I am a planner. It’s the way I have always been. I need to know what’s going on; where, when, who’s going to be there. It used to really throw me off when plans changed last-minute or if “The Plan” was just to see what the day would bring. Then November happened, and suddenly my life became the definition of uncertainty, and I must say that I have been able to adapt much better than I would have expected. Some of this has come from within, and some has come from the inspiration of others.
So, are some ways I have defined uncertainty recently:The Wedding
This was a wedding that was planned to the every smallest detail. Truly, my sister should plan events for a living. There was very little question as to how the days surrounding the wedding would play out, until we found out the day before that my mother would not be there. The mother of the bride. This was not how it was supposed to be, and at the crux of this realization, I was not sure I could make it through intact. It was an impossible situation: How do you move forward without such an important person? Well, we did not have a choice, so we had to just figure it out. We didn’t have time to process the enormity of this tragic turn. We cried at the rehearsal and during picture-taking, walking down the aisle and on the altar. We cried at points during the reception. In allowing ourselves moments of weakness, we were able to find moments of strength, and it made all the difference. I gave the toast without any hints of a quivering voice. I was able to laugh as my son danced with more rhythm than any eight-year-old should have and catch up with old friends. It was the beginning of my own transformation into a person who could more easily accept reality and the things that are simply uncertain.
I left my teaching job this fall to take an administrative position, and as excited as I was for this new challenge, I knew I was going to sorely miss a dear friend and fellow teacher when I left. As teachers, we were on the same wavelength with everything, like we shared a brain. As friends, we connected in the same way, including our adoration for ridiculous television shows and boy bands from the 90’s. I got to know her husband and witness the true love they shared as best friends, and I watched her become a mother. I loved every second of reliving the trials and tribulations of having young kids through her experiences. Then, in January, tragedy struck in the most cruel and incomprehensible way. While changing a tire on the highway, her husband was struck and killed, leaving behind his best friend and his three young children, all between seven years and 8 weeks. You want to talk about uncertainty, talk to this woman. She’s developed the kind of strength I wish she didn’t need; the kind of strength that produces an article like this. The kind of strength that allows her to plan events in his honor and organize shopping trips and concerts to maintain normalcy in her life. She is taking life by the horns, and living each day full tilt, because you just don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. She’s an inspiration and someone with admirable determination to overcome her uncertainty, but I wish she didn’t have to be.
Life is unpredictable. In the words of the priest leading his funeral, “We all want answers. We all want to know why, but in life, sometimes crap happens.” My take from this realization is to embrace the whims of life. My school district’s budget is in shambles, and I may not have a job come fall. I have plan B and plan C, and I am not going to sweat what I can’t control. My mom may never be the same, and she may never welcome me into her life again, but I cherish every memory of the good times. I appreciate every friend and family member who is a part of my life. We can’t control life, but we can control our attitudes and reactions to it to make the best of what we have.