“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
When I was little, my grandma had a poster with that hanging on a door in her basement. It’s probably still there. It was black with white writing and definitely came out of the 60s. I thought it was such a dumb saying. What is that supposed to mean? Of course today is the first day of the rest of your life. Every day is! Now I think it’s close to genius. It IS the first day! That means yesterday doesn’t have to affect today. Or rather, that I get to choose how it affects today. Mostly. I mean… if I was in a car wreck yesterday, obviously that will affect today whether I like it or not. And sometimes we have to pay today the consequences for yesterday. Okay. Never mind. It’s a good principle, but clearly you can dissect it too far and make it meaningless. The point is this: I get to start over… new slate… bright shiny new day. I get to choose how I live today… for the most part. I can choose my attitude anyway. Alright. That was a lovely philosophical idea and I think I maybe shredded it. Let’s just move on.
It’s Weekend Update with Erynn Leighan! (a reference to SNL… funny, right? no? Okay. Well… anyway…)
Friday was an up and down day. Remember that good decision that didn’t feel good? Well, Friday it didn’t feel good either. Even though I still believe it was the right decision, Friday I was wishing I had made a different one. That kind of haunted my day and made it difficult to enjoy the good things. Still, there were high points.
Friday I got to talk to my best friend, Erica for a couple of hours. We’ve been best friends since college and we’ve been through everything together. I don’t know how many times we’ve looked at each other and thought “Wow! God really knew what He was doing when He stuck us together.” Over the last 11 years that we’ve been friends, we’ve been through all our major trials at the same time and pulled each other through. Same struggles in dating life. Same struggles in early marriage. Same struggles with kids. Same big, bad get-into-a-12-step-program struggles ove the last couple of years. God knew we’d need each other, He had the wisdom to stick us together, and we’ve had the heart to keep it together though we haven’t lived near each other in eight years. We’re both crazy busy and I never get to talk to her anymore. I hate that. But we’re learning that we still need each other and we’re trying to make time for our friendship, so it was really… (I’m looking for the right adjective… but there isn’t one…) wonderful, great, helpful, renewing, fun, focusing, encouraging, edifying, uplifting and lots of other such words to talk with her. She’s one of the most incredible people I know and she’s more than just a blessing to my life; she’s an essential ingredient.
Also on Friday, we took the kids to the movies to celebrate the twins’ birthday. We saw “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.” It was surprisingly good! Funny with enough to keep adults entertained. It was the twins’ first trip to the theater and they were really good. Isaiah sat in Jeremy’s lap and Isaac sat next to me. They just sat and watched. The first time we took Jaden, we got him some popcorn to keep him entertained, but didn’t want to do that with the twins… afraid they’d choke in the dark. Paranoid, maybe. I don’t care.
Saturday was great too. It was a little crazy in the morning because I was on the phone trying to figure out if I could afford to drop a class… on a Saturday… when no one with any real authority or experience is in the school office. Enter Jamila. Yay Jamila! She was awesome. Very helpful, kind, and determined to help me figure the mess out. And, even better (drumroll, please!)… I GOT TO DROP A CLASS!! Yay! I have been really seriously hating school. A lot. A whole whopping lot. I don’t like the money-grubbing-ness of business, I don’t like the teachers, I don’t like doing it online… but now that I have one class instead of two, the whole thing seems to be not that bad. Seems like I can do it.
Once I got that mess sorted out, we headed off to Tulsa to take the kids to the zoo. It was a beautiful day, we have a membership (one of the single best purchases we’ve ever made) and the kids love to go. The kids slept in the car and we listened to one of our favorite radio shows (Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me… an absolutely ridiculous NPR show about the week’s news filled with raving liberals, but hilarious nonetheless). Jeremy ran into Whole Foods, grabbed me some (hopefully slave-labor-free) chocolate and a MetroMint water and off we went into the wild zoo yonder. It wasn’t crowded at all. Apparently 50 degrees is too cold for a zoo venture by most Oklahomans’ standards. The twins got to run around a lot since there weren’t a zillion people to lose them in. We let Jaden run ahead, leap, jump and just be his crazy little four-year-old self. He raced Jeremy up and down a steep hill. He pretended he was a dinosaur making all the cracks in the sidewalks. After lots of the animals, he’d say he was going to be that animal today. By the end of the day, he’d been an eagle, a black bear, a turkey, a giraffe, and an elephant, but he was back to being a dinosaur as soon as we left. That kid has such a great imagination. He’s really creative, amazingly smart, a little bit bossy, loving, excitable, true to his word, energetic, thoughtful, prone to wandering, and all around terrific. People are always telling me what a great kid he is as though I had something to do with it. And I understand why they think that… it’s a reasonable assumption… but he’s like his daddy. They’re just good all on their own. I didn’t have to train Jeremy or encourage him to do all the wonderful things he does for me. I don’t have to nag him about being a good husband. He just is. It’s the same with Jaden. We discipline him for the things he needs disciplining for, but that’s it. My favorite things about him come from within him, unaided, unshaped, all on their own. His imagination, loving heart, caring attention to others, innate goodness and honesty, excitement over the smallest of things, easy acceptance of others’ flaws and strengths… all these characteristics are just part of who he is. I didn’t create them and he nurtures them himself. Anyway, it was really nice day at the zoo and I’m excited to go when it’s 40 degrees and there are even fewer people.
To top it off, we went out to eat (a rare thing with three energetic boys under five) at Macaroni Grill. To save money and our waistlines, we decided to share a meal and skip the drinks. Our SOP is to tip as though we had each ordered a meal… the waiter serves us both as though we each ordered and often splitting a meal means more work for them… but they don’t know that’s our policy. Sometimes, the waiter senses that we’re cheap, thinks there won’t be much of a tip and doesn’t treat us as well as he/she might otherwise. Not this time. KC was a great waiter. He was attentive to the kids and to us. Made sure we had our water glasses filled, kept the bread coming and when the twins’ pizza came out on one plate, he sent it back to be split out of the kids’ sight. He said he has five kids of his own and knew that if his kids thought they were getting less than a whole pizza, they’d fight… ours are the same. We tipped generously and he’d earned it.
Sunday in the early morning, the wee hours of the night when you’re not sure if you should call it Saturday or Sunday, I got to chat with my friend Alex. Always a treat, always encouraging, always funny and goofy. Made waking up on time a challenge, but it was worth it. Sunday isn’t really part of our weekend since Jeremy works, but it kind of is. Jeremy got the kids ready early and took off with them. I got myself ready and drove over on my own. I heard a really cool spot on NPR (okay… I confess… I’m a conservative who’s also an NPR junkie… so sue me) about Imelda May, an Irish singer. I was instantly in love her stuff! Really neat sound. Very unique for today. I taught my Bible class and it was okay… one of them didn’t have her memory work done, so she had to do push-ups, I had a hard time keeping the girls on track, got into a mini-debate with one of them, had to explain ratios/ probabilities/ statistics and the math behind them (yes… in a Bible class… we were covering Old Testament prophesies and the chances that the writer could have just guessed when writing and been right)… but overall, I think it came off well… for one of them anyway.
Worship service was nice. Jeremy’s sermon was good. Jaden sat with us (usually he sits with his friend, Logan) and that was kinda cool. When he offered the invitation, a couple who has just placed membership came forward requesting prayers for the financial straits they’re in since moving here about a month ago. I was comforting her after and at least five people came up and pressed money into her hand. Mascara streaked tears streaming down her face, she thanked them. She hadn’t come forward for that reason, and I don’t think she expected it… and I think that’s why she got it. We get loads of people coming through who want a hand out, act like they don’t, turn on the water works and you can tell… it’s a scam. They probably just did the same thing down the street. But this family isn’t like that. They’re sincere and truly were just asking for prayers. It was a really heartwarming thing to see these people expressing their concern for her, their faith in the church family and giving out of the goodness of their hearts.
Sunday afternoon was nice too. We put our very tired kids down to nap, cleaned a little in the kitchen, ate a nice lunch, watched some TV and I took a nap. When Jeremy came to wake me up, I didn’t want to get up. We played around for a while… I pulled the covers over my head, he pulled them off, I pretended to sleep… it was all just goofy, playful, silly fun. And all the while, the twins were having their own goofy, playful, silly fun… fun spilling my glass of milk on the carpet in the front room… fun spilling my tea (with milk) on the den floor… fun spilling the small carton of eggnog Jeremy’d brought out… loads of spill-i-rific fun. So I ended up needing to stay home from evening services to clean up the mess before sour milk smell could set in. I got a lot done, though. Got the kitchen clean(ish), dinner made, dessert made, and the mess cleaned up. I listened to a podcast from one of my favorite preachers on anger. Wayne Roberts is the preacher for the Parker church of Christ in Parker, CO. We went to BVBID with one of his sons. He’s funny, but not an entertainer. His sermons are chock-full of scripture, but not lacking in explanation, illustration or exhortation. They’re well-constructed and fully thought out. It would’ve been better to be at worship. I probably should have just let the milk sit. Still, I did enjoy getting to hear his lesson. I’ll have to try harder to do that more often.
So, back to that thought about today being the first day of the rest of your life. It may mean that yesterday doesn’t have to affect today and that today we get a clean start. It may be a silly saying that really, when you think about it doesn’t mean a thing. One thing I know for sure: my yesterdays have helped make my today what it is. So here’s what I think I’ll do. I’ll hold on to the happinesses of yesterday, learn from the mistakes and use the things that weren’t what they could’ve/should’ve/might’ve been to help me appreciate and improve today. This is the only minute I have. The last one is gone, the next one hasn’t come… and might not.