We had been talking about it for a year. At least. And I promised her that we would go. By god, would we go.
Come Mid-August, we would be at the County Fair and Rodeo. We would see the livestock. Ride the rides. Eat the cotton candy. Spend too much money and stare to long while people watching. It would be classic Americana. Colors/lights. Fried foods and nauseating sweets.
The fair began on the tail end of our family vacation, and needing one day to recover, we decided to go on the last day. Sunday. I checked and double-checked the website to make sure the fairgrounds would be open. Then, we picked up dinner to eat on the drive, and extra cash for all the rides.
You could feel the excitement as we drove. The kids chattering/giggling while I sang along to the car radio. I couldn’t wait. They couldn’t wait.
As we pulled into the fairgrounds we laughed at our luck. Gosh, this was the time to go! Hardly anyone was there. We would have the entire fairgrounds to ourselves! No lines. No crowds. No waiting.
But then we noticed that no one was at the ticket counter. And the gate was wide open. I led the way in, while the kids suspiciously followed behind me.
I tried to cover my doubt, but I knew deep down that it wasn’t good. We shuffled towards the rides and noticed they were empty. The only other people were employees.
And of course you know where this is going.
Devastation. The realization sunk in, as the tears slid out. We had missed it. The county fair was over. Closed. And we would have to wait an entire YEAR before we could go again. I didn’t think Eloise would ever forgive me.
We wandered around the livestock barns only to see a handful of sheep and a lonely cage of rabbits. The drive home, a drastic change to the drive there. Eloise sobbing. Duke silent.
And I thought about all the times things didn’t go the way I wanted them. When I had expectations for ______________, only to be disappointed.
I’m trying to teach my kids to Accept the No. It’s hard, because our culture preaches to “never give up!,” and “keep trying” and all that positive-speak-diligence-crap. And while I’m a firm believer in NOT giving up, I also understand the difference between what I can control and what I can’t.
And instead of arguing and whining when things don’t go their way, I want my kids to accept the no. To change their attitude when they can’t change their circumstance. Because we won’t be able to do ______________. Or we’ll miss ______________. Or the timing will be wrong. Or whatever.
Some things are out of our control. And that awareness is the best place to start. There’s a freedom in letting go. Accepting the no. And moving on.