Like when you feel concerned about one child, only to discover it's her sister who is having the harder time. Or when you decide to spend the day cleaning your house, only to discover a friend really could have used a hand. Or when you spend nine days in bed totally sick, and then start feeling good enough to rejoin your life... only to start feeling lousy again a couple of days later. I blamed it on that darned Easter Bunny, forcing me to eat Lindt chocolate for breakfast two days in a row. And then the doctor's office called to say, "Surprise. Your blood test tells us you're getting over mono. You're no longer contagious and you're through the worst of it, but you might feel run down on and off for a couple of weeks and that's normal. It's viral, so there's nothing you can do but wait it out. Good luck."
At my lowest point of feeling sick I calmly informed Jeremy it had to be bone cancer. Or some other dreadful disease that was sucking the life out of my weary bones. I was a little off on that diagnosis. But as I begin a new week, once again wearing my pajamas and taking long breaks to lie down on my couch and stare at my ceiling, I can't help but think how often we all get it wrong. We're worrying about the wrong kid, focusing on the wrong projects, and diagnosing the wrong illnesses.
On days like today I feel like I'm swinging at the park, my head tilted back until everything is turned upside down. Everything is there, the details of the view are the same, only my perception is skewed. Mondays and Tuesdays are supposed to mark the beginning of new projects, new chores, and new lists. Not the return of the pajama parade.
I love the movie Dan in Real Life for its representation of big, happy families, good parenting, silly girls, and of course the romantic notion that it's never too late for Happily Ever After. But since yesterday I felt fine, today I feel wilted, and who knows what tomorrow might bring, this quote from Dan in Real Life seems particularly appropriate:
“I want to talk to you about the subject of plans… life plans and how we all make them, and how we hope that our kids make good, smart, safe plans of their own. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, most of our plans don’t work out as we’d hoped. So instead of asking our young people, ‘What are your plans? What do you plan to do with your life?’, maybe we should tell them this: Plan… to be surprised.”