We were at Great Wolf Lodge – the indoor waterpark – when I saw my look-alike. A woman on vacation; a woman stressed out. I could relate. Her son had (more than) everything he needed – cute surfer suit, rash guard, goggles, swimmer’s ear head wrap, and flotation device. She had thought of it all! He was ready for a good time! Except, his mom was miserable.
The woman was snapping at her husband, hovering irritably over her son, and snubbing her own mother who was along to help. I could feel the tension in the chlorinated air. Sometimes vacations – sometimes life in general – can be plain old miserable and tense.
The family begrudgingly grabbed water tubes and trudged up the steps to the giant slide. On the way up, the woman was clearly irritated with the way her husband’s tube kept bumping into her face and she couldn’t stand that her mother was trying to assist her in getting up the steps. “Yep, been there, done that. She hates herself right now,” I thought.
Two minutes later, one by one, the family began popping out through the bottom of the slide into the pool. I couldn’t believe my eyes: each and every person was beaming! Hooting! Smiling!
The woman who went up the steps miserable and stressed, came down light and happy.
(Oh, and get this: they gave each other high fives! HIGH FIVES!)
They were a happy family again.
I couldn’t help but wonder what happened inside that slide. My best guess is that the adrenaline shook off their funk. The waterslide was fun and surprising; it got their blood pumping; it was just what they needed.
I learned a big secret from this family: When I’m in a funk, I should look for a waterslide! I should have fun, do something refreshing, see something inspiring, and get my blood pumping. As a wife and mother, I should look for waterslides for my whole family, keeping my eye open for ways to spunk things up when they’re looking low.
Here are a handful of very simple “waterslides” that have changed everything recently:
- One tense evening, Ryan and I were having one of those “same old same old” arguments that every marriage has from time to time. He says his lines, I say mine. This time, I decided to trash the script. Mid-sentence, I jumped into his arms and said, “You’re right!” (Hehe… surprise!) Tension: gone. Happy marriage restored. (The best thing about this one time decision is that we’ve never returned to this particular script ever again.)
- It was a dreary week when I was feeling tired and overworked. (You know the kind of week when one day blurs into the next?) Ryan sent me to a coffee shop for the evening knowing that the jazzy music, the delicious latte, and Jan Karon’s latest book were precisely what I needed. Dreariness: gone. Inspired woman restored.
- The other day, the kids were dragging along, stir-crazy because of cold weather. We turned on the music and played whole-house everyone-plays hide-and-seek. Slump: unslumped. Content home restored.
Of course, adrenaline, surprise, and fun don’t fix every problem – not at all – but sometimes they’re just the boost we need to remember that we’re human… and that goes a long way.
Start climbing the steps to that waterslide today…