Friday was a half day at school for our kids, going into a long weekend. Oaks had been asking me for weeks if we could host a “Battle Royale” that day out in the Army Corp land. I’d been half-heartedly agreeing along the way, not really knowing for sure what I was getting myself into. As the day grew closer, the details of his plan began to emerge and I realized he’d been seriously scheming with some kids at school for a legit “battle”. It included helium balloons, airsoft guns, and my jeep as “the battle bus”. They’d printed “battle maps” of the area from Google and drawn out all their different stations including Lucky Landing, Lonely Lodge, Wailing Woods, and many more.
While their ideas weren’t developed with real-life limitations in mind, their strategy and planning was impressive.
Because I place a high priority for the boys on playing outside in nature and getting dirty, I agreed to host this “Battle Royale” adventure. (With some pretty significant modifications, that included hard and fast rules.) When I sent out the invite, my friend Rhiannon volunteered to come along for the fun. I was thrilled to have a friend along with me, but at the time, I had no idea how thankful I would later be that she was there.
Long story short. . .
We gathered the boys, fed them, filled helium balloons, and they divided themselves into teams. We FINALLY got them all out of the house with all of their gear and headed out into the woods. Some chose to go walking ahead, and others rode along slowly with me, hanging out the sides of “the battle bus”. When we arrived the splitting off point, we divided into teams, Rhiannon took her team walking on the path along the creek, and we headed off into the thicket in the jeep. The ground wasn’t completely dry of course, but we were in 4 wheel drive, the boys were LOVING the ride, and I wasn’t a bit concerned.
Until I was.
Because we were driving in bushes that were over the top of the hood, I couldn’t see ground. I was slowly feeling my way through with the tires when suddenly, there was a giant dip and loud sloshing sound. I know the rules of the “off- road” are that you never stop for the water, you pick up speed and force your way through, but I had a battle bus full of boys. I couldn’t just slam it in high gear. So I did the unthinkable . . . I stopped and tried to reverse. Mud went flying and my heart sank a little. I’ve been stuck before and I know how to get out, but it takes time, and those boys were there to play. But we had no choice.
We had to get unstuck.
All hands on deck, we all went to work grabbing every stick and branch we could find to wedge under the tires to give us some traction. But after multiple attempts to get free, and water up to our knees on the front end, we quickly realized we were going to be stuck there for a while. Thankfully Rhiannon’s “team” had joined us at that point and she sent out the SOS to her husband, who showed up like the cavalry to tow us out with his truck. With a borrowed tow strap from a nearby construction worker, he had us out of there in no time and we all made it home safely . . . well, all of us except my car. (That’s a story for another time.)
The boys all made a memory that day that they’ll likely never forget.
Even though we didn’t get unstuck on our own, they learned the way one *could* go about getting unstuck in the future. They also learned to be more careful when driving in the tall bushes! (LOL) The moral of the story is one I apparently need to learn, over and over again:
The best laid plans and schemes of boys, and mamas, will often go awry – in all of life.
No matter how well you’ve mapped out the plan. No matter how many times you’ve traveled the same road. No matter how confident you are that you have this one in the bag, and you can do it alone.
Life is full of surprises. (and apparently little creeks hidden by tall bushes!)
The memories you make, the lessons you learn, and the friendships you forge, will turn out to be immensely more valuable than the original rendition of your plans. That doesn’t mean it will be “more fun” than the original plan. It doesn’t mean it will fit in with the timing of the original plan. It certainly doesn’t mean it will be easier. In fact, it will likely be harder than you expected and cost you more than you planned to pay. It’s okay to acknowledge the pain and frustration of that.
But resist the temptation to stay discouraged or stuck and give up.
Choose to allow the lesson in instead. As a result, YOU will grow. You will be better, stronger, and wiser for it.
Wherever you’re feeling stuck today, don’t quit.
Get all hands on deck. Phone a friend. Send out the SOS.
You will get through this.
You will be stronger.
Even if they have to tow the battle bus for a minute.
Sometimes a tow and a friend are all you need.
to more love,
P.S. There were a lot of strokes of “luck” in the story that kept it from being worse than it was. But every single one of them required us to show up and be responsible for our own lives. That’s the theme of our casino night “You’re in Luck GNO” ~ there’s still room for you! Join us!