There are so many things to do within an hour’s drive of Chattanooga. It’s hard to imagine ever running out of new things to show people. However, it’s a little different when you’re thinking of things to do with children.
On day 3 of our friends’ visit, I recommended we go where there were cannons. After all, if there was one thing that fascinated the four-year-old, it was guns. The bigger the better.
When we arrived at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, we thought we’d hit the mother lode. A group of people were out by a row of cannons loading them. We were all sure we were about to witness the firing of several cannons. I’m not sure which one of us was most excited.
Unfortunately, it was just a training session for volunteers who would be firing the cannons at a future event. Today was not the day.
There’s nothing worse than disappointing a child. I try so hard not to let a child hear me when I make suggestions so they don’t get their hopes up. I don’t know why I think children shouldn’t have to deal with disappointment–maybe it’s good for them to start preparing young. I just don’t want to be part of the preparation.
I’m sure I get this from my mother–she was always one to avoid getting our hopes up. If she thought we might get to do something special, she kept it a secret until the last possible moment.
For example, the year they decided to take us to Disney World, they never mentioned that we might get to go because they didn’t know if there would be enough money to pay for the trip. I don’t think my brother or I had even dared to dream about going to Disney World because it seemed so far out of reach.
Not until we opened our Christmas presents and found airplane tickets (which had to be explained to us since we’d never been on an airplane) did we have any idea our parents had even considered taking us to Disney World. To this day, I still remember the excitement of that surprise.
I always appreciated that about them–we always knew we could trust them to deliver on their promises. It’s something I try to emulate–especially with children. I don’t want to be that person who gets a child all excited only to find out it’s not going to happen after all.
I felt like our visit was like that a lot for our four-year-old friend. We didn’t go on a boat ride because the stroller wasn’t allowed on the boat. We didn’t go on the merry-go-round because wet clothes weren’t allowed and he was wet from playing in the fountains. And now, the cannons were not actually going to be fired.
I feel like I may be first on the list of people who will disappoint him in his life.