Want to hear a funny story where said busy-mom totally messes up?
THE PLAN: About two weeks ago, I frantically packed my entire family (all 6 of us) into our black, GMC Denali XL truck to drive 18 hrs down south from Brooklyn to Atlanta. The idea was I’d take the entire family to my 20th, Spelman College reunion. The plan was ambitious, yes, but I was a drill sergeant and everyone obliged. Pack, Pack. Drive, Drive. No real sleep to speak of. And, as all good teams do, we pulled it off. By the skin of our teeth, we arrived early Friday morning, just in time for what I believed was the first of many activities on my campus.
THE JOKE: And then, as I was getting dressed in my prettiest white ensemble (a Spelman tradition), and simultaneously calling friends on the celly (the excitement was just overwhelming) one of my confused bff’s broke the news to me: we had arrived a week early. Yup. There was nothing happening in ATL – this weekend. The reunion was not for another seven days.
From that moment forward everything was a blur. I recall slamming down the phone on my friend and curling into the fetal position on the floor. I remember crying and feeling like the worst, most disorganized mom.
What had happened?? I had it all mapped out. Papa Bear and I would share the driving (He: 12 hrs. Me: 6 hrs), stopping at our favorite road side eatery, Cracker Barrell, only once. We would drive straight through to arrive at Spelman on Friday for Chapel service. Then Saturday’s family picnic on the lawn. And then Oprah’s commencement speech on Sunday. Mix in a few random parties. This was to be unforgettable.
THE DISAPPOINTMENT: This was one of the most important trips for me as a mother & wife. Spelman College was magical for me as a student and as a young woman. Now, 20 years later, I was excited to introduce my family to my college friends as well as to the entire Spelman Experience. I wanted my daughter, Georgia, to see the campus and immediately fall in love with it, just as I had. I wanted my husband to be surrounded by all my fantastic friends and see how diverse and awesome they are (which would inevitably be a bonus for me). I wanted to catch up with the very people that had helped shape me, and maybe even strike up a new friendship with someone I had, well, overlooked during school.
But, nothing was as I had planned. My family would never share with me my reunion experience, my college friends would never meet my family and I would never have the satisfaction of bringing together those two very important worlds.
THE AFTERMATH: To make a long story short, we spent a perfectly nice weekend in Atl with family and then drove the long, hard trip back to NY, several days later in time for school and work on Monday.
Then, just a few days later I hopped on a flight, solo, and headed back to Atl for my actual 20th Spelman College reunion. This time, I was alone to explore my old campus, and reconnect with old friends. I had all the time in the world to do any and everything I chose – my way. I was, for the first time in years, with out Papa Bear and the kids. Can you imagine? An over worked mother of four on her own in the Dirty-Dirty South?? Ummmmm, legendary. We’ll just leave it at that. (But I will say my dignity & morality are both still in tact – for those who are wondering.)
THE LESSON: Sometimes, the best laid plans never come to fruition. Sometimes the universe is telling you something. Sometimes what you’re thinking is actually not what is happening.
After being away from my family for 4 awesome days, I actually missed them all. Papa Bear seemed simply perfect in comparison to some of the frat-boy antics I witnessed (random wrestling amongst men, crude outbursts from hotel terraces often directed at me and my girls while poolside, persistent sexual commentary by overaged, pot-bellied men, and the never-ending braggadocios conversations of who has what and how much it cost.) I couldn’t wait to snuggle-up with the little ones, and bicker with my obnoxious teen. I was all the more appreciative of everything I had at home.
How do you bounce back from a costly, 36 hour mistake?? You make the best of every hour spent healthy and happy with loved ones….Then you party like you’re in college and give yourself a break!
Until the next goof-ball, mama-mess-up…
PS, when I arrived home, this is what my 4yr old sang to me: “barack obama i adore you. but i don’t adore you more than my mama…mr. barack obama.”