I’ve had a ton of reminders to let go lately, some painful and all necessary reminders that I am really not in control. The notion that any of us really have control over anything is a big fat joke anyhow. And for me, even though I know this deep in my soul it’s a lesson I find myself learning over and over again in this lifetime.
Generally I do my absolute best – sometimes to my detriment (and the agitation of those around me) to plan-plan-plan my way into managing everything because I like to pretend that I am indeed in control. My philosophy remains that if I plan well enough (even over plan) and create impeccable structure then I will have room to be flexible in the moment when things get whacky. And while this is “true” (and my strategic planning capacity is a good skill) and has served me in many ways, it doesn’t negate the reality that when it comes to daily life, things are going to go how they go no matter what I have planned.
There’s nothing like being a new mom (7 weeks and counting now) to reteach me this lesson – hardcore. So, a few weeks ago when hubs and I were doing the “taking a newborn on our first road trip dance” (to attend an important family event) it was inevitable that nothing would go according to “plan.”
For whatever reason I had decided it was a great idea to do our newborn family photos before leaving for said trip – why not? Hubs was already home for the day.
Little one was having quite a morning…how could we have known that bath time would take three times longer than usual – I couldn’t have predicted the shitty (I’m literally talking about poop) situation that has us in two different bathtubs plus a non-tub sponge bath.
Running behind and it’s only 8 a.m.
Photos happened after tons of nursing, sleeping, loads more poop and some sad faces.
90-minutes behind schedule now.
I have a huge list of “must do’s” before we leave, I require help with these and have communicated to my other half his part in the gig. However he’s dealing with a huge work breakdown that needs 911 clean-up and we are both exhausted from too little sleep. My communications to him go in one ear and out the other. I end up completing the entire list solo while he’s on a call.
Another two hours pass.
It’s 4 p.m. now in the DC metropolitan area and we are just heading out, not forgetting to drop off the dry cleaning first. This leads to a 45-minute car nursing session because stopping the car wakes baby up and she remembers that she needs to eat.
At 5 p.m. we are finally on the road.
At 6 p.m. we’ve been in traffic for an hour and we’re only 20 miles from home. That’s when we realize we (he) forgot hubs’s dress clothes for our family event at home…
What to do? Well first I crack-up laughing. It’s too ridiculous and hilarious not too. I had already decided to put my angry self back into the drawer after the to-do list breakdown, it just wasn’t worth it to stay mad. We’re so late at this point that I’m too amused to do anything but laugh.
Should we go home? Should we keep moving? Should we hope to shop up in Connecticut assuming we will have enough time and the right retailers the next day? I’m determined to forge ahead. I cannot go back, we’ve come too far. We take an exit and hit the mall for a new outfit. A piece of a pay check, new diaper and mall food dinner later we are finally back on the road.
It’s nearly 8:30 p.m. and we will be driving until 1:00 a.m.
It’s just stupid at this point. But we do it, laughing all the way with a sleeping baby the whole time (whew!).
Each breakdown that day was an opportunity to remember that I am not in control here. Life is a new adventure every day – now with very little rhythm and predictability. Granted there is nothing like a big life change to serve as the teacher AND when I stop and sit quietly for a moment I know that it doesn’t require a new baby or any other big life event to learn this lesson. It’s available to us daily if we pay attention – in unexpected traffic, in breakdowns with work (that accidental email or that upset client), when you eat bad fish or when the basement floods.
The stress is not in what’s actually happening that doesn’t align with the big plan, it’s in our resistance to it – our reactions. So while on some days I freak out – I yell or cry because things aren’t going in stride with my preferences, I’m choosing to let go into the adventure. I’m choosing to breathe and to laugh. It’s all much easier that way.
After all, if the tree resisted letting the leaves go, the tree would die.
Learn from the season.