Last weekend, we took Isla to a pumpkin patch. I was really excited about the trip. I thought Isla would get a big kick out of the corn maze and bouncy house and ice cream and face painting. I was so looking forward to seeing her joy.
And then…real life happened. It was 90 degrees, and the shade was limited. We got there at the busiest time of day and half the Austin metro area was there, too, right at about the time Isla normally would take a nap. The lines were long–a half hour or more. We spent another 45 minutes standing in line for a couple of overpriced hotdogs and a PB&J sandwich. We tried standing in line for the bouncy house, but it was so long, after 10 minutes of the line (60 people deep) not moving an inch, Isla finally laid down on the ground crying pitifully, and we gave up.
We were all hot, tired, hungry, and cranky, short-tempered and snapping at each other. We finally decided just to call it a day, head home, and try to make the best of the daylight we had left.
Then on the way back, we were in a car accident. We had just pulled off the freeway at our exit and were waiting at a light when out of nowhere, someone plowed into the back of us at 30 mph. The guy never even hit his brakes. The car will have to spend a month in the shop all told, and the insurance is a mess because the guy who hit us was test driving a car. I got a concussion out of the bargain, and I am even more antsy driving now than I was before. But. Considering what happened, considering what could have happened if we’d been in my car instead of Kellen’s, or if the other guy had been going just a little faster, we were so very lucky. We were all able to walk away from the accident, go home that night, and sleep in our own beds. As bad as the day was, it could have been a whole lot worse, and for that, I am so very, very grateful.
It’s no secret that I am a control freak. I like to be in charge and make sure everything goes just so. I dwell on old problems and hold grudges and am slow to forgive, especially myself. I don’t deal well with setbacks or failures or accidents or mistakes. I’m just not that resilient.
I feel like the last few months, though, the universe has been trying to teach me a thing or two about gratitude and humility. Accept what you cannot control. Be happy with what you have. Be grateful for the blessings in the ruins. These have been hard and painful lessons, and I know I’m not on the other side yet. But I feel like life is forcing me to be okay with the things I can’t change or fix or control. That it’s telling me loud and clear to be grateful, because what you have can be gone in an instant. What you have matters more than whatever it is you were hoping you would get.