I didn’t post yesterday.
I’ve decided to return to work full-time.
This is a good thing. I feel good at my job. I’m making significant headway, and I’m still finding time for yoga, writing, therapy, and the ultimate source of my joy – home and family.
But, the switch in hours is still a transition. And transitions, sometimes are tricky.
I had a really successful day at the office, but I lost track of time and left twenty-minutes late. Though, instead of beating myself up, I simply call my saintly daycare provider and say:
“I just left the office. I should get to you by five. But, it might be a little later.”
“It’s no problem at all,” she assures me.
I spend the whole ride jamming to the Uptown Funk station on Pandora. I feel good about putting in a full week. Meeting my deadlines.
I’m excited to pick up Briggs and take him with me to a reading with John Jacobs at a local bookstore.
John is one of the co-founders of Life is Good. Where I work. He and his brother Bert (the other co-founder), have recently released a book with the same name as their company.
When I get to Briggs (at ten past five), he’s in a fantastic mood. Pumped for the Friday night trip to the bookstore, and our prearranged deal: I promised a cookie and a new book, and he promised to be a good listener for John.
(He’s met John before at the office – even played hide and go seek with him. To say the least, Briggs is a big fan of John.)
Briggs and I get to the book store with about 15 minutes to spare. Once parked, I let him crawl up to the front seat while I quickly do my makeup. Once my face is where I want it, I run around to the passenger’s side to get Briggs out.
There’s a really cold wind blowing and he doesn’t want to put on his coat.
He’s very stuck on our deal regarding the cookie and the book, and before exiting the vehicle, he’d like to know in which order everything is about to go down.
“Can I get the cookie first, then my book, then be a good listener for John?” he asks – all while refusing to put his arms in his coat sleeves.
Through the debacle, I notice a very kind, young man standing by the trunk of the car next to us.
“Bubba,” I say to Briggs, “this nice man is trying to get going and we’re holding him up.”
“It’s really no rush,” I hear him say from afar.
I look over my shoulder, smile, tell him that I’m grateful for his patience.
Briggs finally gets out of the car – though, it’s meant abandoning the coat.
“Okay, let me just get my wallet and then we get your cookie, then go hear John talk, then pick out a book…deal?”
Briggs considers the proposition for a moment. “Okay, deal,” he finally caves, slumped shoulders and all.
I continue to rummage through my laptop bag for my wallet.
It’s not there.
I check the shopping bag, holding the colored pencils that I’d bought on the way into the office earlier that morning.
It’s not there.
Then, I remember.
There’s a third bag. The one I used to carry my lunch…that I’d thrown my wallet in around midday…and left, under my desk.
“I forgot my wallet at work.”
“That means I don’t have any money.”
His eyes go wide and he take a long, deep inhale. “That means no cookie and no book, doesn’t it?”
“Not necessarily,” I say. “Dad has to come by this way and I can call him and see if he can meet us here, but it means we have to change our deal. Good listener for John, wait for Dad – then cookie, then book.”
He doesn’t hesitate.
“That’s still a good deal, Mum. High-five.”
The extremely patient man who’s been standing by the back of his car, waiting to get out of the cold wind, smiles wide.
“You’ve got a good one there,” he says.
“I do. Thanks again. You were really wonderful to wait so long for us.”
“It’s nothing, really.”
We shake hands and then Briggs and I hightail it into the store.
The first person we see is a lovely co-worker, who after hearing about the wallet, and the cookie, and the book, immediately pulls out three dollars.
“How about you get your cookie first?” she asks Briggs.
He lights up and so do I.
The event is going to start a little late, so Briggs and I have time to get the cookie and when we return, the kind, young, patient man has reappeared. He’s standing next to my benevolent co-worker and says:
“It sounds like you might be having a bit of a hard night, and when I was going to leave I noticed your interior light was still on. I figured a dead battery wouldn’t help, so I came back in to find you.”
I’m blown away by his kindness.
“Thank you so much. That’s so above and beyond.”
“Really, it’s nothing,” he says again.
I walk out to my car, turn out the light, and soon after John arrives. Before he starts his reading, John makes a point to say hi to Briggs and give him a fist-bump. Briggs lights up all over again.
Early into John’s talk, my husband arrives, Briggs is able to get his book, duck out early, and it just feels like everybody’s won.
Despite not getting out of work “on time,” despite not having my wallet, despite Briggs refusing to put on his coat, despite leaving the car’s interior light on.
The good that was intended for me still got to me.
That’s why it was no big deal, once I get home and realize that my laptop’s power cord was also in the bag, at work, with my wallet.
Instead of dwelling on the fact that I couldn’t write a blog post, I reflected back on a passage John had read from his and his brother’s book:
“Our Mom was the first powerful optimist in our lives.”
And I realize – maybe for the first time – that, now, I’m the powerful optimist in Briggs’s life. And maybe there were a bunch of circumstances on this day that weren’t “perfect” – but, turns out, they were all still good.
And instead of being fueled by fear or worry or stress, my son saw his Mom, take a breath. Ask for help. Accept kindness. Lean on family. Laugh it off. And take it all in.
And it was with that peace of mind that I decided – forgetting the wallet and the power cord wasn’t a mistake. It was a reminder.
A reminder, that sometimes you need to let others be the ones to give. And when a “night-off” presents itself – take it – love it – and, drop into it.
(John Jacobs reading a passage about his Mom, Joan from Life is Good, the book.)