Interrupted plans

I can ACTUALLY hear birds chirping along to the sounds of my kids’ giggles as they play in the sandbox, a few feet from my backdoor. Behind that are the rumbles of my dryer and the gentle hum of my dishwasher, the soundtrack of domesticity. To my side is a running grocery list, with the same usual suspects lined up for dinner this week: tacos, pasta, homemade pizza night. The rhododendrons my husband planted last month are blooming, promising us that spring is really here, despite the bipolar Oklahoma weather lately. We were happy to pay off our car recently so we can then start saving for a minivan, the bane of my former existence.

My life is falling rhythmically along to a cadence that I had long ago rejected, declared beneath me, beneath the woman I intended to be. I had other plans for my life, important and impressive plans, but had I specifically delineated said plans? Or had I just made sweeping declarations of the paths I would not take? Only to, much to everyone’s surprise, put up little to no resistance when my life clearly fell down those very paths?

For the past several months, I have been training for my second half-marathon. Unfortunately, I injured my IT band a few weeks ago, a hard NO to the ole race training. If I am able to participate in the half-marathon next weekend, it won’t be at the expected completion time of 1:50, but likely closer to four hours. Not my plan. No evidence of the months of training. No evidence of the childcare I used to fit in long runs or the money I spent on shoes, compression socks and the glamorous calf sleeves.

Injuries are downright frustrating, no matter the scale. I’m not going to pretend that my IT band can really compare to my friend’s stage 4 cancer or my grandma’s debilitating hip. I have a semblance of self-awareness. But, injuries interrupt. Don’t they? We just want to get back to our plans, our rhythms. Our expectations.

I have been thinking a LOT about my plans lately. As I get older, I am slowly learning to unfurl the tightened grip on my ideas, alleviating the inevitable pain destined to occur when, like so often before, these plans are upended. I had plans for my life, my career. None of them involved troubleshooting ways to tweak the grocery budget or researching homeschool curriculum (there are so many). None of my plans saw me scrubbing spit-up stains off of my husband’s button-up shirts or cleaning messes off of the bathroom floor. None of my plans allowed for babies that want to nurse all night or spending milestone birthdays recovering from an ectopic pregnancy.

But, my plans also did not include a heart so full with love it could burst, or watching fireworks together from my grandma’s back porch, facing the lake. My plans did not include celebrating the small victories of a child overcoming a major obstacle. My plans did not include hearing “I love you” innumerable times from small voices or the sadness when a child is weaned.

Does the parallel universe version of myself know what she is missing out? She is thin, disciplined, career-driven. She has multiple stamps on her passport and is proud of her minimalism. She has seen all of the best Broadway shows and tasted the finest cuisines. Children are not for her, she laughs. But, is that a tinge of sadness in her laugh? Does she secretly long for a life of domesticity? The life she publicly scorns yet inwardly yearns for?
Myself, my friend Susan, and my mom

I can only hope, as time marches on, I learn to be loose with my plans, loose with the future I see for myself and my family, trusting God’s infinite wisdom. I have dreams of what life will look like when I am a mom of slightly older children but, as I have been so frequently reminded, I know that likely will not be the truth several years from now. And, just as I am today, I will be grateful. Whatever plans God has for me are for my good and His glory. And I can rest in that truth. 


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