Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Saved from Disappointment.sort of.

This past Chol HaMoed, we were able to get tickets to an exciting event. We decided to book hotel rooms close by. There would be minyanim, separate swimming hours and loads of kids. We practically couldn't control our excitement. We decided that a surprise for the kids would be the best way to go just in case it didn't work out.

The anonymous voice on the phone at the reservation desk seemed understanding of our need to have adjoining rooms and would put in the request. It couldn't be guaranteed but we should call the morning of the trip to confirm. The night before the trip, I decided to call the hotel to make sure that we were confirmed. Thankfully, our rooms had been confirmed just as we had requested with 2 side by side rooms. I expressed my appreciation and was about to hang up the phone when a little voice in my head told me to double check that side by side rooms meant adjoining rooms. The bomb dropped. The rooms were not to one another but not adjoining.
I frantically called the manager to try to work things out and closed the door behind me so the kids would not walk in. But as life goes, while I was on the phone, one of the kids walked in. "GET OUT OF HERE! I AM ON THE PHONE" AND WAVED MY HAND ANGRILY. I wasn't about to ruin the surprise. Unfortunately, there was nothing that they could do as the adjoining rooms were already taken. My wife and I jumped into action. We researched hotels on the internet, made numerous phone calls. No one could guarantee adjoining rooms unless we came to the hotel. No amount of reasoning or logic could change this. I tried explaining to college age "reservationists" that I could not take my kids to NJ only to tell them that we have to turn around and go home. My plea fell on deaf ears. I started to panic. While I was in the middle of this frenzy, another kid walks right in. "GET OUT! NO ONE IS ALLOWED IN THIS ROOM. THE DOOR WAS CLOSED FOR A REASON!"

After another dozen phone calls and hours of internet research, I found a hotel that had adjoining rooms but could not guarantee it unless I came down. It was a holiday weekend and rooms were filling up fast.

We packed the kids in the car and told them we were going on a surprise trip. After 2 hours of traffic and nine hundred questions of “Where are we going? Are we there yet?” we arrived. I told the kids that I was going to go inside the hotel to ask directions. They still had no clue what our plan was. The man behind the hotel desk was able to book the last 2 adjoining rooms in the hotel. Finally guaranteed.

I ran to the car and told the kids about our surprise. They couldn't believe it. The whole trip was worth it just to see their faces.

We unloaded the car; everyone was practically jumping for joy! We took the elevator to the floor, raced down the hall. We opened the door and........the rooms were not adjoining. Now I was really frantic. I had told the kids. I had done everything in my power to avoid telling them about the surprise until it was guaranteed. The hotel clerk said he would see what he could do. Meanwhile, I wasn’t leaving anything to chance. I called back a few hotels that were more expensive, farther away but earlier had told me that they should have adjoining rooms, no guarantee of course. But now they were all Booked.

Fortunately, our hotel managed to find adjoining rooms on the 10th floor. The swimming pool was empty so we had a blast, the rooms were large and we had a refrigerator. It all worked out but at what price. I felt badly about yelling and tried to better understand why my reaction was so strong. I had made a mistake that many parents make.

I tried to save them from the disappointment of life. I tried to be in control so that they wouldn't be disappointed. Yet I could have taught them a much more important lesson in life. Life is full of disappointments and it doesn't always go the way that you expect it. We need to take it in stride. We need to learn that there is good in everything that happens. Sometimes we see it and sometimes we don't.

Btw: I heard that the other hotel was a real disappointment.

Scouts honor, from now on I will be perfect. We’ll at least I hope I learned a lesson or 2.


Blogger Elie said...

In our hotel this Pesach we also had rooms next to one another, but not adjoining. But my kids are old enough that we were fine with that. In fact we preferred the privacy!

Glad things worked out in the end for you. Goodness knows we need a little joy in our lives.

10:03 PM  
Blogger torontopearl said...

"Scouts honor, from now on I will be perfect."

How about rewording your last bit to say: "Bli neder, I will remind myself, and not just my kids, that I can't always control things. I can strive to be perfect, but must recognize that even I have limitations in that department."

10:41 PM  

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