It was supposed to be our errand-running day before she started school. We had places to go and things to do, and I had planned on taking full advantage of the entire day by leaving the house early to get everything done. The night before, I had laid out a detailed agenda for the day – which stores we needed to go to, which coupons would be for which stores, where we would go first. Everything was planned. She was up, breakfast was done, and we were nearly out the door when my phone dinged. I picked it up on my way to the car, glancing down only long enough to see the text message that had just come in. In it were a few simple words from my husband:
Our weekend activities had left my daughter’s car seat in my husband’s car, and he had taken it all the way to work with him. With no spare car seat, we couldn’t go anywhere. We were stuck at home.
I’m not proud to admit that I didn’t handle it well. I grumbled something about the inconvenience and huffed a bit as I tossed my keys back onto the counter. I took a deep breath, though, and – reminding myself that there wasn’t anything I could do about it and that no one was at fault – I resigned myself to the change in plans.
I walked into the family room, where my daughter was putting her shoes on.
“Well………do you want to play the cupcake game?” I laughed the forced laugh of someone trying not to cry, and she – excited to be freed from the bondage of adult errands – eagerly grabbed her princess cupcake game and began setting it up on the kitchen table.
She was starting school two days later, and that very night we were going to her kindergarten open house. Our long, relatively lazy days of summer were coming to an end. Not only that, though, but our school year was going to look very different. Only now, a week later, can I fully appreciate that. She is gone for eight hours every day, and the truth is that I really don’t get much time with her. It’s the reality of mothering a school-aged child, but I see now that what I saw as a terrible inconvenience just a week ago was actually an incredible gift. It was the gift of time – unstructured, lazy, quality time before our family plunged headfirst into a totally new season of life. And there’s nothing God could have given us that would have been better.
I wish I could say that my head and my heart were totally into the game-playing and picture-painting and cookie-baking we did that day. I knew that grumbling about my messed-up plans wouldn’t change anything. I understood that it was just one of those things that happen sometimes. I certainly realized that it was just one of life’s inevitable curve balls. Those things are hard for me to just accept, though, and it took constant reminding that day for me to keep my head and my heart focused. The truth was that the day – while not at all what I had planned nor what I thought we needed – was the perfect gift. People always say that the best gift you can give someone is the very thing they would never get for themselves. God, I think, understands that better than anyone.
Friend, I don’t know where you are today. I don’t know what sorts of unexpected kinks have popped into your plans, whether for the day or the week or the year. I don’t know how your story might be shaping up differently than you imagined. What I do know, though, is that every inconvenience holds a blessing, because every day is in God’s hands.
As we baked cookies together last week on our unexpected day at home, the song “Every Good Thing” by the Afters came on the radio. I smiled as I watched my soon-to-be kindergartener lick the beaters. Yes……every good thing – even if it doesn’t look good right away – comes from above.