I like to have a plan. Unstructured or unplanned are not words spoken with any frequency in my vocabulary. I wouldn't spontaneously decide to go outside and fly a kite anymore than I would stick a hot needle in my eye. If it's not on the calendar, it ain't happenin'.
Do I wish I were a little more impulsive and more flexible? A thousand times over, yes. But, my routine brings a sense of peace to my life. I need peace in my life. So, maybe in another life I will be less rigid and more spur-of-the-moment, but for now "I yam what I yam, and that's all what I yam."
I have to accept my idiosyncrasies because try as I might I can't change them. I also have to accept that my kids have idiosyncrasies of their own. They may never understand my compulsion for schedules and order any more than I will understand their own sometimes endearing, sometimes quirky traits.
Christopher is loud. He also likes to talk. Nonstop. The kid is the energizer-bunny of conversation. Unless he's asleep, he's talking. To ask him to be quiet or to stop talking is like asking him to recite the dictionary in Spanish. He doesn't know how. His conversational skills serve him well, however, with his friends who are eager to sit and listen to Christopher talk about anything and everything and laugh while doing it. At a recent school party several parents told me how their children come home after school sharing stories of Christopher's conversations and comedic talents. They think he's a hoot. Even though my precious son can be exhausting sometimes, I'd rather have a child who talks incessantly and lives life with his kind of zeal than one who is quiet with the personality of a rock.
Nicholas is a pack-rat of the worst kind. He cannot throw anything away. Ever. I certainly don't understand his need to keep every button, piece of tape, broken pencil, orphaned game piece or other hundreds of thingamajigs, but they are important to him. He's allowed to keep his "stuff" as long as it's put away in drawers, containers or on the shelves behind closed closet doors. He has seven dresser drawers only three of which are used for clothes!
Sometimes Christopher tries to be quiet but it doesn't work. Sometimes Nicholas tries to part with his things but it's too hard. Sometimes I try to be less rigid, like on our recent trip to Walt Disney World and then I fall back into my old habits.
In past trips to Disney, I had dining reservations made months in advance and daily schedules planned to the minute with accompanying maps to make sure we arrived at our destination on time. I would print a vacation-week calendar labeled with park transportation options, confirmation numbers, extra magic hour schedules, resort amenities and how much time we could fit in at the pool.
It's a sickness, I know.
So, this year I decided to not have a schedule. We would arrive at the parks with no set itinerary and no accompanying map. The horror!
I survived. I'm not saying it was easy because I had a slight anxiety attack at the Animal Kingdom when I realized we would miss Finding Nemo-The Musical because we decided to spend extra time in Asia and DinoLand U.S.A. However, if I had my military-precision schedule in hand, Christopher would have missed the chance to ride Primeval Whirl, his first roller coaster. We would have missed the chance to ride the Dinosaur ride twice. Nicholas and I wouldn't have bonded over Expedition Everest as many times as we were able. Besides, we made it to the Festival of the Lion King and Flights of Wonder shows on time so all was good.
Even though I left my vacation week calendar at home and pretended to have a schedule-free week I still had us at the parks on time for Extra Magic Hours. We still managed to get to the transportation stations on time and in order. I still managed to get everyone to the shows we did plan to see at the Animal Kingdom. We also got through Epcot and Magic Kingdom hitting every one of our favorite rides and shows and then some.
I may not have had a piece of paper to keep track of our schedule but my mind was constantly calculating just the same. Try as I might to be spontaneous, I still need some order. I still need a plan.
I yam what I yam. And so are you. And that's what makes us unique.