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10 Lessons Learned at a Water Park

by Lisa Manning on August 5, 2013

My daughter turned 9 on Saturday.  We have several birthday traditions.  The first is Birthday Party for Breakfast.  It started when she was turning 4.  She wanted her birthday party at a gymnastics place but between my work and their schedule, we couldn’t get a date that worked.  At midnight before her birthday, I stopped by the grocery store and picked up the Barbie cake I ordered….you know the one, the Barbie body in the middle of the cake shaped like a dress?  We covered the table with a cloth, blew up balloons, placed presents on the table, hung streamers and made our own birthday party.  When she came downstairs, the look on her face was priceless!  She opened her presents and we ate birthday cake for breakfast.  We spent the rest of the day as a family doing whatever she wanted.

Fast forward a year to her 5th birthday.  I overheard her telling the neighbor about how OUR family has birthday cake for breakfast.  The neighbor asked if she could come and my daughter said “Of course not!  Birthdays are a special time for our family.”  And that is how the tradition began.  On every birthday, we honor the birthday person with their favorite cake for breakfast.  When my mother-in-law moved in with us, she thought it was the corniest thing but she came to love our birthday tradition also.

The second birthday tradition is to give our girls the option of having a party or picking a special place to go as a family.  Almost always, they have chosen a special family outing.  This year we went to a water park because I had a super-fantastic coupon!  🙂  We had a blast celebrating her 9th birthday.  The water park was lots of fun.  But, as with everything in my life, I try to figure out what I can learn.  Here is my top 10 list of things I learned at the Water Park.

Summer Waves,   Jekyll Island, Georgia

Summer Waves,
Jekyll Island, Georgia

10)  Getting only 4 hours of sleep before traveling 4 hours round trip to spend all day at a water park is a REALLY bad idea.

9)  Going to a water park right after an internet coupon deal has happened means that you might just end up there on the busiest day of the year.

8)  Allowing your husband to go ride a slide by himself might result in a disappearance of an hour or more.  Be warned.

7)  When I win the lottery (that I never play), I am going to buy a piece of land and build a lazy river so I can just sit and float for hours at a time.  My stress levels will go down and my tan will be awesome!

6)  Never underestimate the bravery of your children.  After my husband told us how scary one of the water slides was, my 6 year old was super excited to go on it and had a blast!

5)  Some people need mirrors.  I was taken aback at some of the swimsuits/outfits of other park visitors.  I am pretty sure they couldn’t possibly have looked in the mirror before they left.  Things were hanging out that should best be left to the imagination…or maybe not.

4) Ink is in.  I don’t think I would be exaggerating if I said that at least 50% of the adults walking around the park were sporting tattoos.  While I am not a big fan myself, I had fun looking at them and trying to figure out what makes a person choose their particular tattoos (or the 28 of them).  My favorite was a baby handprint with a  little girl’s name inside.

3) No matter how you feel about your body,  there is someone there that is bigger, has more stretch marks and some other flaw that makes yours pale in comparison. You aren’t a teenager anymore so don’t stress about it.  Put on your suit, hold your head high and slide on!

2) Kids just wanna have fun!  Hold their hands.  Act silly.  Leave your cell phone in the locker and just spend time with your family.  When the day was over and we asked the kids what their favorite part was, both of them answered that it was spending time with us.  (Insert “ahhhhhh’s here)

1) Everyone needs a smile.  I was surprised to see how many sad faces were walking around the park.  So many people just looked downtrodden.  I made it my goal to give everyone my best smile.  I loved seeing the faces light up.  The people I smiled at genuinely seemed stunned that someone was smiling at them.  They smiled back at me with the biggest  grins.

How many smiles have you given out today? Someone needs yours!




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