All week we had been looking forward to today: music class followed by a visit with Nana and our extended family, some of whom are beginning on a many months-long trip in a few days. I love any time that our family is together, and we haven’t yet seen Nana this month.

But we took something else with us from our Tuesday visit to the library, something other than books.

Katie woke up with a moist cough a couple of days ago. Yesterday, a small fever. Today too. She is on the mend, but the timing is just a day off. You can’t pass a fever around, even when the kiddo is bouncy and seems perky otherwise. It wouldn’t be right to bring that fever to music class and our friends, even though we wanted so badly to go and try out the new music we just got last week. And it would not have been right to bring exposure to our young cousins who have a long flight soon and acclimation to new routines. And we can’t expose our Nana, either.


It is hard to let go of plans… All last night and this morning I was hoping her fever would break. Hoping. Hoping. I wanted, wanted, wanted this fun day we had all anticipated eagerly.

I tried to keep a poker face about it, though. I mean, really. Who is supposed to be the mature adult here, right? Katie broached it a couple of times, “Will we be able to go to Nana’s?”

It was the perfect opportunity to teach her about things out of our control and having to make the best of what comes, instead. It is okay, I told her. We can visit Nana next week or the week after. You do not need to worry. Set it out of your mind. Besides, maybe a day home is just what we need. We can stay in our jammies all day, make crafts, and just rest. We can turn this day into something still great.

If I can teach her how to hold a situation three-dimensionally in her mind, and turn it until she sees the good in it, then I will have done my job as her mother. My cousin Kd has shared this quote from Mary Engelbreit a few times:

“If you don’t like something—change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”

We have the option to rotate whatever object is heavy in our minds. We can revolve a disappointment around the axis, and we can choose see all the different planes that cut across and through it.

So we stayed in our jammies. Cuddled. Read. Worked on floor puzzles, all three of us together. I held an informal make-up music class for the kiddos in our living room. We danced, and Eric patted his legs just like we do in class and even repeated a tonal pattern after me. We got out the keyboard. We chased. We made a fruit smoothie with five different fruits. It was good. It was an unexpected, rotated day, and it was good.

When Eric napped, we had a chance to make one of our dragon crafts:

We popped on Flower Drum Song and got to work on a small paper chain (I had pre-cut the strips one night). I try to watch Flower Drum Song at least once a year, so why not in the middle of our China unit? Love it.

We used a template for the dragon’s head and tail, colored it, and attached it to our chain. You can find the template at Craft Jr.’s Dragon Paper Crafts. The project suggested on that site uses paper folded in accordion style. That would work too, obviously. We just made a paper chain because…well, because we wanted to. We like paper chains and could vary the color of the dragon’s body. We colored the template together and really had fun doing it.

We used straws to give Katie something to hold onto with both hands to control the dragon. We enjoyed playing with him. Dragons are awesome. Chinese culture, in particular, celebrates their beauty.

Today was unexpected, yet beautiful in all that it had to offer.