Friends, I have a confession to make. Remember the post that I recently wrote about keys to a successful marriage and how excited I was about my upcoming anniversary? It is a good thing that I wrote that post BEFORE we went out on our anniversary date because let me tell you, the story I have from it is “The Anniversary Where Everything Goes Wrong”. Not just a little wrong either. Everything went wrong in the “This would make a hilarious chain email someday but I never want my name associated with it” sense. As bad as it was, even when it was happening, I was telling my husband, “We are going to be laughing about this next week.” Along with “I’m so sorry. This is going all wrong, please take me home.”
Things like that happen from time to time. They are never fun at the time, but often they make really good stories afterward. Such was the case with my anniversary where everything went wrong. If you are in the midst of one of these times, it can be hard to separate yourself from what is presently going on. I wanted to share with you some things that I tried to remember even in the midst of our “everything gone wrong” anniversary.
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1) We Will Laugh About This Later
I already alluded to this one in the introduction, but it is true, that sometimes the worst experience make the best and funniest stories. When everything goes wrong, it is sometimes hard to keep our perspective. I am finding that the ability to laugh it off is a great coping mechanism. It keeps me in a better mood, even when things are not going my way. I will give you the short version of what happened on our anniversary, though I will spare some of the more personal details. I will tell you, though, that I did share them with some friends of mine and both times the person on the other end of the conversation was in stitches laughing at what had transpired.
My very sweet husband had planned it all out, and like most anniversary dates, it was a surprise. So we dropped the kids off at my parent’s house and went home to change clothes. My stomach was not feeling the best, but I didn’t think it was anything a ginger ale from a convenience store could not fix. Still, we decided to go out on a less formal date. So we took swim clothes and headed to the small town we honeymooned in. We drove all the way through town, and he kept me guessing as to where our final destination was.
We pulled into a very nice looking restaurant right on the lakefront. It was beautifully decorated and had large windows in the back and a picturesque porch on the side. My husband was quite proud of himself for successfully pulling off his surprise because I didn’t even know the place was there. He told me of his research online and how the place had high reviews.
It sounded and looked absolutely perfect for our tastes, except for one thing. It was strangely quiet. We were the only car in the parking lot, and it was getting close to supper time. I looked at the door and in big letters, it said “Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday” and gave the hours. It was Tuesday. Well, that was disappointing, but it’s ok. We just thought we’d go to “Plan B” and come back to that restaurant another time.
Plan B was the very first little hole in the wall café that was the first place we had eaten out at after we were married. Still sweet and budget friendly. I really was not hungry, but I was determined to enjoy my time out with my husband. We drove the short ways to the café and again pulled into an empty parking lot. The sign on this door said “Open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.” Well, shoot! Where do people eat in this town on a Tuesday night??! We “cruised” around town (which took like 5 minutes since it’s a very small town) and the most happening place we could find was the grocery store. So we resorted to what everyone does when they are trying to find a place to eat and they don’t know what’s around. Google Maps to the rescue!
Our options were: Subway and one very tiny café that we had driven by twice and not even seen. Since it was our anniversary, Subway did not sound particularly romantic, so we opted for the café. I knew we were in trouble the minute we walked in. The place smelled of grease (remember, my tummy is doing flips?) and the walls were a bright mint green that reminded me of wedding mints or Kaopectate. However, seeing as our options were limited, we had a seat.
The menu consisted mostly of fried things and greasy burgers. There were a few salad options, but those did not sound healthy either. We made the best of it and tried to admire the country charm. When the meal arrived had I been feeling better I would have enjoyed it a great deal. As it was, I managed to choke down about 5 bites, mostly of Texas toast and took the rest to go.
My stomach started protesting and I could NOT find relief or get it to settle down. We paid for our meal and then continued on to our next stop, which was a campground that had a very sandy beach on the lake.
If you have never been to a campground restroom, the cleanliness is always questionable. They are also usually hot and humid in the summer to match the muggy days. However, they were a fairly nice place to change clothes. I started changing into my swimsuit and as I looked down at my stomach it did absolutely nothing for my self-confidence. I looked like I had swallowed a watermelon. It had continued to swell and bloat, and the hot humid weather in the stuffy restroom was not helping. I needed to lie down. What I really wanted was to go home, but I could not bear to see the disappointment in my husband’s eyes. It was, after all, our anniversary.
We anticipated the beach to be deserted. What we found was one elderly couple that was incredibly cute swimming together and some guy in the opposite corner listening to the radio and “kindly” sharing his music. It was a “romantic” death metal station.
I had a shirt and pair of shorts on over my swimsuit and my husband knew I was not feeling well, so we decided to just sit on the beach and talk. Sounds romantic in theory, right? There I was, trying to hold on to my stomach for dear life and trying to determine which way to run if it came to that. I rested my head in his lap to the background noise of “BOOM! Ba-Boom!” death metal. We tried to talk, but there really was not much talking going on.
Down The Toliet
I will spare you the rest of the details, but I will say that it went downhill from there. My stomach got worse and I did end up getting sick. I found out that campground toilets with power-assisted flush spray water a bit over the top of the seat when they flush. (Too bad my face was there at the time.) We went home, I got sand in the bed, and worse sand in another article of clothing that sand most definitely does not belong in and I also found out that sand is abrasive if worn too long.
I hope that you are laughing. As I said, even when everything goes wrong, it oftentimes does make for a funny story later.
2) It Will Get Better
I had several thoughts on the way back home. One of them was “I’m sure glad this is not our first date!” As miserable as I felt then, I knew I would be fine in just a few days. When everything goes wrong, remember it is temporary. Every day of your life will not be a day that everything goes wrong. Yes, we make mistakes, yes, things do not always go as we plan, but that’s ok. It’s all part of the journey.
We see our goals as a straight line. I’m going to go from point A to point B. What really happens is that we wind up taking all these twists and turns along the way and pass through mountains and valleys that we do not expect. That’s ok! It adds richness to our journey. If you are having a day or a week, a month, or even a year where everything is going wrong, remember it will pass and things will get better.
3) It Does Not Mean that You Have Failed
It is very easy to get discouraged. We could have given up on our date. We could have said that this is it, let’s go home when we reached the first restaurant that was closed, but we didn’t. Our date was not a failure. Yes, everything went wrong, however, one of the other thoughts that I had and voiced to my husband on the way back is “We Need a Do-Over.” He quickly agreed.
Just because something does not come out like you want it to or you thought it would the first time you try, does not mean that the venture should be given up on. You know that old saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”? It’s true! It is also very hard to actually do because when things don’t go the way it hurts. Sometimes not taking it personally is very hard to do, but you are still you. You still have all the abilities and potential that you did before. If it is something very important to you, then keep trying!
4) Don’t Over-Analyze
I’m a thinker. I like to understand the things that have happened to me. However, I have also found that sometimes over analyzing just makes me miserable. I could have spent time bemoaning the fact that our anniversary was ruined and feeling sorry for myself asking “Oh, why did this happen to me? Why now?!” But I didn’t. Sometimes stuff just happens and you deal with it. Roll with the punches, and do your best to take it all in stride. There will be tomorrow to try again. See what you can learn from the experience, and use it to make your next attempt better.
I am guessing for our date that we are not going to go to the beach and sit on the sand. From this, I have learned to watch what articles of clothing I throw the towel down on top of (hopefully none), and if I feel sand anywhere I will wash it off asap. I also know to not hang my head close to toilets with power assisted flush. That’s not a good way to splash cold water on your face, in case you were wondering.
I anticipate a wonderful anniversary make-up date. I am going to be SURE that I am feeling well before we leave. Additionally, we now have another funny story to add to the adventures that we are collecting as we move through this life together.
Things don’t always go right. When everything goes wrong, it makes you very thankful for when things DO go right. If we did not have a bad day every now and then, how would we know a good one? If you have had a recent experience where everything has gone wrong, remember that it will get better. It does not matter if it is a few hours, a day, a month or a year, it will get better. Just because everything has gone wrong, it does not mean that you have failed. Try not to over-analyze or ask why. Just take what you can learn from it and move on. Keep your sense of humor. Remember that often times, the best stories come from experiences where everything has gone wrong.
Update: When we were camping, my husband told me “Bring a dress. The babysitter will be here at 4:20 on Thursday. I’ve made all the arrangements.” Ladies that are Moms too, if that doesn’t make your heart flutter, I don’t know what will. We had a very successful “re-do.” We went back to the restaurant that had been closed, we revisited the spot we honeymooners at, we walked and talked for hours and reconnected. So, the story ends “Happily After All.”