Friday, July 15, 2011
July 15, 2011 ~ Day 217
Today was assuredly that day for me, and I've got to admit that I really didn't see the happy ending coming.
My husband is out of town and our children really miss him. A lot.
One might imagine that ~ given the presence of one parent and the absence of the other ~ said children would perhaps be happy to spend time with the parent taking care of them 24/7... and lavishing them with attention and love.
As it turns out, that would be a NO.
So far it's been a little bit like this -
Me: "Hey, do you want to go for a bike ride today?"
"But you LOVE going for bike rides! You and Daddy take them all the time!"
"No I don't."
"Um... yes, you do!"
"MOMMMMM.... I *don't* want to go for a bike ride."
"I *do* like bike rides, Mom. But ONLY with my Dad."
* * * * * * *
There have been a lot of "When is Daddy coming home?" and "Where's my Daddy?" comments, and for the most part I've done a good job of not feeling too bad over the fact that I'm apparently a shoddy substitute for the 'real' (fun) thing.
I comfort myself with the following mantra:
"Someday they will grow up, and they will have children of their own, and they will realize that I am not the worst mother ever."
I then silently pray that I will still be here to see that happy day.
* * * * * * *
This morning my children were in a particularly off-color mood. Really, super grumpy.
Everything was a tantrum:
I poured them cereal.
"I don't LIKE cereal!"
"YOU DIDN'T GIVE ME ENOUGH MILK!!!"
"Why does SHE get more cereal than I get???"
I told them that after I took a quick shower, we'd go to play at our local theme park (twice in a week, what lucky kids! Thank you, annual passes!)
"NO! I DON'T WANT TO GET DRESSED!!!!!!!!!"
"You're taking a SHOWER!!!? Why do you need to take a SHOWER Mom?"
"It will just be three minutes, honey."
"THREE MINUTES????? THAT IS SOOOOO LONG!!!!!!!!!!!!"
It wasn't just directed toward me, however - as you may imagine, they were directing it at each other too.
"That's MY light saber!!! (Cup, book, shirt, crayon... you name it...) GIVE IT BACK!!!"
All in all, we had quite the grumpy house.
* * * * * *
Originally I had intended for us to leave for the theme park around 9:30am, since it opens at 10am and I had an OB-GYN appointment at 1:45pm not far away. I figured we could play at the park all morning, then hit the doctor's office on the way home.
However, by 9:50am my children were still in their pajamas, fighting over who got to use the shower first... and I was trying to stay positive and ignore their whining while making sandwiches for our picnic lunch.
Suddenly I remembered that tickets to see Portishead in Los Angeles in October went on sale right at 10am. My husband and I love this band, we met during a time when he played in a band that was often compared to Portishead and certainly influenced by its music.
Their particular sound and vibe bring back many wonderful, rich, amazing memories for me ~ of a time in life that was mostly about passionate excitement. Music and love were strongly interconnected for us, not only the love of music but the way music became integrally woven into our love for each other.
By a happy coincidence, our 9 year anniversary will fall exactly one week before the upcoming Portishead show. "Wouldn't it be wonderful," I thought - "To get tickets for this show and celebrate our 9th anniversary in Los Angeles... just the two of us?"
It seemed like an impossible dream. After all, if Adele (another wonderful artist) can sell out in minutes, surely Portishead would as well after a 13 year hiatus from touring in the United States. There are a lot of other people out there like me, who would move heaven and earth to get to that show.
Still, I didn't have much to lose. My children were so busy bickering with each other, they didn't even hear me as I tried to encourage them to get their clothes on so we could go.
Call me selfish, but it seemed like a great moment to forget about the general chaos in our house and try my luck at getting tickets.
At 9:59am I had my credit card information ready and stood with my hands poised over the Ticketmaster website, refreshing the page over and over until the tickets at last went on sale. Within about 30 seconds I had started the ticket purchase process... and my hands actually started to shake as I realized that for 5 full minutes there would be 2 Portishead tickets reserved in my name.
I typed our information into their website as swiftly and accurately as I could, in spite of the two little boys trying to swat at each other from either side of me. My fingers were still trembling and I had to force myself to take a deep breath. "MUST.NOT.LOSE.THESE.TICKETS," I told myself - and then jumped through all of Ticketmaster's lame hoops.
When at last I was sure that the purchase was complete and I had actually gotten tickets for the show at their original (non-scalper) base price, I started yelling.
"WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I shouted with my hands in the air. "YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
My sons were so surprised by this sudden ecstatic outburst from their mother, they actually forgot to fight.
"What is it Mom?"
"What happened, Mommy?"
I danced around the kitchen and tried to explain to them, in a way that would not hurt their little feelings, how excited I was to have gotten tickets for this show in Los Angeles (that no, they could not come to with us).
For at least five minutes, I felt ten years younger. Bliss!
* * * * * * *
Here is the part that really amazes me. For the rest of our day from the moment I purchased those show tickets, our timing could not have been more perfect.
We drove north just in time to eat the lunch I'd packed and go shoe shopping, before my doctor's appointment. (We'd agreed to do the theme park after the doctor's appointment...)
Our freeway exit happened to come right before a vast line of traffic, and we could see that the freeway ahead was a virtual parking lot. Our exit was 100% clear but all five of the lanes to our left were completely choked up and at a standstill. "Bye bye Traffic!!!" my children waved happily.
We found new shoes, ON SALE, for all three children in 25 minutes!
(Have you BEEN shoe shopping with three small children before? This was nothing short of a miracle.)
We arrived at the OB-GYN office perfectly on-time, and they allowed all three children to wait with me to see the doctor. (Um, that is another story for another time... LOL!)
At last it was time to go to the theme park, and we managed to get outstanding parking right near the entrance - just on a whim. "Why don't we just try?" I'd said out loud, even though the lot was supposedly full, and sure enough, there was a perfect empty spot waiting right in the front.
"That spot is OUR spot, Mommy!" the younger son said. "It was supposed to be OURS."
Then... and this is the most amazing thing of all -
Right as we entered the vast theme park I saw two familiar faces. The parents of two of my all-time best friends who I grew up with, so close they are more like sisters to me ~ and I hadn't seen their folks in maybe two years... a long while.
Yet there they were, just walking hand in hand out toward the park exit.
"Oh my gosh!" I exclaimed. "I am SO happy to see you!!!" Exuberantly I hugged them both and introduced them to my children. It made me so happy to see this beautiful couple who had been like second parents to me, and treated me like one of their own kids, for many years.
More amazing, they let me know that one of their two daughters (my incredible friend Laura*) was actually in the gift shop not 20 feet to my left with her new boyfriend and their (combined) five children.
This was truly miraculous because my friend and her new combined family live in OREGON! I haven't seen her in so long! They'd come to town just for the weekend. Needless to say, it was SO fantastic to run into them ~ especially to get to meet her new love, and all of their children. Laura looked so radiant, it made me feel radiant too. Our chance encounter made my entire day.
What are the odds?
I just don't think any of this was coincidence! For the rest of the afternoon all I could think was this:
"Wow - if my children had been well behaved this morning, I would never have run into Laura and her family this afternoon. It's so amazing that even those crazy morning tantrums were perfectly timed to throw off my planned schedule, so that I would run into these dear people in the late afternoon today."
In the end, my kids and I ended up having a fantastic afternoon and evening together ~ full of fun, laughter, hugs and even some poignant moments...
...so that by the time their father called to say good night to them at 8:30pm, all they wanted to talk about was what a good day they'd spent with ME!
If you'd asked me this morning to predict what our day had in store - I would assuredly NOT have expected Portishead tickets, 25 minute successful shoe shopping, harmonious happy children, or randomly running into Laura and her folks.
I couldn't have guessed that by tonight my grumpy boys and I would find ourselves cuddling happily on the couch watching old home movies on my laptop computer... or that they would have gone to bed so peacefully and full of love.
Thankfully, Life does have these fantastic surprises in store for us now and then... and I'm so grateful that I wasn't actually able to control our timing this morning. What I'd thought of as a disastrous start to the day turned out to herald perfection.
*Names changed to protect the privacy of the parties mentioned