Frequently, I remark that I am having a Monday. Murphy's Law, while ever-present in my life, is most readily apparent on Mondays. I don't believe I am alone in this. I think many of us find our reluctance to transition from weekend into work week manifested in minor mishaps and annoyances. Of course, they don't always confine themselves to Monday, as this past Friday can attest:
The day got off to a rocky start with me not leaving enough time for me or Riley to get ready in stress-free fashion. I realized only a few minutes before it was time to wake her, that she'd left out candy for Clyde (our Elf on the Shelf), and he'd need to retrieve it and relocate. As I tiptoed into her room to pluck the M&M's out of Clyde's "bed", I was certain I heard her stirring and that the jig was up. I threw caution to the wind, snatched them up and bolted out of her room, stubbing my toe on the way past her bed, but managing to hold the yelp of pain inside.
I stashed the candy and hopped quickly into the shower, only to discover that the replacement of the gas control valve by Water Heater Repairman apparently did nothing to improve my hot water supply. Ah well, didn't have time for more than a five minute shower anyway. Once out, I got Riley up and moving, albeit slowly. So slowly that it became painfully apparent she wouldn't have time to change her earrings to the red and green posts she'd selected to wear with her Christmas dress to the holiday show at school. We were nearing Full Meltdown Mode with that, so I grabbed them and hustled her out the door, all the while calmly assuring her we'd get them swapped out in the car. This, we managed, but not without much sighing, whining and the threat of tears (on her part, not mine).
Upon our arrival at school, it was clear that even now, four months into the school year, parents dropping their wee ones off in the Carpool Lane still haven't quite figured out that, no, it is not appropriate to park adjacent to the yellow curb, as that then blocks all cars behind you and prevents the rest of us from dropping our wee ones off in timely fashion. As I ushered Riley out of the car with about 45 seconds to spare before the bell rang, it occurred to me that I would likely not have enough time back at home to finish getting ready and accomplish the things I needed to accomplish before turning around and heading back to school to watch the holiday show.
Sure enough, I didn't. So I resolved to go to the show, then circle back again and finish up at the house before heading to the office. While I made it in time for the show, parking was scarce, as it always is for big events like this. I snagged a spot on a side street, noting as I hurried in that there was a Manchester cop placing parking tickets on cars parked on the main street. Hmm.....this didn't look good. But I didn't have time to worry about it. Once in the gym, I crammed myself into a seat between all the other parents and family members and did my best to enjoy the show. In truth, it was a cute show, and while the white gloves Riley's class wore to highlight their song did not, in fact, glow in the dark as intended, they still sounded good. My video of the performance is pure audio, but that's okay.
After the show finished, I made my way to Riley's classroom to give her a hug and take a quick pic of her in her holiday finest. Then back out to the car where I discovered that the cop had not confined himself to the main drag, but had, in fact, issued tickets to almost all of the cars parked on the street. And these weren't just your run-of-the-mill tickets. No, these were $35 tickets for "parking within 15 feet of a mailbox." Mind you, this is not a posted proscription, and if people were actually to abide by this rule in this neighborhood, there would be no street parking allowed (not even for special events at the school), as the yards are not terribly wide. Fuming over that, I stopped to mention it to some other parents I knew and was reminded by the father that my left front tire was low. So low that he recommended I not drive far on it.
No problem. Gas station right down the road. Slight problem - the air hose requires $1 in quarters. I had $.50 and no cash on me. Back to the house I went to finish getting ready and gather up the items I needed with me, including $1 worth of quarters. Back to the gas station to air up the tire. Only something wasn't working right. I used up my $1 and it still hadn't inflated adequately. While I'm no grease monkey, I assure you I've successfully aired a tire before. But, I was willing to concede maybe I'd not done it properly, so perhaps another try was warranted. I had gotten cash from the ATM by this point, so I dashed into the station and asked the clerk for change. Back out to the air hose for another try -- no dice. Something was clearly wrong with my tire. And I had places to be.
Down the road I drove, to the nearest tire place. I explained my dilemma and the fellow said they'd take a look and get me patched up. It'd only be an hour. I resisted the urge to let out a strangled scream and headed over to the lounge to take deep breaths. An hour and fifteen minutes later, they had me repaired and I was on my way to the office, where I had a narrow window of time in which to finish up a pleading we needed to file that day. I raced through it, realizing as I went that this was a bit more complicated than I had originally anticipated. Thankfully, as I came perilously close to losing it, the partner with whom I was working on it agreed to take over and finish it up, while I completed the requisite Affidavits. Which needed to be printed out on bond paper. On the printer which never correctly selects bond paper so needs to be tricked into doing so. Which didn't work right the first time. And then, when it finally did, I had difficulty tracking down the person I needed to have notarize it.
I could go on...while there were definite bright spots to my Friday, and the days since, the deluge of mishaps and upsets (have I mentioned the mouse nest I found in my Christmas tree as I attempted to put it up?) have taken their toll, and left me feeling more than a little discouraged.
But here's the thing...the bumps and bruises I've encountered in the past few days are nothing. They will heal and they will pass and there will be cause to smile, maybe even before I expect it. I say this with confidence because, even as I sit here, a little mopey and blue, I am all too well aware that there are people who would give anything to have a day like I just described, rather than be facing the types of days they are currently facing.
I refer, in particular, to two families I know of whose infant daughters are currently fighting for their lives. Friends on Facebook or Twitter may have seen me mention Baby Ella and Baby Anna Joy. Ella is a friend's 8 month old daughter. She needs a heart transplant. And she is having a tough time, fighting off infection and trying to stay healthy so that she's ready when a heart becomes available. I know Ella is a fighter. I see it in her sweet little face every time I check my friend's Facebook page to see how she's doing. But this is a difficult struggle. And I know, from reading the status updates, how hard this is on her Mama. And, yet, I can't fathom it.
Nor can I fathom what Matt and Alissa Peppley are enduring as they watch their newborn daughter, Anna Joy, fight for her life. I've been posting links to their blog, detailing Anna's story, and will include it here, as well: http://babyannajoy.blogspot.com/ Like Ella, Anna is a fighter. And she's a miracle. But she's also desperately in need of a miracle.
I pray daily for them both, and my heart breaks for their parents and the thought of just how very hard it must be to see your little one, your beloved child, struggling so hard just to live. I had the slightest -- thankfully, just the slightest -- hint of what that would be like when Riley was born. She was five-and-a-half weeks early, and though the doctors thought, at 5.2 lbs., she was big enough to be okay, she decided to be a little difficult and act like a true preemie, complete with jaundice and difficulty with feeding, and the need to be placed on a ventilator for awhile. Her first few weeks were spent hooked up to tubes and machines and monitors, and though I believed, most of the time, that she would eventually be okay, there were moments when I was filled with doubt and fear. In particular, I recall a morning when the hospital called as I was getting ready to go in for my morning visit to let me know that her lung had collapsed and they thought they might need to transfer her to Children's Hospital. I can't really put into words what that felt like. It was a combination of terror and of certainty that I would give everything I had and all of me if it just meant that she would be okay.
Fortunately, she was. And our worries were largely laid to rest after those first weeks. Since then, she's been a healthy, happy, amazingly wonderful little girl, and I am regularly reminded of just how blessed I am to have her in my life. She is a gift. She is precious, and never to be taken for granted.
Just like life. Even on those days where it seems that nothing is going right. So, I write this to remind me, and maybe those who read it, of that very simple, but ever-so-important truth. Helps to keep things in perspective.