Going to an indoor waterpark during the winter months is a great idea. Until you realize you have to shave your legs. All the way to the top. (I reduce my shaving area to below the knee during the pant-wearing seasons. It’s not so much about being lazy as it is about being conscientious. I’m conserving time and energy. The days are shorter. No use burning daylight clearing a hidden landscape!) And so, I spent my Friday night taming the wild frontier with a pack of razors and a hand mirror in preparation for our weekend trip to Great Wolf Lodge.

By Saturday morning, my legs were smooth and my enthusiasm had faded from “This is going to be THE BEST TIME EVER!” to “This better be worth it.” Because shaving is a lot of work. And there’s a considerable amount of mental anguish that comes from seeing the view of your thighs from the back. If God had intended for us to look there, he would have given us eyes in the back of our heads. Or giraffe necks.

I won’t keep you in suspense. It was worth it. We had a great time.

We stayed in the Wolf Den suite which alone was enough for the kids to declare the trip a success. They were impressed yet giddily suspicious to have their very own cave with their own TV they could watch while in bed. They kept asking, “Are you sure this is okay? Are we really allowed to do this?” Which I understood. Adding a TV to the bedroom is like adding alcohol to Jello. It just doesn’t seem like something you’re supposed to do. And that increases the enjoyment level exponentially.

Then, there was the waterpark.

I’ll admit I was nervous that I’d be the fattest one there and that my fun would be dampened by ongoing efforts to appear smaller. But the truth is 1) human beings are flawed, 2) fat is our common denominator and 3) there’s nowhere to hide in a bathing suit. If you don’t look fat, chances are you still feel fat and the people who don’t absorb the attention of the public with their body and/or choice of swimwear. My girth was adequately clocked in an “instantly slimming” material and that me feel good enough to forego the gut-sucking. In a sea of dimpled flesh, it’s stuff like nipple eyelashes that stand out, anyway. I was comfortable enough to get right down to having a “howling good time” with my family.

Julia was raring and ready to tackle the biggest, highest, fastest and wildest thing the place had to offer right out of the box. Lucy felt differently. She preferred to start slowly with a little crying and hiding and begging to go home. Thankfully, our strategy included a man-to-man offense so Julia was able to run off and play with Daddy while Phoebe hung out with Grandma and I focused on Lucy, which was easy since she was already fused to my leg. It took about fifteen minutes to get her into the water and hours to convince her to come out.

Dave, my mom and I kept rotating responsibilities with the kids so we all had the chance to do some stuff with each of them. Part way though the day, however, Dave suggested that I was using Lucy and Phoebe as excuses to avoid going on the really big slide. This sounded a little like being called a chicken. I don’t take kindly to being called a chicken and since I was caught with my pride on the line, I grabbed an inflated tube and marched up the stairs. My family stood below watching. I was relieved that no one chose to accompany me because it turns out those stairs are terrifying. I was careful to ascend them in the very middle as that makes it harder to look down. Or fall over the edge. I breathed a brief sigh of relief when I reached the top until I realized I’d actually have to slide down. I shifted my weight from one leg to the other and questioned the kids in the holding area around me, “Have you done this before? Is it fast? Are you scared?” They just giggled.

“Okay, you can go,” the lifeguard told me as he pulled the tube from my hands and placed it in the mouth of the slide.

“What’s the weight limit on this thing? I’m not sure I can get in. Is there another way down?” But by then, he’d magically maneuvered me into the seat and was urging me forward. The children waved me good-bye and down I went.

My family cheered as I emerged from the tunnel. Julia even shouted that I was awesome, but rescinded the sentiment when I couldn’t get out of my tube. That’s okay, though. Embarrassing parents build character. So does patience, which is why you’ll have to wait to hear more. (Not really. It’s just because nap time is over. Your character is just fine.)