I woke this morning with a plan. A complicated, multi-pronged plan for getting kids and parents three different places at all different times at opposite ends of town. Both parents scheduled to work at overlapping times, one kid who needed to be one place with a parent, the other two left as loose ends to be tied somewhere and no plan for contingencies.
One phone call and all plans were out the window. The husband had to cover someone else's shift at the last minute. As the default, on-duty parent this morning, I did the only thing that made sense. I called out of work myself and took over. In the end, it was a simpler morning that kept all five us relaxed, happy and on the same side of town.
Today was the kind of day I dread. Our family tends to avoid these weekend rodeos. As a majority introvert family, we prefer to pace ourselves with carefully selected (and free) activities that fit into our family. These years with them come only once and we'd rather not spend them in a flurry of activity with little time for all of us to reflect on who we are and who or what we belong to.
Today was also an anniversary for me. Sixteen years ago today I began learning and reflecting on who I am and who I belong to. I slowed down. I put the cap on the bottle of booze. I listened. I cried. A lot. I raged. I accepted that broken part of myself and I began recovering.
Sixteen years ago today, I walked into a room full of strangers and was offered a cup of coffee by a kind woman who asked me when I last drank. Noticing my shaking hands, she handed me half a cup. I tried hard not to spill it. We talked. She told me her story. She stayed with me all day long, helped me empty bottles of wine, and took me to her house where I cried on her sofa for hours. Janice, who is among many women who helped save my life, died this year.
On that day, I also briefly shook hands with the man who is now my husband. I was surrounded by women at that moment and he thought it best to leave me alone for a while. After all, he thought, that woman is a mess. (I'm sure he still thinks this some days.)
And this week, I could have easily melted into that mess of a woman with a wine glass. I didn't, though I really wanted to. It would have been much easier than dealing with the barrage of monkey wrenches thrown into an overfull schedule.
You see, my son was suspended from school this week. On the evening of his unplanned day off, he and I attended a workshop for his First Reconciliation process. Today there was a retreat for his class to which I planned on sending him with his father. Someone knew that I needed to be there with him. Reconciliation is about forgiveness and we both needed that reminder this week.
So instead of executing the complicated and stressful Plan A, I spent the morning talking about forgiveness and conscience with fellow Catholics and participating in a meal-packaging service activity with my son and daughter.
Then I went home, introverted pretty hard, and took a nap. I can't think of a better way to celebrate 16 years of grace and gratitude.