Monday, April 9, 2012

Mommy Mondays: Not According to Plan

A couple of months ago, we made plans to drive up to Philadelphia with friends for Easter/Passover weekend to take our kids to Sesame Place, an amusement park completely devoted to Sesame Street. That made us pretty awesome parents in my book. Of course, I can't really take the credit, since it was Courtney's idea, but I was excited to present Jack with a day of total fun. The hotel had a pool, there's absolutely nothing else around Sesame Place, so the kids were guaranteed an entire day at the park, and we even got a suite at the hotel so Jack could sleep in the bedroom and John and I could sleep on the pull-out couch in the living room. But then, two nights before the trip, Courtney noticed some fine print on the bottom of the website for the first time: "Park opens for the season on April 28."

Whoops. There weren't all our carefully laid plans. Thank god our kids weren't old enough to understand. Otherwise we would have been ordering some last-minute Elmo costumes or scrambling desperately to find a suitable alternative. Instead, we planned a nice Easter brunch for Saturday and a trip up to our friends' farm for Sunday. It wasn't going to be as exciting as Sesame Place, we figured, but it was better than nothing.

Does this child look disappointed to you?
Turns out the weekend was awesome. I'm sure we would have had a great time at Sesame Place, of course, but it's funny what can happen when your plans go seriously awry. On Saturday, Jack and Anneliese had a wonderful mini-egg hunt, thanks to Courtney, and the farm on Sunday couldn't have been better. Jack got to hold a baby lamb:

Jack and Squid
And "drive" a tractor:

The only bad part was trying to get Jack OFF the tractor
And play with goats and run amok, and even do a second Easter egg hunt. And I learned a couple things this weekend, too. First, that I definitely do NOT want to own a farm. Our friends Nick and Katie, who are just as urban as you and me but decided to take over a family farm that was going into foreclosure, have had to work literally around the clock to take care of their 80-something sheep. Thanks to a ram getting in with the sheep early, many of the baby lambs (yes, I realize a lamb is a baby sheep, but these lambs are so little I'm calling them baby lambs) were born when there was still snow on the ground, which meant Nick and Katie have had to not only bring the lambs into their one-room house, but occasionally into their bed. The neat-freak part of me was going slightly insane while we were there (there was a sheep nibbling off of Jack's plate while he ate lunch), but Katie has made the best of a truly insane situation. She commutes three hours a day and gets about three hours of sleep a night. The rest of the time she's working and bottle-feeding lamblets. So while Jack may have had the time of his life on the farm, I think it's safe to say we will not be adopting a sheep any time soon.

I'm also trying to accept the fact that the universe has a plan for me, even if I can't see it yet. Was Russia my first choice? Absolutely not. But I do believe there's something waiting there for me. With every book I write that doesn't get published, I tell myself the next one will be "it." I still think it's going to happen some day, but like everything else, probably not how I expect it to. Letting go of my need to control the future is, I'm coming to find, my life lesson. I think the Foreign Service should help quite a bit with that. After all, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." And sometimes, it's the moments in life we didn't plan for that are the very best of all.


Mom said...

Hopefully Jack will be able to visit Montana soon and we can try to rustle up a ride on a tractor with a neighbor, maybe Ron Yates.

Alleged Author said...

The Russia one will be it! :)

Hope Roberson said...

I think I'm learning the same life lesson :) And I agree, those little unexpected side trips and delays often bring some great surprises :)

Emily R. King said...

What cute pictures! I am also learning to be flexible. I used to live according to plans and goals, and I still do, but I also enjoy each day. I'm learning to take it one day at a time, one step at a time.

Mara Rae said...

Mom - we need a tractor AND baby sheep!

Cara - are you saying Friday isn't it?? That makes me sad :( But the next one would be nice if this one can't work out!

Hope - glad I'm not the only one figuring this out :)

Emily - enjoying each day...definitely something I need to focus on. I'm such a planner that I get too caught up in the future.

David P. King said...

Plan. I love that word. It means you have something in mind to do, but it doesn't have to be exactly how you imagined it. In fact, nothing I've planned turned out to be what I imagined. The trick is making the best of it, like you guys did. :)

Mara Rae said...

Hi David! Nothing has turned out like I planned either. Why has it taken me so long to figure this out? So much wasted energy :P