Here’s the whole story:
When I picked my 7-year-old up from school this past Tuesday, I was shocked when she told me she had the next day off. In fact, I didn’t believe her. I had to ask the expert.
“Siri,” I said to my phone. “Is tomorrow a holiday?”
“Yes. Tomorrow is Veterans Day.”
What????? I thought we scheduled holidays on conveniently planned Mondays, not a random Wednesday. But since I’m a writer who works from home, I wasn’t too worried. I can adapt to these kinds of things easier than someone with a clock-in job. I knew my word count wasn’t going to be met, but I’m able to work around setbacks. (Yes, I instantly felt guilty for looking at this as a “setback.”)
So, because of that guilt, I decided I would look at this as an opportunity to spend time with my kids. I quickly put together a Plan B for the day that included the earliest showing of The Peanuts Movie because my youngest daughter wanted to see it and so did I. Neither of my older kids (teenager+) wanted any part of a plan that involved the word “early.”
And it was kind of a selfish plan now that I think about it. I was going to spend the morning at the movies so I wouldn’t feel guilty, then try to sneak in writing in the afternoon. So at about 10:30, my seven-year-old and I headed to the mall for the 10:45 showing. You might be thinking that was cutting it close, but it was hard getting out the door, and cutting it close has never been a problem before… until Veteran’s Day fell on a random Wednesday, that is, because every other parent in Southern California had the same idea. I had never seen a longer line at this particular movie theater. The 10:45 showing quickly sold out. But I was still holding out hope for the 11:20. I knew if I didn’t make the 11:20, though, I’d have to wait until 1:15, or talk my daughter out of going. Good Grief!
When we finally got to the ticket counter, yep, the guy told me the 11:20 had sold out too. I looked at my daughter’s face. She definitely wanted to see this movie, so we were stuck at the mall until 1:15.
At first, I was bummed. Seriously bummed because I was still trying to control the day and make it “productive.” My daughter was just being squeezed into my own plan.
But, life had different plans for us. And once I let go of what I thought it should be, I had an amazing time being spontaneous (something I’m normally not) with my daughter.
We went shopping. We bought some Beanie Boos, had lunch in the food court; we laughed and saw some people we knew. Before we knew it, it was time to watch the movie, and my daughter was saying things like, “This is the best day ever!”
I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone, so I will try to say the next part without spoiling anything (but look away if you’d be bummed, just in case). At the end of the movie, Charlie Brown asks the Little Red-Haired Girl why she picked him to be her partner at school, and she said it was because of the person he was…
And it hit me — “That’s what’s important here, blockhead! You need to stop putting your schedule and your needs first and be more concerned with the people around you, and the person you’re becoming!”
I admit it. No shame. I cried.
There are so many blessings in my life that I don’t always recognize as blessings because I’m too busy rushing through them or looking at changes like they’re setbacks. I need to remember time is precious and so are the people and things I’m lucky to spend my time with. I don’t always need a schedule and a plan, especially not when it’s a selfish one.
Anyway, thank you, Veterans, for your service to our country and the selfless people you are. And thank you, Charles Schulz, for creating characters that remind me how important that is.
Happy (Belated) Veterans Day, everyone!