All 4 kids are in private school, but the two little ones go to a school that runs off of a public school schedule. I’ve never totally understood this, but public and private schools run off of totally different vacation schedules. At least in our area, public schools get 1 week of vacation in February and another week in April. Private schools, however, take 2 weeks of vacation in March. That’s it.
The difficulty in this comes when you have kids that are running off of different schedules like this because you really can’t take family vacations without taking one or the other out of school during normal class sessions.
Since the little kids are so young right now, it’s not really all that disruptive to anyone if they miss school for a week or so. The more complicated scheduling issue comes with all of their after-school activities like jiu jitsu, gymnastics, swim, Spanish and ballet. If they miss a class, some of the places allow you to do a make-up class, but other’s don’t. So, that gets a little tricky to try and layer make-up classes into your already busy schedule.
We took the little kids down to visit my parents in Daytona Beach a few weeks ago while the older kids stayed home with their Dad and his family. Which was great, but it wasn’t a “true family vacation” because we weren’t all together.
When the older kids’ vacation came up starting now, I thought it’d be fun for all of us to go down to visit his Dad in Naples, FL. We would have to take the kids out of school and all of their activities for the week, but it’s a very rare occasion when we all get on a plane to go somewhere together…not to mention that Maya heads off to college this Fall and who knows what her schedule will be like around this time.
So, we decided to make it happen. However, this decision happened about as last minute as you can get away with when you’ve got a family of 6 trying to hammer down reasonable air fare during a school vacation week, transportation from the airport since your “reasonably priced air fare isn’t actually reasonable” considering the fact that you don’t even land in FL until well past 1am so you can’t even rent a car as they’re all closed at that time, and good luck trying to get so much as a coffee at that time in an airport since everything is shut down for the night.
Long story somehow even longer, Ben calls me a few days before we take off on this last minute trip and tells me that he forgot to put something in his calendar that is going to now make it so the earliest he can get there is early Wednesday morning…and, we’re on a 5am flight home to Natick on FRIDAY.
Now, remember, this is potentially our last family vacation all together since Maya’s off to college next year…so, I’m initially a little bit totally freaking out.
We are going to Ben’s father’s place in Florida for 5 days as a family…without Ben.
After some initial frustration, for lack of nicer word, I remember something I just heard Ben preach about after one of his classes:
“If you blame and complain, you stay the same.”
This was an easy thing for me to point the finger and place blame on Ben for. He forgot to put something really important on his calendar and now he (a) had to rebook a flight that he had previously scheduled which cost an additional $300, and (b) was going to miss half of our family vacation at his dad’s place.
Easy, right? It was his fault, not mine, that our family vacation got sliced in half AND we had to eat a $300 rebooking fee.
But, no matter the circumstance, when something goes wrong, I truly believe you are always somewhat to blame.
In this case, for example, had I planned this trip out a more reasonable month or two in advance, this whole thing would’ve surfaced before I even booked the tickets…avoiding half of the mess that we ended up with. All of the rushing and forcing things would’ve been nonexistent had I just looked ahead to a vacation that the school district has set at least a year in advance. There’s no reason why I couldn’t have done all of this earlier and allowed for hiccups like this to the plan.
I do think it’s something I do my best to reflect on any time something goes wrong: how could I have done something differently to allow things to unfold smoother? What did I do that contributed to things going wrong? How can I keep this from happening again?
Because there’s always something you could’ve done better, something you could’ve thought through or acted on differently to allow for a happier outcome.
There are far things more admirable than someone voluntarily taking the blame on something that may or may not have been their fault.
It’s less important to figure out who’s fault something was than to figure out how you can keep that “thing” from ever happening again.
Because identifying a person doesn’t actually do anything to improve upon the situation. But, establishing a different way of doing something so that you end up with a more desirable outcome can truly bring good change to your own experience, and the world around you.