Parental Guidance Requested

HogsmeadeLet’s face it, parenting is a learning experience and perfection is not part of the vocabulary. How we handle our mistakes makes all the difference in the world with our kids. Have you ever made a decision that you later regretted? Make sure you’re real with your kids and let them know how vulnerable you are to mistakes as well. It will help them open up and not be afraid of the mistakes that they too are bound to make.

My two nephews came down to visit with their parents one Christmas break about two years ago. David was a junior in college at the time and he brought his girlfriend Sarah with him. Ben, David’s younger brother, was a senior in high school and he brought his friend Robert, whom everyone calls Benny. My son Seth (middle school then) adores his older nephews and so we decided to go with them to Universal Studios for the day.

It was one of those Florida days where you have to be prepared for the cooler weather at night and so I chose to be the smart one who carried a backpack for the sweatshirts we were bound to need. Arriving at City Walk, the first thing that was apparent were the lines just waiting to get into each of the parks. As Florida resident pass holders, these are the days we tend to purposely stay away. We had an hour and a half wait just to get into Islands of Adventure, let alone attempting to get on any rides. Once we hurried up to wait and finally made our way into the park, we went ahead and bought Meal Deals for each of us and two free refill drink cups. The wise adult placed them conveniently into the mesh side pockets of the all purpose backpack.

Now that half of the day was gone, the boys wanted to go on the Harry Potter ride. So we made our way over to the bridge heading into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter only to find another line to wait in. I was just along for the ride since I could go anytime and have already been with Seth. As usual, the boys were hungry and we made good use of those meal deal passes while they made a game plan. David, the mastermind who dual majored in criminal justice and psychology, came up with the plan to sneak into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and bypass the waiting line altogether.

After passing through Jurassic Park, before getting onto the bridge heading into Hogsmeade was the barrier. However, there was this little food stop on the edge of the woods that was parallel to the walkway leading to the bridge. Keeping in mind, there’s usually a reason that a bridge is in place, there was also a gradual drop off further to the side as well. Before I knew it David, ran into the woods to scope it out and came back with the plan in place, deciding that it would be better to wait a little bit until the sun starting setting so it would be a bit darker and less conspicuous.

So we went on a few rides and made our way back to the inconspicuous food spot, taking our place at a table alongside the cement wall by the woodsy area. Apparently I was just along for the ride, being the “cool” adult, they didn’t take into account my thoughts and unfortunately, I didn’t do my job as the responsible adult. During a conversation with Ben and Benny, all of a sudden David and Sarah disappeared and no one seemed to notice. Although I am athletic, I am by no means fast or stealthy. Seeing that David and Sarah seemed to make it “to the other side” without incident, Ben and Benny took off and within a few seconds of their departure, Seth looked at me and ran after them without saying a word. I sat there shaking my head. Some great parent I am. Then I proceeded to do one of the dumber things in my life, I slowly rolled over the wall and proceeded into the small woodsy area, bulky backpack and all.

My senses were heightened and every noise seemed compounded as the low crunch of leaves and branches echoed loudly in my mind. As speedy and stealthy as I am, I ran as fast as I could with my bulky backpack bouncing up and down on my back. Suddenly I found myself stuck. I was literally stuck between two small trees. I couldn’t believe it, there I am all alone in these dark woods and I couldn’t get myself out from between these two small trees, as they bent and moved with me. Finally I twisted and turned and broke myself free, losing both of the drink refill cups in the process. I turned back and couldn’t see anything but managed to find and grab one of them off the ground as I continued running forward squinting in the darkness.

I jumped out freeing myself from the dark woods and landed on the walkway, a hundred yards from the entrance, to the screams of the woman I scared half to death when I jumped out of nowhere into her path. As I turned to head up the bridge toward Hogsmeade, I saw an employee heading my way and I knew I was done for. I quickly turned and headed out of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, my criminal days ending abruptly.

There I was all alone on the wrong side. So what happened to the mischievous boys? Well, David and Sarah apparently had no issues. Ben and Benny had to run all the way in because they were being chased as was Seth, who was completely forgotten by his cousins at the time. After a short time of looking around, Seth happened upon Ben and Benny; good thing because he was the only one without a cell phone.

So, this was parenthood at its finest; I win the idiotic award. It is definitely not one of my better moments after pondering it, but it opened the door for me to talk candidly with Seth afterwards. So, I reminded Seth how susceptible we are to peer pressure and how even though I am older and have much more experience, I don’t always make the right choices either. I asked him to forgive me because my choice affected his decision making as well and I brought up the point that we daily need to ask for forgiveness and thank God that Jesus was sent for that very reason.

#parenting  #memories  #forgiveness  #mistakes