I had big plans for the weekend. Thursday I was meeting a friend for dinner and a movie. I had worked the details out with big Luke. It’s no small feat for two moms to arrange nights away from our families when you have soccer, homework, dinner time, etc. Friday I was planning to go to Columbia to visit another friend and her new baby. I had arranged childcare for Elle and confirmed with my girlfriend that the timing was good for her. I waited until the last minute to firm up all the details because things change so rapidly around here that sometimes last minute just works best. About 10 minutes after confirming my plans with all involved parties (5 different sets of people!), I got a call from Elle’s daycare that she had just thrown up and I needed to come get her. I dropped what I was doing at work and headed out the door.
I texted everyone to let them know that our plans were off. No one wants to be within 100 miles of a stomach bug.
Things were not going as planned . . .
The rapidly changing nature of parenting has been difficult for me to adapt to. It’s unpredictable, sometimes down to the minute. I don’t think quickly on my feet so this can be a struggle for me.
The other night I was making dinner and all of the kids were having meltdowns. I had to stop and think, “Okay, what does everyone need right now? How can I accommodate that? Do I need a more simple dinner plan?” So, I popped Luke and Elle in the bathtub and got Fleet to help me chop and stir in the kitchen. For some reason, bath time works wonders on my kids and Fleet loves to help in the kitchen. Sometimes it can be hard to identify everyone’s needs in the midst of your own needs and desires. I often have to quickly adjust so that I can still get something done. Other times, I have to abandon my plans completely.
I’ve come to realize that “ruined” plans aren’t all bad. On Thursday, Elle was sick and I got tons of snuggles. Then, Luke offered to take all three kids to soccer, even though it didn’t start til 6:30 when bedtime is 7pm AND one of the kids had a stomach bug AND it was freezing outside. I took him up on it. I got my girls night and Luke got the opportunity to do something generous for me. Plus he ended up having a good time with the kids. I hated having to cancel my plans to go to Columbia but at least the stomach bug hit before we got there and exposed a 6 week old baby. (Update: 4 of us got the bug over the weekend!)
Parenting is constantly changing. Your plans, your kids needs, the stages they are going through; it seems like they change everyday. Not all the changes are bad. They may be hard to adapt to at times but sometimes my “ruined” plans turn into my favorite moments.
Last week, I had a total meltdown after my doctors appointment. (See my last Funny Files post for details.) About an hour after I got to work, I got a call from Fleet’s school that he had a fever and I needed to come get him. I had already had a tough morning. I was late to work and now I was having to leave early. But you know what? Being home and snuggling with Fleet was exactly what I needed. I needed a rest. I needed a moment to breathe and to just be. There are blessings in so many “ruined” moments, I just have find them.
Luke and I have made (and are still in the process of making) a pretty big family by American standards. In a few months time, we will have the needs of four other people to consider. That’s no joke. There will be a degree of sacrifice that we will all have to make. This is true no matter the size of your family. It’s our job as parents to show our kids what this looks like; to find the best in whatever situation this parenting gig lands us in, to help our kids adapt and to give ourselves and them some GRACE.
And when that “ruined” plan is just that, there is always tomorrow.