Peace in Disappointment

Photo by Jan Kopu0159iva on

This past weekend, we took a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo with our kiddos (I can’t believe it’s only 30 minutes away!). It’s a really nice zoo, fairly well maintained, and full of great animals. The weather was sunny and about 50 degrees. There are about four “indoor” exhibit spaces, so we were able to break up the day nicely, warming up when it was needed.

While the day was pretty close to perfect, something else happened at the end of the day that really made an impression on me…. I’m still thinking about it days later, so it seems share-worthy.

LM2 waited patiently all day to see the Reptile House. It’s his favorite. He likes snakes and lizards. The reptile house might be my least favorite, but it’s fun to see him get excited about animals that slither.

This trip, we walked the opposite direction than we usually do, getting to the hippos and zebras first, and then working our way back toward the zoo entrance. This means we saved the reptile house for last. We got there just around 4 p.m., giving us plenty of time before the zoo’s close at 5 p.m. to explore our scaly little friends.

Or so we thought.

Apparently, in the winter months, the zoo closes their indoor exhibits at 4 p.m.


Well, for a six-year-old-snake-lover, this news was close to devastating. There were tears. Many tears.

But you know what? After that we were given an opportunity to teach our kiddos about disappointment and appropriate reactions and how to deal with our feelings.

We hugged. We cried. We calmed down.

We told our little man that sometimes, things happen. Sometimes, we don’t know all the information about a place we’ve visited. Sometimes, life surprises us and it stinks. But we can make our day great or not so great. It’s a choice. Life is a choice. Our reactions are all choices. We can breathe and get calm and realize that disappointment is a fine feeling, but if we let it last longer than it needs to, it will only serve to ruin the day. And it is ultimately our choice how we react and view the day.

LM2 bounced back.

We went home without bribery that we’d “get an ice cream” or “a new toy” or any of the things that might make a person feel better. We talked about the things we loved about the zoo. We promised to go back another time to see the reptiles. We made plans for an awesome dinner and some well-needed rest in the car.

I wanted to break out into a verse or two of “My Favorite Things,” from The Sound of Music. But we didn’t need that. In no time at all, we were ok. And the peace of seeing how well LM2 handled the situation has multiplied every time I think about it. I’m so proud of him.

When we talked about our time at the zoo later in the week, the reptile house came up. The disappointment came up. But it was quickly alleviated with the phrase, “Next time!” and we remembered to focus on the good stuff from our day at the zoo. And that brings upon my heart nothing but peace.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

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