Whenever I make plans with another person, I have two strategies, one where I don't tell the children at all who we are going to see until we see them, it's exciting, it's fun and usually I use this particular strategy when the person is planning on coming to our house. The reason I don't tell them who is coming over is that if plans are canceled or something comes up for the person, I don't have to go through the disappointment of the failed expectation. The day goes on as usual, I text "That's totally fine, see you another day!" And wish them well. Because that is genuinely how I feel It's easy to get caught up in being offended when something goes different than expected. "We HAD A PLAN!" "NOW MY KIDS ARE GONNA BE DISAPPOINTED, WAY TO GO!" But it doesn't have to be like this. We don't have control over what other people do. We don't have control over traffic or the weather or anything but ourselves, which brings me to my next approach:
I tell the kids where we are going and who we are meeting, but I also say "These are OUR plans, we are going to -this place- FOR SURE and we MAY see -so and so- BUT if they don't end up coming, it's no big deal, right? We will still have the best time, because we aren't in charge of other people's lives. Only our own!"
And then naturally, kids are very excited.
We have had this happen several times where the person we are meeting had had to cancel. The kids have fun either way, Z usually says "MOM, THEY CAME, THEY REALLY DID COME, I KNEW IT, YAY" and then we have the best time or if not, Z might bring it up "I wish I could have saw -so and so-, but maybe another time!" And I say, absolutely right, we still had a good time, we can see them again soon.
This helps in a lot of ways. I avoid having any anger at my friends, they have lives and shit happens, when I decide that it doesn't affect me, even when we made plans, then it doesn't. I don't have to have any conversation that starts with "I'm sorry" or "can you believe it, they aren't coming..." Because I don't EXPECT either way. I love seeing my friends and when they do manage to get their brood out like I managed to get mine, it is wonderful and fills my heart. But the opposite doesn't happen if they cancel. In telling the kids that we made a plan, but sometimes plans change, I am empowering them, that their emotions and whether it's a "good" or a "bad" day is only up to them and absolutely no one else.
Don't place your happiness in anyone else's hands. Only let your "village" enhance the happiness you already create. Life is beautiful when you claim your power. This is what that looks like day to day.