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Of children and plans

Granny trying to wrangle
the great-grandchildren.
Maryland March 2012
"Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans." -John Lennon

After the husband and the Navy and the baby and then the cat and then the twins and finally the dog came along, my plans became fluid. When it was just W and I, we would make reservations for dinner, only to cancel them because of a fast cruise. Then the baby came along and nap times started becoming the decision maker in our house ("I can meet you after two..."). Then I needed to find someone to watch the cat so that we could go on vacation. The twins, yes, that really adjusted our schedule. Nap times didn't just decide when we would do things, but became a huge fixation in our house ("Did they take their morning nap?" actually means "Will they take their afternoon nap? Will we sleep tonight?"). And finally the dog. Having never been a dog owner-- not counting the cocker spaniel my parents had when I was young that I never liked-- I was surprised at how much of our schedule is dictated by the dog. If I leave for a play date in the morning and go to lunch afterwards, I could let the babies nap in the car, but I will still want to get home at some point to let the dog out. Plus, how you can you stay gone long with a face as sweet as his pitifully watching you leave in between the bars of the crate? My life, which still revolves around the Navy schedule, now is pulled in all these directions and all I can do is write in my planner with pencil.

They go in three different directions.
Poconos, PA March 2012
When C and O came down with RSV, all our plans flew out the window. W was going to spend the week studying. Instead he spent the week at home with a three-year old and a sick ten and a half-month old. Thankfully, his college professors were more than understanding and allowed him to reschedule or turn in late most everything that was planned that week. (Time to brag on my husband: not only did he finish all his homework and study some, I came home to a clean house and happy children.) At the end of January, I met a great gal at the mall I would really like to have a play date with; every single time we've set something up, I've had to reschedule. Here we are mid-March and I'm still working on a date with her. Same with the woman I met mid-February. When the kids get sick or the schedule gets thrown off, everything tends to fly out the window. We recently moved and I have yet to meet our new neighbors.

If it were just me, I would be horrified to exchange numbers with a friend and not call within a week or two to get lunch or invite them over for dinner. I feel guilty loading the car up, seeing my neighbors homes and not knowing their names. In all honesty, I used to bake cookies and bring my card over when I moved into a neighborhood (it wasn't well received in Hawaii). But what can I do? It's not just me. I have obligations that I need to manage, so I prioritize. Instead of meeting my new neighbors face to face, I dropped hand written notes in their mailboxes saying hello. I've even cancelled play dates over text message-- yes, shudder, I know-- but if I know I won't be able to make it and I have a child throwing up in my arms and another screaming in his crib, I would much rather inform my friend now instead of later. Sometimes life just happens.

My husband told me the other day that he has changed his definition of happiness. He said, "Happiness is being able to look past the imperfections in life." (Very deep coming from a man who was cleaning a sink full of baby bottles and sippy cups.) I totally agree with him. As our best laid plans often go awry, isn't it best to enjoy what comes our way?


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