Yesterday was the last Sunday before my brother’s family leaves for Australia, and therefore the last chance for a joint (advanced) birthday celebration of my daughter and my niece whose birthdays fall just three days apart. On Saturday, they were allowed to plan what they would like to do. After several back-and-forth consultations with me about their choices and the considerations behind them, they finally settled for a pool party in a resort up on a hill.

However, after attending the Sunday morning mass, it became quite clear that it’s not going to be a sunny day (and then light rain actually ensued). So as not to disappoint the kids (they were already in their swim wears), I got busy on the phone looking for an alternative pool…an indoor pool. In between calls, I urged the celebrants to think of “Plan B”. Stubborn as she is, my daughter won’t hear of it! Her mind was already made up the previous day and so the original plan has to happen!

Finally, we arrived at a conclusion that there is no indoor pool in the whole city. So a quick suggestion had to be offered as the kids were getting restless. By then my soon-to-be-ten-year-old daughter was already crying and still insisting that they were going to swim that day, even after much explanation about having no control over the weather.

Going to the movies to watch the sequel of “Alvin and the Chipmunks” was the magic suggestion that brighten the faces of the younger kids. To make it more appealing to my daughter, we reminded her of the “girls’ night out” she had last year with her closest friends and how exciting it would be to do a similar celebration with her cousins and family…i.e. making the choice on where to dine, ordering the food by herself, and playing in the mall arcade, this time after watching a movie. Her co-celebrant already bought the idea when my daughter finally agreed.

In the end, she still asked her mom if she can cry a bit more and promised to turn her mood around. She was assured that she may and that crying can relieve the frustration she’s feeling. Indeed, it turned out to be a fun, wonderful, and tiring day at the mall for kids and adults alike.

Being as stubborn as she is, my wife and I knew how she felt and are confident that she’d eventually learn to manage the unplanned, the unexpected better than we did in the various phases of our lives…for indeed life is full of surprises and our attitude towards these is the only power we have over them.

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