few more days...

My Dumbo buddy -- Mason!

Carol - The Blessings Counter