Friday, August 10, 2012

When The Best Laid Plans Crumble...

One of the things that the past two and a half years has taught me is how to go with the flow. To some extent, it's something I learned most from Joe since throughout our relationship he was always goading me on to be more patient and less stressed. However, it was also a lesson that grew out of cancer and the treatments that came with it, a new baby and the new "schedules" that came with him, and now the life of single parenthood and the give and take that goes with it.

On more than one occasion, Joe's treatments interrupted plans we had made - the most memorable one being that morning in November 2011 when I had to cancel our tickets to Conan O'Brien because there was just no way Joe was strong enough to make the trip into NYC. Conan was Joe's favorite late night host and I had been so excited when I was able to surprise him with the news that we would be seeing the show when he filmed a few episodes back in NYC. I was really sad that we weren't able to go, but we still spent that day together and eventually got to watch the show we would have seen in person. The unpredictability of cancer and treatment may have altered our plans, but it didn't keep us from enjoying what we had together.

That little guy of ours is also pretty unpredictable. I remember vividly Christmas Eve 2010 as we arrived home from Joe's aunt's house with our 2 1/2 month old. Joe was tired and was going to stay home and relax and I was going to bring Domani to our Church's Christmas Eve service. I had never missed a Christmas Eve service at my church. When I say never, I mean never. And this one was extra special because it was the last one we would have with our pastor of 30+ years, the only pastor I had ever known. His wife would do her last Children's Sermon and give out her last handmade ornament. We would sing Silent Night by candlelight and I would take a picture with my two best childhood friends, just as we had done every year for as long as I could remember.

But, Domani wasn't having any of it. Once we were back at the house he cried and cried and cried and cried. Joe, being the patient wonderful man that he was, told me that we had to calm him down before I even considered taking him to church. He was right, but I was so frustrated. Joe couldn't be expected to take care of Domani on his own with how tired he was and it wasn't fair to ignore our young son's cries simply for my own gratification. I cried and argued with Joe that I was sure Domani would calm down on the car ride. I was so emotional about getting to the service that in that moment I had no patience for disrupted plans. But Joe was right and eventually the little guy was soothed at home and he actually did fall asleep comfortably in the car. He and I made it to the service in time for the Children's Sermon and the candle lighting and the Silent Night singing and the photo with my two best childhood friends. It wasn't exactly how I envisioned it, but I probably wouldn't remember the night with such fondness had it not been for the disruption.

We tend to forget about the things in our lives that go smoothly.

So today, when I got the email that our flight to Minneapolis had been canceled, I let out a sigh and started walking through in my mind the next steps. Re-book the flight. Text my friend who would be expecting us at a rehearsal dinner later that night. Call the hotel and adjust our reservation. Log on to the car rental page and change the pick up date. Decide whether we would still in fact travel to MSP for the wedding tomorrow. Sigh. And I did all of that while in a meeting for work and taking care of a rambunctious almost 2 year old. I was disappointed, for sure, at the disruption to our plans and I even cursed the bad weather once or twice.

In the end though, we did some good things with our freed up afternoon and evening. Once we got home from work, we each took a nap. I finally got to watch the episode of The Newsroom from Sunday night - the laughing and the crying that came with it were cathartic. We invited my parents and my grandfather over for dinner and Domani got to play with his Grandpop while my mom and I chatted in the kitchen. Later in the evening, I got to have a nice long chat with a friend and enjoy a couple of glasses of wine. I was even able to firm up some plans for the Mets game Sunday night and get a little encouragement from a friend in my 5k training. And then, of course, I got to write this blog post. Not so bad for a day when my best laid plans fell to pieces.

Maybe it is the way my perspective on life has changed since death so unexpectedly invaded my marital bliss. Maybe it is the lessons in patience and calm that I learned from Joe. More likely, it is a combination of the two that has brought me some level of zen in the hustle and bustle of constant change. Whatever it is, I appreciate being able to capture life in this way, even when it is highly unpredictable and not what I expected.

1 comment:

  1. YOu know? I am more and more able to go with the flow these days too - I attribute it to my age! I am finally finally finally learning that life will unfold and I can not determine exactly how that will be. I can only sit back and figure out what I can do next.
    Thanks for a thoughtful post.