There’s nothing like the weather to stop us dead in our tracks and remind us just how not in control we really are.
Tonight, we’re awaiting a huge blizzard. Shortly after posting this, I plan to sneak off to the grocery store for some extra supplies and a few movies, just in case we’re holed in for longer than a few hours. Naturally, the kids are giddy beyond giddy over the announcement on television that school will be closed tomorrow. And at the coffee shop where I’m hanging out tonight, college students are arriving with huge smiles spread across their faces. “No classes tomorrow! Yay!”
Excitement is in the air.
And all I can think is, if things had gone as planned, I would be in a hotel room tonight with my daughter, Olivia, in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, enjoying some much-needed bonding time and making final preparations fora presentation I was to give to three groups of eager writers at a young author conference.
For the most part, I’ve accepted the loss, but I can’t help but consider the prep work that took place over the last couple of days (not to mention the plans that began to take root a year ago) all to make my small part in this conference possible. And I’m thinking that maybe if I just write it down and release it, I’ll be able to fully move on and allow myself to get caught up in the kids’ excitement over the forthcoming snow day.
So, here’s my list. In order to leave town, I:
Summoned the help of a friend to watch my 3-year-old for two afternoons.
Hired a sitter for two of those hours when my friend would be unavailable.
Prepped my kindergartner as to the change of plans that would take place after school (and watched the confusion in his face).
Called or emailed the teachers to make sure they knew the plan.
Realized late in the game my second-grader would need separate after-school plans, and had to make arrangement for rides for her for both days.
Made sure clothes for everyone for the next two days were washed and ready to go, and that my travel companion had her bags packed.
Bought some extra frozen pizzas, just in case.
Took up half a date with my husband to go over the details (and made his head spin).
Requested the help of another friend to cover my oldest son’s after-school arrangements.
Prepped my oldest son as to the change of plans (and watched his disinterested expression).
Brought my youngest daughter with me to a store on Sunday to find special treats for conference participants; treats that would coincide with my presentation (this required a lot of rumination on my part, and patience on my daughter’s, as I thought through the final details).
Discussed the participation part of the presentation with my daughter to see what she thought, asked her input, then got excited over her positive response.
Shopped for a new sweater (on sale at Target, $8).
Stayed up late packing, adding to Powerpoint slideshow, looking up travel route on Mapquest and collecting conference instructions/maps/schedules.
Spent all of the drive to school this morning explaining Plan A and Plan B to each child.
Listened to my husband, his mother and my friend offer frequent updates on weather predictions, all with strong cautionary hints against going.
Checked my inbox to see that all of the above had just come to a grinding halt with the subject line: CANCELED.
Made phone calls to schools, friend, babysitter to reverse all of the above.
Began the process of unpacking…
For those who read through that whole list, bless your hearts. I wouldn’t be hurt to hear you skimmed through it. I wrote it mainly for myself, after all, and I realize how whiny it sounds. But I didn’t write it to complain, honestly. I wrote it because I know that many parents out there are relating right now. We can plan and plan and plan, but in the end, it’s not in our control. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature and other forces, and time and again, we will be humbled by those forces that are greater than ourselves.
And though it may be frustrating for a moment or two, it also can be freeing if we allow it to be.
We’re not in control, and that’s okay. We can succumb and enjoy whatever Plan C — the plan that was unfolding as we were concocting A&B — reveals itself and surprises us.
For example, if I hadn’t been here today, I would not have been able to pick up my daughter from her Brownie meeting and hear her say, “This is for you, Mom.” I would not have had the privilege of opening up her gift, right there on the spot, and meeting a cute, handmade yarn doll named Sarah.
Alright, Sarah, you look like you’d be up for just about anything, so, let’s go have a Snow Day!
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