I woke up around 3 a.m. on Sunday and the room was spinning violently. I tried to process what was happening.

Where am I?

What day is it?

Don’t move your head.

The last time I felt like that, I had eaten some food that had spoiled. I knew that if I tried to stand up I would probably be throwing up. I had not planned for this.

I mean, I had thought about a lot of things before we made this trip:

What if I have car trouble on the highway? Well, I guess that could happen at any time, so I’m going to hope it doesn’t happen now.

What if I can’t keep track of all of the kids? Well, we will have to go through the rules. The 10-year-old is very responsible, and he can help me.

But what if I get a horrible stomach bug or food poisoning and we are stuck in a hotel room and the kids have to find a way to forage for their own food for two days? 

Hmm. I didn’t think about that one.

Somehow, I was able to make the room stop spinning long enough to find some water and Tylenol. After a few more hours of sleep, I woke up feeling better. I must have been very dehydrated.

And that was really the worst thing that happened on our little adventure this weekend.

My husband had to go to California to be with family for a funeral. I really encouraged him to go and it WAS the right thing to do. But when I woke up Friday morning and he was gone, I was having trouble thinking about the third weekend in a row without him. The fact that it was Mother’s Day weekend wasn’t helping.

On Saturday morning, instead of getting dressed for soccer, I told the kids, “Pack your bags! We’re going to the Dells.”

A few hours later, we were on our way to the Wisconsin Dells to our favorite indoor water park. I thought for sure the place would be deserted. What kind of crazy people go to an indoor water park in the beginning of May? The weather is just starting to get nice. Don’t most people go in the winter? Or in the summer when they can be outside? And WHO would go to the Dells on Mother’s Day? Won’t all the moms be enjoying a nice brunch at a restaurant and maybe a pedicure?

I was wrong about that. On Saturday, the place was packed. By Sunday, it had emptied out a lot. And by Monday, it was a nice small group. But still, there were more people than I had ever thought.

We had a fabulous time. The kids had so much fun. And I had so much fun being with them. Just being their mom. Not worrying about anything else that had to be done. It was good to get away from the house and clear my mind.

But once in a while, I would feel that longing in my heart. It was a feeling of, “but this isn’t what Mother’s Day is supposed to be like!”

Who says? Expectations are an interesting thing. They are often my downfall.

Maybe for the crowds of people who packed that place this weekend, that is what Mother’s Day IS supposed to be like. Yeah, it would have definitely be a LOT more fun with my husband. But I also would have missed out on some precious moments with just me and the kids if he had been there. There’s something about having to pull together because it’s just mom that creates a bond.

I got to spend tons of time cuddling my 1-year-old as we floated around the Lazy River, time and time again. The three older kids all worked together to help me cook meals in our room or take care of the toddler. They couldn’t run in opposite directions like they would have if Dad had been there. So, they all stayed together and had a blast.

They all laughed at me when I was scrounging around in the van searching for coins to buy myself my Mother’s Day gift. I feasted on a $2 Coke from the vending machine (my first Coke since January!) and a slightly smushed Resse’s peanut butter egg I had hidden in my purse.

Who says a Coke and peanut butter egg aren’t an excellent snack? Well, my expectation that I should be treated to a fabulous brunch in a restaurant.

Who says a weekend laughing and playing at a water park isn’t a rare treat? Only my expectation that I should be pampered and shouldn’t lift a finger all weekend.

So, I decided to dump the expectations and enjoy the time. And who knows. Maybe a trip to the Dells on Mother’s Day will become a new tradition.



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