Somewhere over the past five years the phrase, "It's either a good time, or a good story," has crept into my philosophy of life, and I love it, because it helps see beyond the moments of frustration or disappointment. It allows for perspective, and the idea that someday, we'll all laugh at this.
This weekend, we had a healthy portion of both.
Last year we celebrated Mother's Day in the misty mountains, alongside a gushing river, nestled in a wonderland of ferns and moss covered trees.
This year was a bit different.
With Elias only a few weeks old, moving across the world just around the corner, and little time to prepare any sort of camping trip, I surprised the family with an overnight stay at one of the largest buildings in the world, Global Center. When I told the kids, minutes before leaving, they screamed and jumped and hugged everything in sight. When I asked them why we were going, instantly, Eden yelled, "Because we stopped biting our nails!"
"Nope," I said, "but close. We're going to celebrate Mommy."
The goal of the weekend was to provide a couple days where Mom could relax. Where she could take a nap, chat with some friends, and otherwise be calm and quiet.
What we got was something like that, only very different.
We should have been warned when she ordered her first drink.
The first day, Saturday, Josey and Jennifer sat on the outside the "beach," because we didn't want to pay the 150RMB to have her sit for just a few hours. For dinner, we moved to the hotel pool, comfy chairs, and into our second complication. For the kids to swim in the pool, they had to wear head-caps. We didn't have any, so we had to buy some - 20RMB a cap, but no worries, we were having a good time, the kids are thrilled, and Momma wass sitting comfortably on a nice lawn-chair. All was good.
For dinner, Josey's only request was for "something large and fresh," so I went hunting, in a mall of 19 million square feet, and was sure I would find something. But I couldn't. Instead, what she and the rest of the family got was a loaf of bread and sliced ham and cheese. With Pringles and Yogurt of course, because it's Mother's Day and I know how to make it special.
By 9:30, the party was beginning to die down.
The next morning, though, started with only promises. Breakfast was provided and waterparks called in the distance.
We were dressed and ready by the time the park opened, then quickly hit a snare: I had too many bags and wasn't allowed into the beach area.
So I walked back to the front desk, waited in line, rented a locker, stuffed the locker, then went back to the gate and met Josey, holding Elias, stuck at the gate. She wasn't wearing a bathing suite and therefore wasn't aloud in. They had to call a manager, then another, because I speak limited Chinese and they spoke limited English.
"You need a bathing suit," she was told again.
"She's not swimming," I said, "She's just sitting right there" and I pointed "With her family. She doesn't need a bathing suit."
"But she's not wearing a bathing suit," he pointed out, again.
"I know, because she's not swimming, she's just sitting, right over there," and I pointed again.
We did this for a while, as a small crowed gathered and watched, until finally, cooler heads prevailed.
The lady behind the counter, the one who initially stopped us, reached into Josey's purse, grabbed Elias' burping towel and laid it over Josey's shoulders - brilliant! Now, she could go in.
So we did. But before you could get through the gates and into the beach area, we had to have a life jacket. Had to. No questions. So we took that too, because it's Mother's Day and we were there to relax and enjoy the day.
And we did. The rest of our stay was a good time. The kids LOVED the water, the slides, the lazy river, and the freedom. Mom, eventually, was able to relaxe and enjoyed the day.
Another Mother's Day in the books, full of good times and good stories.
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