Monday, April 23, 2012

Best laid plans

I've never been a fan of missing out on things.

Whether it's a concert of a favorite musician, half-price day at my local thrift store, or lunch with a friend, I don't like cancelling or skipping activities.  It's part of my personality, I suppose. 

And just this past weekend, I had plans to attend Empower to Connect's conference in Littleton.  I really admire Karyn Purvis' work, and which of us adoptive parents can't use a little refresher now and again of what our precious little ones have lost and experienced?  Friends from out of state were coming in and I had big plans to be a third wheel for the weekend.

The morning of the conference however, I awoke at 4 am with a burning stomach, and shortly thereafter, discovered that I had a nasty stomach virus.  (Don't you absolutely HATE that?  I can think of no worse way to wake up.)  Attending the conference was obviously out of the question at that point--I can only imagine the humiliation and horror of having to excuse myself to the bathroom throughout the day.

But oh, was I disappointed.  I'd only recently made the decision to attend and yet I'd become pretty excited about it.  I don't participate in adoption-related events very often, and sometimes it's really nice to connect with parents who are on the same journey as me.

And so instead of hearing keynote addresses from a renowned child psychologist and having lunch with two fabulous couples, I spent my day at home, with my laptop, on the couch--surrounded by my many-small-children.  Certainly not the day I'd planned or hoped for. 

Because truth be told, I'd also been a little bit excited about having two full days to myself, kid-free.  My pants weren't going to have jelly on them from sticky little hands, there wouldn't be any diapers to change, and I wouldn't be in my house with all manner of projects and work looming before me.  Maybe I'd even swing through a Starbucks drive-through on my way there, for a treat I don't have very often.  Two whole days for ME! 

Of course that didn't happen. 

But what did happen was:

--My five oldest kids filed into the living room upon waking up and one-by-one, told me they were sorry I was sick.

--My husband made the kids breakfast, got the babies up, and emptied and reloaded the dishwasher all before he left for work.

--One of my daughters and one of my sons initiated getting the littlest ones dressed, and had such glad hearts while doing it.

--I got to watch my two oldest daughters get excited about the new quilts I'd bought them the day before, and race downstairs to put them on their beds.

--My oldest got me toast and gatorade for a late lunch, the plate served on a cutting board she used as a tray.

--Then I got to see my oldest off for her dance rehearsal, dressed in her leggings and ballet flats and tshirt with a horse on it, dance bag slung over her shoulder.  I think she's growing up.

--My little Mary Lu came and cuddled with me, chubby toes and all, reminding me that sometimes there's nothing sweeter than wispy blonde hair, big blue eyes, and rosy red cheeks.

--One of my daughters colored five pages out of her coloring book for me to put on the couch and look at throughout the afternoon.

So yeah.  Not the day I'd hoped for or expected, not by a longshot.  Instead of wearing one of my cute and newly-thrifted tops with my jelly-free skinny jeans, I wore pajamas.  And my straightened-the-night-before hair was thrown back into a hasty ponytail that morning as I raced for the bathroom.  I didn't get to catch up with old friends over a good meal, or get the giggles at an inopportune time with a BFF during a workshop. 

But, I found myself thinking as I munched on my toast.  Had I trotted off to my conference this weekend, I would have missed out on an awful lot at home.  Not big huge milestone-type things, but the stuff of everyday.  Like seeing my kids clamor to help out, or sitting with little Lu Lu, or watching my beautiful 8-year-old flit around the house in her dance clothes.  None of these events are particularly significant in and of themselves, but each amounted to a snapshot in time, of my life.

My messy, crazy, opposite-of-glamorous, beautiful life.

If I could have chosen, I obviously would have gone to the conference.  For sure.  In fact, I'm still pretty bummed that I had to miss it.  But there is a surprising consolation in realizing that there is such a high opportunity cost when I walk out my front door. 

Because I live with some of the dearest souls on the planet.  And so even when my plans go awry, even when I spend my day sick on the couch at home, I kind of end up loving my day.

Plans, schmans.  My life is not all about me.  And honestly, I'm kind of glad.


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