I love to walk. Sometimes I walk downtown, heading toward a park near the water, meandering this way and that depending on which light is green. Each turn brings me closer to my final destination but the way I get there is different each time I go. Other times I head to a park, following whichever path seems most appealing at the moment. I might have started with a plan to head to the observation tower only to find a large noisy group walking that way, encouraging me to choose a different direction. I’ll still get to the tower, only I’ll wait until they have gone.
I meander through life this same way. As a single mother sometimes I’d love a roadmap, a straight line from where we are to where I want us to be, clear directions to follow. “Want your children to be happy and successful? Turn right now,” the sign should say with a big flashing arrow that can’t be missed. But that’s just not how it is.
Instead I follow a meandering path, choosing the next direction as the decision is presented to me. I might head one way only to find the road blocked, causing me to back up to the last fork in the road to head a different way. Life is not perfect; I’m not perfect. But I have faith that no matter how winding the trail is we will eventually get to our destination.
This weekend was a perfect example of the twists and turns of our life. We had a plan. Friday night we were going to go shoe shopping for my oldest daughter. Saturday morning we were going to go bike shopping as they both need new bikes. Saturday afternoon and evening we were going to meet my friend and her daughter at the beach then head out for dinner. Her daughter would spend Saturday night with us then we would get together Sunday afternoon to send her home.
That’s not what happened.
Friday morning the decision was made to have 3 friends sleep over, all good kids who spend a lot of time with us. Friday evening this expanded into 4 friends. Saturday morning all but one of these kids went back to their families, and my oldest went with the remaining one on an adventure with her friend’s dad. My friend, being tired from a morning hike asked to meet us for dinner first after which we took the my daughter and her daughter to an arcade since it had started raining. My girls were invited to a fair Sunday so the sleepover planned for Saturday night was pushed off a couple weeks, and they have just left on their next adventure. This afternoon, having a rare weekend day to myself, I’m meeting friends at a beach bar to listen to a local band.
I’ve always been a planner. I love to come up with a plan and follow it through to execution. But I have learned that often that just isn’t how life is, at least not my life. It’s much better to meander down the path and be open to opportunities as they come up. We stick to our commitments but remain flexible when circumstances change. You never know what you might see along the way.