On Saturday, we were headed to the Botanical Gardens. But the kids got cranky. Michelle suggested we head home and regroup. I was focused to forge on. It’s orchid season after all. “Why can’t you ever just change the plan?” Michelle asked. Eventually, I conceded and we drove home in a car full of Cheerios and Goldfish. Once a decision is made, even if it’s to go Gardening, I don’t like the change the plan.
This weekend, my mom and step dad were scheduled to visit us. By us, I mean their aforementioned grandchildren. Michelle and I are mere conduits. We got busy preplanning activities for the weekend. We made a geriatric-friendly grocery list (Fiber One cereal topping the list). We reserved passes to the Intrepid Museum and the Stamford Nature Center. We began cleaning and decorating our common areas to create the illusion that our house isn’t systematically destroyed on a daily basis by our two-headed mess-making machine.
A day before they were supposed to leave to catch their flight, my step dad found out that his step mom, Mary Ann, passed away. When my mom called to tell me, I was saddened for everyone involved. Death is shitty. I was also bummed because I knew how excited the kids were for them to visit. I knew we’d have to change our plans. Not my strong suit.
I took a deep breath. In 1-2-3-4. Out 4-3-2-1. “Keep perspective,” I thought before realizing it was no big deal to reschedule their trip. Then I started thinking of Mary Ann. No human being perseveres for 98 years without adjusting plans from time to time. Think of how many moments in a century she must have had to do that. World War II, raising kids in the 50s, women’s suffrage, Nixon, Polio, disco, the beehive (she was a hair dresser), the rise of the VCR, the fall of Blockbuster Video, recessions, deaths, ruined dinner recipes (although I doubt she ever botched her Lebanese grape leaves), decades of marriage, cars without air conditioning/power windows/seat belts/navigation with cranky kids in the back who frequently force you go home and regroup. This week Mary Ann had yet another change of plans. Whatever’s next for her, she’ll be ready. By 98, I hope I will be too.