Easter 2016 did not go as planned.
What started off to be a carefree morning of traditional easter egg hunting and artful egg dyeing, instead quickly dissolved into a frantic Googling session. Researching facts on Dove Milk Chocolate became a top priority — not to estimate the amount of sugar my kids would soon be consuming, but rather to calculate the exact number of miniatures that typically filled an 8.8oz bag to assess the toxicity risk to my lethargic canine who had surreptitiously consumed them.
“If only the Easter Bunny had stuck to Jelly Bellys and Peeps this year.” This being the overwhelming thought filling my mind as we raced across town to the animal hospital emergency room after our dog Daisy decided to get a head-start on our yearly backyard hunt. Pawing and clawing at every colorful plastic egg she could find, she managed to open and release the silky smooth chocolate Easter treats…and devour every one of them foil wrapping and all.
Four hours and a couple of hundred bucks later my dog was lighter, safer and seemingly happier. We, however, were all tired, hungry and somewhat miserable after the dog dilemma that wreaked havoc on our traditions and expectations for this special day.
I’ve learned over the last few years that great expectations often lead to grand disappointments.
But all hope was not lost as this was not the first holiday where our expectations were derailed. A house rampant with the stomach flu last Thanksgiving, the heartbreaking loss of cherished hat at Christmas time, and last minute cancellations of New Year’s plans — all contained major, unexpected twists that threw us entirely off our well-predicted path. For years we struggled with finding a “new normal” for the holidays after coping with the loss of a loved one. Now, new frustrating forces were sabotaging our efforts. Holding on to self-imposed goals for the holidays became uphill and unrealistic battles when the variables constantly changed.
Being hopeful things would go as planned but flexible when they didn’t, proved to be a much easier and less stressful way to handle unanticipated situations.
After returning home from the animal hospital to rest and regroup, we had the now familiar conversation of “Well, that wasn’t fun — but that doesn’t mean the whole day is a ruined. Let’s put it behind us and start over.” Luckily, it took no time at all to let the laughing and jokes kick in about yet another crazy holiday in our household. Releasing the expectations and starting with a fresh perspective allowed all of us to pick ourselves up from an unfortunate situation and ready ourselves to enjoy whatever experience came next — which just happened to be chocolate eating for the humans and starting a new tradition of swimming and casual dinner with friends.
As much as I love traditions and strive to hold on to them when I can, when things don’t go as planned, I’m comforted knowing we can quickly adapt and appreciate whatever comes our way. Going with the flow this past Easter Sunday allowed us to truly enjoy the loving moments shared together that followed…despite the expectation crushing situation that still has Daisy in the dog house.