The Ideal vs. the Actual
Parenting is all about striving for your ideals and living with the actual. Take Valentine's Day this year: I didn't have a lot of high ideals for it this year, but I ended up making a spontaneous Valentine's breakfast for the kids. I started just by making strawberry/banana smoothie and heart-shaped jam sandwiches and then I added strawberries onto the oatmeal, got out some red napkins and really tried to present it beautifully. By this time, the kids had come upstairs and I had to tell them to stay away for a few minutes to finish the surprise.
Well, boy #1 started getting all sorts of elevated ideas in his mind about this "surprise", and after being set off by one thing, he retreated upstairs while his sister came to breakfast. She decided to be helpful and tell him what the surprise was in order to encourage him to come down for it. Now the surprise was ruined AND he was disappointed by simply "breakfast with a Valentine's twist".
So much for that idea.
At the same time, I think we need to constantly try to create something a little extraordinary for our kids, with the intention of making them feel special or make a special memory. Even when those ideas seem to cank (how does one spell that anyway?), the effort is still important, (and I suppose, our reaction)...that's what family vacations are about, right? Planning one thing and having something else happen, but in the meantime we make a family memory. We do something out of the ordinary and that's what makes the difference!