I had made such plans for today. Such grand plans.
Plans to sip hot tea and contemplate its tongues of steam licking the morning air, blogging fingers poised over my keyboard, the sun streaming across my desk, loyal dog by my side, the unscheduled, unencumbered day spread out before me, my gift to myself.
Plans to write a picturesque, or witty, or literary blog post about a corner of my life.
Perhaps about Christmas memories and tins of Gigi’s cookies passed around at family gatherings. Each offering by doughy, outstretched hands met with chubby child-sized fingers seized with indecision. Which should it be? Round, crisp spice ones with almond-half winking back. Meringues, their crusty white-capped pillows belying their chewy coconut and corn flake centers. Tried and true, traditional chocolate chip with chopped (finely!) walnuts?
Or perahps about hours spent in the kitchen with Mom carefully following Fanny Farmer’s recipe for Christmas Stolen. Proofing yeast, mincing nuts, kneading until weak in the arms, all for the ultimate joy of dense loaves dressed in confectioner’s sugar warm from the oven, pats of stiff, cold butter at the ready.
Or perhaps about rearing girls who in their unfolding beauty, and lavish, yet tender layers confirm year after year, stage after stage that there are indeed “hot house plants” (you warned me Tom Cooper) which leave their father at times just slightly dumbfounded and their mother looking for the closest hothouse of her own. Girls who possess chronological ages of 16, 13 and 8, but who at any given moment can be 26, 5 or 2. Who have taught me (most especially today): “I may stand in front of you a fully-developed young woman, juggling exams, theatre try-outs and social life but inside I am also a growing five-year-old requesting German pancakes for lunch (‘more jelly please’, ‘where’s the confectioner’s sugar, that’s the best part?’, ‘are you going to eat that one or can I have it’). And a whiny, independent two year-old who wants it all (‘I most certainly can handle a dance recital, play performance, SAT, ACT and AP tests and keep my grades up! I am aware mom!’). And a mature, clear-headed twenty-five year old who has her life planned out perfectly (‘I love theatre but understand it may be very hard to find a job in that, so I will double major in college’; ‘exactly how much is in my college fund?’). “
Or perhaps about the act of “dating” my spouse of twenty-two years. Of sneaking away for an hour or two on the odd Saturday night, albeit exhausted at times, to stare across a table, any table, linen laden or faux Formica wood, into the eyes of the man I call my best friend, my lover, my “most important person”. Or better yet, of leaving all the ”hot house plants” with a patient and well-trained horticulturist (thanks Amanda) for a whole delicious day, and evening, AND (drum roll please) morning! Free to wander around like two love birds, lunching, talking, strolling, dining, and sleeping (without being woken at dawn’s light by small hands and sweet brown eyes).
Yet all these “perhaps” and their potential life as blog posts, fell by the wayside as the phone repeatedly interrupted my right brain thoughts and dragged me over to my left brain to deal with the realities of the day and its new plans.
Plans of calls and emails regarding the care of my elderly mother who is miles away in the hospital, tests inconclusive but confirming her sudden deterioration.
Plans of listening to, then praying for, my sister who is overwhelmed with the acute care of our elderly parents and who is now on day four away from her own children.
Plans of responding promptly to my daughter’s distress call, “I need my history book I forgot before second exam period!”, until an episode of middle-aged brain syndrome leaves me driving around with the book in my car until it is almost, but thankfully not, too late.
Plans of mixing, rolling and dipping two hundred bourbon balls while simultaneously baking mini-pumpkin breads because once again I have left my holiday baking until two days before school gets out.
Plans of revising the afternoon carpool to accommodate the child who asks so politely “Mom, may I stay after school to hear a science lecture”. A plan which ultimately results in her older sister having to beg a ride to theater from a friend, her younger sister being late to occupational therapy and her mother wishing she lived far out in the country, so far there was no school, carpools, or “extra-curricular activities”.
As my day morphed into something entirely different I thought of these words: “Man plans and God laughs.”
And laugh He may have as in the end (actually the very beginning) I left my tea, my sleeping dog, and my blinking cursor for God’s plans for my day. His grand plans. Not the ones I had dreamed of, but still those which I am called to as daughter, mother, health care advocate, chauffer, baker, chief cook and bottle washer. Those that I love and welcome each new morning, albeit a bit grudgingly at times.