We took the triplets to Great America on the last day of the reading tickets. Me and every other person who lives within two hours of Great America.( for those not in the know, Great America offers a free ticket to all kids who read for six hours during the allotted time period. For Shana and Jakie, not a problem. Elisha required some coercion and creative addition)
So the last day you could use the tickets was yesterday. I had bought two twickets for me and Benjie when we were there with Chai Lifeline, and had great plans to take the kids when Dovi was at Camp Simcha. But one Sunday was during the Nine Days, and the other was the Chai Lifeline fundraising carnival day-and Benjie was on the committee. So neither Sunday was going to work. And darn if I was going to lose out on those tickets.
We arranged to drop Dovi at my in laws, because (a) no ticket for him and (b) it was 95 and humid. We also arranged to take my friend's awesome 13 year old daughter with us. Why? Well (a) Elisha and Jacob are madly in love with her and (b) Great America built an enormous, awesome water park a few years ago and we wanted to take the kids there-and we wanted to have 1 adult per kid. I have a major fear of my kids in water. It gives me palpitations when they hold their breaths under water. Just looking at my child underwater makes me nauseous.
So after Benjie's double header softball game, we packed up some food, dropped of the boy, and off we went.
Well first I have to tell you all what he said to me. We weren't planning on telling him where we were going-we didn't want him to be sad and we knew he was thrilled to be going to Bubbe and Sabba's house. But
Back to our outing. Our first inkling that it was going to be terrifying should've been the sign on the Edens that gives you times to certain landmarks-well Gurnee is generally 26 minutes. It said Gurnee was 52 minutes. Gurnee is where you do two things: Outlet shop and Great America. So we were clever and took 41 and pulled into Great America from the back-it's soooo cool-you drive UNDER the Eagle. Awesome. Well...it took us only 30 minutes to park. Paid the $15 and weer about to pull into the $15 lot when the guy saw our handicapped tag and waived us into the $25 lot. So we went there. No, no, didn't park in handicapped spots. Just parked a tad closer.
Went into the park. Well first we waited in a scary, unruly line for over 10 minutes to enter the park. Then Benjie had to take Shana in to the mens' room because there was a 1/2 hour wait at the ladies' room. OMG. Then we saw the sign "Hurricane Harbor is at full capacity."
Then we saw the line to get INTO Hurricane Harbor-they were letting people in as others left. It stretched (for those of you who know Great America) down the to the Whizzer.
I am a devoted mother.
I am an insane mother.
I stood in line for over an hour to get my family into the darned Hurricane Harbor.
Benjie took Shana and Elisha onto the Whizzer and Chaya took Jakie onto the Viper while I stood in the line.
The line was terrifying. People were budging the line. People were pushing each other. Yelling at each other. Yelling at security. Benjie says I was really flustered. But he didn't experience the unruly mob that was the Hurricane Harbor line.
He only got to experience the unruly mob that was the Wave Pool.
It was madness. The waits for the slides were over an hour. The pools were PACKED.
I was really bummed. I had this vision of a lovely time with my kids and I was robbed (not literally)! Robbed I say!
It was so packed that I totally forgot to take the kids to the kiddie area with smaller slides. Oops.
We stayed for about 3 hours. Then the skies turned black as night with roiling clouds and it started to rain. We grabbed the kids and took off. Of course, about 10 minutes later, on our way out, they skies cleared and all was well. But I honestly thought we were going to get caught in a tornado.
I told Benjie that I was really upset about our day. I had really expected such a nice time. And I just felt flustered and harried.
I got to thinking about all the times that we have expectations of how thing should go and they don't work out that way. But then I also realized that yes, I was disappointed. But to Elisha, Shana, and Jakie, it was a GREAT day! Shana rode the Whizzer for the first time! Jakie went on the Viper. They had a blast in the wave pool. The went on a huge water slide. Yes, I stood in the line. Yes I was flustered by the crowds and the unruliness. But they didn't see any of that.
All they saw was a fun day with Mommy and Abba.
They saw what happened, not what they thought should've happened. So many times we "give away our fun"-we have expectations, and when those expectations don't pan out, we can't deal with it. We give away our fun experiencing what we are able to do.
Yes, it was packed. Yes, it was not as lovely as we'd hoped. Yes, the weather was not ideal.
But overall, they had a blast. They have some great memories.
And isn't that what being a parent is all about?
And next year, if I EVER say anything about going to Great America on the last day, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me not to go. Remind me of the madness that was yesterday.