Just before Jonas came storming into Washington, the babe and I escaped to the Midwest. It was a long planned trip to celebrate her Grandpa's birthday, and the timing couldn't have been better. As much as I love the idea of tucking in to watch the snow fall; lazy days without agendas or timelines; and endless opportunity for baking, cooking and reading; the reality of confining a toddler indoors for 72 hours in a small living space is somewhat less romantic...
So we left her papa to hold down the fort and savored our vacation in the spacious countryside home of my youth. Our days were full of exploring animal tracks in the snow with grandpa, enjoying leisurely breakfasts in the kitchen, plugging away at puzzles, and gathering with family to celebrate the ritual that is college basketball. But as the visit drew to a close, I began to grow anxious about our return. Reports from our nation's capital suggested the city was in no position to receive inbound flights until late Monday - or even Tuesday - putting in peril our return plans.
I was eager to return home and reconnect with my husband and settle the babe into her familiar routine after back to back trips away. I could also argue the merits of being "stranded" for an extra day or two with loved ones in a cozy, familiar environment. What I couldn't abide was the uncertainty: Would we be back on time or not? Did I need to reschedule meetings with clients? Should I reach out to other family members and friends in the area and use our extra time as an opportunity to connect? Would I need to reschedule engagements on the calendar for later in the week?
In the midst of the uncertainty, I realized I could spend the balance of my time (however long or short it might be) plotting and strategizing about what would happen - or I could simply experience each moment as it unfolded. I recognized that no matter how much I planned - no matter how many scenarios I explored, the outcomes were completely out of my control. The snow would stop - or it wouldn't. The city would dig itself out - or not. The plane would take off as scheduled - or we would find another time and way to return home. And in the interim, there were puzzles in need of attention, meals to be enjoyed, basketball teams to cheer on, and memories to be made.
Being prepared is an excellent approach to life, but sometimes planning can stand in the way of enjoying the present moment. When the unexpected arises, can you simply accept the opportunities it presents? Can you embrace uncertainty?