Monday, July 25, 2011

"Life is too important to be taken seriously"

Several years ago we heard that our friends from North Carolina were going to be in Utah. Their son told our son that he would come see him on a certain day. This is all the information I got. A day. I wasn't sure if his family; specifically his mother whom I adore, was thinking about coming too since the last time his family stopped by she was unable to be there. Again, no definite time was given, they'd just come when they could.

Well, many things began to go wrong that day. My stack of to-dos had already been piling up and becoming worrisome and weightier all week. I was one stressed out lady. I still remember how desperate and powerless I was feeling.

The price of gas had just shot up and I was combining trips whenever I could. I realized at one point that morning that I could actually get some back-to-school shopping done on the way back from another, critical errand I had to run. So I stopped at Target that day and amidst the crowds and the whining tweens, my shopping cart began to fill with pretty good deals, and a few hard-to-finds. My mind started to relax and I was feeling not so overwhelmed anymore, not to mention quite a bit closer to staying on budget.

It was at this point that my cell phone rang. It was Nick. Not only had his friend arrived at our house, but so had the entire family, including his mom. How fast can I get home? he asks.
Well, if I left my cart, and my hard won deals, and drove like mad...15 minutes. But that meant taking two steps back into the land of overwhelming incompetance and day-late dollar-shortness. I paused for a second to consider then said..."I just can't do it". If they could wait 'til I got home (45 minutes) that would be just smashing, but I didn't expect them to. And they didn't.

All the rest of the day I felt deflated, like the biggest loser. All that I accomplished and was finally able to cross off my list was no longer such a bright light at the end of my tunnel. I had been a schmuck to my friend who was afterall, visiting from over 2,000 miles away.

Apologies and explanations have weakly been offered. And I really have no idea how she feels about all of it. I know that she's been back in town a few times and has expressed no interest in giving a get-together another try and I don't blame her. I've traveled across country with a family before and know what it's like to have a long list of people that I want to visit or feel obliged to visit, so I know first hand how stressful that day probably was for her too.

Sometimes you just can't win them all. Such is the life of a woman. No matter how hard you try, or how hard you work, you will always feel like you've let someone down. So in a way, I have really given a priceless gift to my friend: one less person to worry about pleasing. I'm quite sure I'm off her list.

But this isn't as dire, dreary or depleating as it may sound. It's actually liberating and kind of funny. We don't need a vacation or a spa package to relax, all we need to do is acknowledge our faults and have a good laugh at ourselves. It may take a while, but soon you'll be joined by many friends, all laughing at themselves. You's called retirement, aka the Golden Age.

"Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves." Colin Powell

F2 Baby

On August 11, 1999 my husband learned that when your wife shows up out of the blue at your office and wants to take you out for a slice of pie, she's probably coming to tell you something. Maybe something like, she's found a way to fill that one last empty seat in the mini-van? Yup, congratulations, another bun in the oven! Number five was every bit as exciting as the first, if not more. Of course, it didn't hurt that twenty seconds after I broke the news to Mark, a fellow patron in the restaurant stood up and shouted "get away from the windows!".

We were sitting in the restaurant part of the old Inn at Temple Square, next to the wall of windows that ran along South Temple. We dubbiously scanned the room to see if there were any obvious signs that we might want to listen to the crazy guy's frantic warning. Abruptly, other patrons started to stand and move from the windows so, still not knowing why...(maybe it was a gunman?), we left our table and moved to the center of the room as well. That is when we noticed that large debris had begun flying past the windows at uncanny speeds. The world outside had been turned into soup and someone was giving it a stir.

I found a phone in the lobby and called the babysitter at home to see how things were going there and to encourage them to go down to the basement and to also let them know we wouldn't be home for a while.

When everything had died down, people started emptying on to the streets in droves. Even people who otherwise had no business to go outside, went out to survey the damage. We were all walking up and down the streets aimlessly, all talking to each other like we'd known each other for years. Once in our car, it took us over 45 minutes just to get from State street to the I-15 on-ramp.

Everyone wants it to be special when you announce a pregnancy. But no amount of creativity or meteorological divination on my part could have ever produced a more memorable announcement than this. (even though I never did get to finish my piece of pie ).

Rachel, our fifth baby, came eight months later and has ironically been the calm after the storm. But, on the other hand, her creative powers surely carry a F3 or F4 punch that could really put any tornado to shame.