This post was most recently updated on August 30th, 2015
We’ve all had those times when plans we carefully created just fell completely apart for one reason or another, right? Let’s be honest … when was the last time a plan went perfectly for you? Hmmm?
I can tell you when my last plan came off without a hitch – it was our honeymoon trip. The wedding had gone beautifully & we left shortly after for a romantic honeymoon in New Mexico – wait – no – that went nowhere near according to plan … Ah, yes, I remember now.
We drove late into the night to get to the lovely condo my groom had arranged for our honeymoon. I slept much of the way, being worn out from the stress of the wedding planning. We arrived and settled into the condo … and the next morning I was violently ill – unable to leave the bathroom, let alone the condo- for a day and a half. Between bouts of vomiting, I sobbed to my new husband my apologies for ruining our honeymoon. He went into town and ate at a fabulous Mexican restaurant. Alone. When we finally figured out I was suffering from altitude sickness and I got some extra oxygen from a first aid station, I felt much better and the rest of the honeymoon was wonderful. But it had certainly not gone the way we planned …
Little did I know that was about to be the running theme in my life …
I’m a planner. Now, I’ve mentioned before how much I love lists and tidy little cubbies, organized drawers and cabinets, clear, uncluttered surfaces and well-ordered closets. But more than any of those things, I love a good plan. I pride myself on being able to create a plan for every event or occasion that covers even the remotest of possible situations, including vomiting, injury, hypothermia, loss of bladder control or badger attack. (We haven’t had to implement Badger Attack Plan Alpha yet, incidentally.)
Unfortunately, I can’t control every aspect of my household – usually in the form of my husband and children. Pesky creatures that they can be, they are often the reason a trip gets off to a late start, starts with a fight, or runs much longer than planned. Over the years, I’ve developed a few techniques to offset these minor inconveniences and we get along pretty well. Of course, we’re never on time anywhere, we almost always forget something and occasionally we just give up and stay home entirely, but, you know, on average, we’re good.
A week ago last Tuesday, my husband and I prepared for a very exciting trip to the grocery store in town, about 40 miles away. We were taking the 11 month old and leaving the other three at home to enjoy some sibling love in the form of ‘each goes to their own room to read, play video games or play while ignoring the other two’, which works well for them. I had carefully packed the diaper bag with extra clothes, snugglers, food, diapers, wipes, toys and everything else young Sir might need on the big adventure. (Did I mention that since he was born last October we hardly take him anywhere? First it was because I was so sick. Then everyone else in the world was sick. Then it was just too hot. You get the idea?) He doesn’t get to travel with us very often so it was a big day and he was dressed for success and very excited. Daddy had already taken the bag, my coupon binder, reusable grocery and freezer bags out to the car and was now loading Sir in his car seat. I had my purse and drink in my hand and was walking out the front door, giving my older children the customary reminders: I love you, don’t answer the door, only answer the phone if it’s Daddy and I, don’t fight, etc. and then it happened.
[Okay, I’m going to back up just a bit … you see, there’s this insanely huge crack in our front porch, right? It runs the entire length of the porch and it’s been there for years. Remember when I mentioned in an earlier post that this living arrangement was supposed to be temporary? Well, part of that temporary thinking was that we didn’t need to worry about the crack because we wouldn’t be here very long.] Back to my story … then it happened. I stepped out the door onto the crack and my ankle twisted. I started to fall. In trying to catch myself and stop the inevitably painful fall, my other ankle twisted. Crunch. I heard the sound. I felt the pain. I crumpled to the threshold of the door. It was spectacular. I cried out. My husband thought I was yelling at the kids and ignored me. My three older kids stood in shock and awe as I used my arms to pull myself backwards into the house. DH finally realized I was in trouble and came running. My daughters ran to get the ice packs and pain reliever.
I spent that day and the following four days with my feet elevated and iced – under strict supervision of the kids when Daddy was not at home. I was allowed to go to the bathroom but nowhere else in the house. My mother located a pair of crutches for me and since my left ankle wasn’t sprained as badly, after a few days it was almost pain-free and I could maneuver much more easily through the house, using the crutches to keep weight off my right ankle.
Today, I am happy that both ankles are healing nicely. I can walk without the crutches, but still have to be somewhat careful outside the house. I can drive again, thank goodness, and am now allowed to cook, make the bed and do some other household chores that Daddy and the kids had vetoed previously. The porch is coming off as soon as the weather turns colder according to my husband. He revealed to me shortly after my fall that he, himself, had fallen because of that crack numerous times – once falling completely off the porch. So. My plan to go to the grocery store took quite a turn. In the end, Daddy and Son Number One took the lists, the coupon binder and reusable grocery sacks on to the store. They returned some five hours later.
As I said before, foiled plans are the running theme in my life these days. Usually, the plan isn’t derailed quite so dramatically. Most often it’s just a series of small details that add up to something completely different than what I had in mind. But I’ve learned to be flexible and try to focus on how things could have been worse. I could have broken my ankles, for example. Or (and this possibility makes my stomach pitch just thinking about it) I could have been the one taking the baby out to the car. Instead, I was laid up for a week or so, had to miss taking my kids to some of their activities and postpone shopping for the big Birthday Week that’s starting on Sunday. Whatever – we’ll get it done and we’ll have a nice little story for our Memory Jar. And we didn’t have to use the Badger Attack Plan, which I think everyone would agree is a good thing.