I’ve had plans with my friend Gina from New York for over three months. She was in town this past weekend and we’d put a dinner date on our calendars for Monday the 27th. Well as luck would have it, the chaos of the past month just happened to culminate on that exact day. It was the day of appointments and road construction, tears and cursing. But we had had the plans so long I was determined to keep them. I even tried to help my daughter through the day without a nap so that she would crash out early and Gina and I would be able to talk in peace about the artwork that she is going to do for this blog and possibly for the cover of my some-day-coming book.
But on that Monday of apocalyptic suffering, nothing could go right. Not even skipping a nap so that I could have some peace and quiet in the evening. My daughter crashed out at 4pm guaranteeing a long, late and cranky night. Just when I thought the universe really was conspiring to ruin me, Gina called and suggested we meet the next night instead. It was the first time all day I sighed with relief.
That night Ryan and Twila and I lay in bed and watched movies, hardly able to move from exhaustion of the day and fell asleep ready for it to be over.
Yesterday the floors were sanded. Twila and I spent the day at the zoo. I was determined to relax and have some fun. It was a perfect, sunny day. We walked around, visiting the tigers, the prairie dogs, the camels, the sand sharks. If I began to pull Twila by the hand, hurrying her along, she would say to me: “Mommy, let’s go really slow.” And we would.
Last night when Gina did come over, there was no furniture on the main floor’s raw wood save for the couch tipped on its side in the kitchen. But it didn’t bother me. It was the first time I had seen Gina in years and the very first time she had seen my house and usually I would feel the need to make it look perfect, to cook one of my best meals and have my daughter happily sleeping or rested enough to contentedly watch a movie while we talked.
Instead, I threw some couch cushions on the floor, plugged in a singular lamp and opened a couple bottles of Erath Pinot Gris. We talked and laughed and caught up. My sister Amy and her boyfriend stopped by and pulled up a piece of floor. They helped placate my terribly wild and fussy two-year-old so that Gina and I could talk a little business—not as much as I had hoped, but enough to get us started—and we had fun.
I let go of my need to make things perfect, to micromanage and manipulate a situation into my imperfect image of how things should be. The house was so messed up, the week so stressful and busy that I knew my human efforts could not possibly salvage it. I actually recognized (for maybe the first time ever) that I can’t make everything work how I want it to all the time; so I let go and threw my hands up and threw the couch cushions on the floor. And I think the universe was satisfied that it had finally proven its point.