I consider myself a cautious person.
I wore wrist-guards, while roller blading as a kid. I make sure I choose the eggs with the furthest possible expiration date at the grocery store. I don’t care for blinking red lights; they leave too much to chance.
I’m not what you’d call a “risk taker”.
Which is why I have to wonder, if most of my daily moves are fairly planned and calculated according to a meticulously choreographed schedule, why did today include holding my two-year-old upside down over the sink to perform an eye wash, due to some poorly-aimed hairspray?
Why did we spend the morning at the dentist addressing two cracked front teeth? How come there’s pee all over the sheets and no milk in the fridge?
Why, (I ask in my very best Carrie Bradshaw italics) if I am trying so hard to control every move that we make, does everything feel so out of control?
The answer came to me as I sat in the rocking chair with my boys, before nap time this afternoon. Because it’s the longest song in my repertoire, Oliver often selects “Que Sera Sera” as his song choice. And as I sat there rocking back and forth, singing this particular song for the 8,534th time – it hit me.
Whatever will be, will be.
There’s nothing I can plan for: riches, a career in the fine arts, rainbows day after day – that can’t change in an instant. And, despite all my knotted-up-stomach feelings to the contrary, I think this might actually be a good thing.
Because I don’t have any childhood memories of days when my siblings and I ran errands with my mom and we were all well-behaved little angels. What I do remember, is being seven-years-old and and being scolded by a very aggravated Deli manager at Market Basket for sticking my pointer finger down deep into the taught plastic of all the pre-packaged ground beef. I remember thinking that he was a jerk and that my mom agreed, and I remember that I thought that was cool.
And I don’t recall too many details about perfect runs down the ski slopes of Steamboat Springs when I was eleven, but I sure as hell remember that on our first night of vacation, my dad plowed into a deer, on a two-lane highway, at night, driving a rental car, in the middle of nowhere – and my parents had to spend the next three hours trying to occupy five children in a town, whose premiere attraction was a bowling alley where smoking was “encouraged”.
Those moments, those unplanned blips on our radar, are what make up the memories of a childhood – a life. The unexpected face plants off a brand new balance bike, the spontaneous thunderstorm during a stroll in the park or the traffic jam caused by an overturned poultry truck on the way home from Christmas vacation – these are the times we will sit around talking and laughing about over and over again, year after year, until we are long in the (most likely chipped) tooth.
And so, I think I will try to embrace the chaotic, the impromptu, the accidental, because like it or not, these moments are going to happen and I might as well soak them in as best I can, so as to remember the exact details of the time I got hit in the face by a Ken Griffey Jr. foul ball or fell asleep and farted during jury duty or got lost on my first day to work.
You know, for posterity.