Last week my parents came to town to celebrate my oldest son’s birthday. We had a great time shopping for a super cool gift from Grandma and Grandpa, hanging out in their hotel room, and playing at a local pumpkin patch. All of our plans for their visit fell into place beautifully, right down to the whether.
Then Dad got bit by a dog.
No, you didn’t read that incorrectly. We were all getting ready to go out to dinner and Dad ventured down to the lobby. A vicious Scottish terrier took advantage of his owner being entranced with a call on her cell phone, snapped his leash, lunged toward Dad, and bit him on the leg. Thankfully Dad wasn’t seriously hurt, just REALLY mad. But he did have to report the bite, go to the ER to have it checked, get a tetanus shot since he hadn’t had one in decades (not fun), and fill a prescription, which pretty much blew our dinner plans.
Of course we were disappointed but you know what? We still had a fun night. We ate ribs and chicken wings from the deli, watched a silly movie, talked about what should happen to dogs that bite and why animals should not be allowed in hotels, and called both my sisters so Dad could retell his dramatic story. I expected Christian to feel jilted but he didn’t seem to mind. It gave him time to play the game he’d bought with some birthday money. Nathan had another chance to color with Grandma and sucker her into a few more rounds of Mancala (he is totally addicted to the game). Dad kept apologizing for putting a damper on the evening but we assured him, “Actually, it’s kind of nice to hang out. Besides, it’s not your fault. It’s that horrible dog’s fault!” Of course, part of our good attitude probably had to do with the knowledge that things could have been far worse! We were more concerned with him then dinner.
This reminded all of us that we never really know what a casual stroll out the door will bring. Plans can change in a split second. I can’t say that I always respond as I did last week. I can remember plenty of times when I pouted over an unforeseen illness, car trouble, or other inconvenience that kept me from doing what I’d been looking forward to. But life is much more enjoyable when I respond as we all did to Dad’s surprise attack—to thank God that it wasn’t a tragedy, find a plan B, and have a good time anyway.