You know the saying, “good things come to those who wait”? Well, we have waited and waited and waited and it’s finally time. The money has been saved, the vacation days have been accumulated, the house sitter has been hired…Disney, here we come.
Our two youngest boys, Caleb & Eli, have never been to Disney World. We did take Wes when he was 5 1/2, but that was nearly 18 years ago. I’m pretty sure things have changed since then. We’re about to find out just how much.
Steve & I worked hard to save enough money to treat the younger Riggins’ boys to the magical world of Disney, including the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. But coming all this way, we were gonna get all we could out of this trip. So we’re also taking in LEGO LAND for Eli, our resident legomaniac, AND Sea World! While I know that this will not be a lay around the pool, read a book, relax a lot vacation, I’m sure we’ll make lots of fun memories. The great thing about being with the Riggins…we don’t have to wait until Disney to make memories….
Over the past few weeks, I have been warning the boys about their behavior on this trip knowing we’d be stuck in a car together for 10 hours one way and it was going to be necessary that we stay together ALWAYS the entire vacation. One day, a devotional I read inspired me with an idea…we were going to learn the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and practice them EVERY DAY while we were gone. Practice makes perfect, right?
As a reminder, the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, longsuffering, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control. Man…do we have our work cut out for us…
We left Burlington Saturday night and spent the night in Florence, SC. This took us about 3 hours into the journey so on Sunday, we only had about a 5-6 hour drive. It was during the beginning of our drive on Sunday that we started going over the fruit of the Spirit, discussing what each attribute meant and how we could better exemplify them, especially to each other.
Me – “Eli, how can you show longsuffering?”
Eli – “When Caleb is annoying me and constantly bothering me, I can just say, “Caleb, PLEASE stop, okay? Instead of getting so mad.”
Me – “Good. Caleb how can you show self-control, especially during this trip?”
Caleb – *Shoulder shrug*….”I guess I can…uh…I don’t know…be nice?”
Me – “Yeah, maybe instead of saying, “SHUT YOUR FACE!” you could just ask Eli nicely to be quiet?”
Caleb – “I guess so.”
Not exactly the answer I was looking for, but I’ll take what I can get.
Because we were ahead of the game time-wise, we decided to stop at a Cracker Barrel in George that was just before the Florida state line in order to sit down and have a meal that didn’t consist of a burger or chicken nuggets. Despite the crowd, we only had to wait about 15 minutes before we were seated and ready to order.
While we waited for our food, the bickering began between the boys over who knows what. For some reason, Caleb was annoyed by EVERYTHING. Everything Steve & I said got eye rolls and “you’re so lame” looks from Caleb. We had just been studying the fruit of the Spirit! Seriously? Caleb should be wearing a smile instead of a scowl, right?
It was time for creative parenting. Caleb needed to smile (and whether he did or not, it would be fun trying to make him). I looked at him and broke out in song:
“So let the sun shine in, face it with a grin,
Smilers never lose and frowners never win!
So let the sun shine in! Face it with a grin!
Open up your heart and let the sun shine in!”
Now, I didn’t stand up on the chair and sing, but Caleb had no trouble hearing me (the people at the next table probably heard it, too). And as expected, he looked mortified that I was singing to him in the middle of the Sunday lunch crowd at Cracker Barrel. The entire time I was singing, he was shaking his head and saying, “Mom! Be quiet! Mom! Seriously…oh my gosh..!”
It was great. I told Caleb if he didn’t smile, I was going to sing it again. That’s all it took.
Eli thought it was real funny that I would embarrass Caleb into smiling by singing to him. I thought Eli needed to be serenaded to as well. I looked to him and broke out again:
“I’m happy in the Lord anyway!
And it really doesn’t matter what comes my way today
I’m gonna wear a smile, hold my head up high and say,
“I’m happy in the Lord anyway!”
“Okay Mom, I’m smiling, I’m smiling!
Steve & I were experiencing the fruit of joy as we watched our tactics bring smiles to our boys’ faces. Caleb & Eli do bring us joy, as do Wesley & Kendal. I think it’s okay that we receive joy sometimes just in watching them squirm. It’s still J-O-Y, right? 😉
Disney…HERE WE COME!