Sometimes, things just don’t work out the way we plan them. No matter how much thought, how much anticipation, how much plotting we put into something, occasionally…occasionally…things fall apart.
Take me for example, the summer before seventh grade. If I remember right, I had just come off watching a summer Olympic television marathon, and I somehow convinced myself that if I tried hard enough, I could pull off a Greg Louganis-worthy swan dive off the high diving board at our local community pool (why? I dunno—I was twelve. It made sense to my severely delusional mind back then.) So I climbed up the ladder—confident that I would totally impress my friends—walked to the edge of the board, vaulted forward, and landed painfully on my stomach. With tears in my eyes, I swam to the surface.
My top had fallen down in the whole ordeal.
Man, I wish I’d noticed.
Let’s just say the entire place got an eyeful, especially the boy pointing and laughing at me from three feet away. And let’s just say that not one person was impressed by what they saw. Not even pre-pubescent him. (To the men out there reading this post—all two of you—sorry if that info was a bit much. Pretty sure my filter was destroyed in that long-ago dive, and I never got a new one.)
And then. Then.
There’s the time I attempted to sing my first song in church. I practiced for hours in the mirror at home to prepare myself. Hours. And by the time I was finished, I sounded just…JUST…like Amy Grant. So when that Sunday morning finally came, I walked onstage. Smiled to myself. Looked out into the crowd.
Like, literally. My throat closed up, my tongue felt swollen. I started to sweat. People were looking at me. And no matter how hard I tried, I could not get any sound to come out of my mouth. So I did what any good Christian girl would do in that same situation.
I lied my butt off. Blamed it on the sound. Pretended I couldn’t hear because of the church’s really bad acoustics. Tugged on my ear, as if my seriously off-key rendition of “Undivided” was the sound technician’s fault, not mine. Anyone’s but mine!
My Nashville dreams were dashed that day. (I did manage to sing again after that horrific incident. I’m certainly no Christina Aguilera, not even close. But I eventually pulled off a few solos. And two weddings that I am so, so thankful not to have footage of. Can you imagine those poor people—that I am forever a part of their wedding video diary memories? As if the nineties attire they’re forced to revisit isn’t enough of a burden. I wonder if their marriages have survived the fallout…?).
Sadly, I could go on and on with examples, but stories about me are boring. And I might need to save ‘em for another blog. Especially when I now have such an awesome, awesome story to tell about my oldest son. Because earlier this week, he found out about plans going completely awry the hard way, and I’ve just gotta share it with you.**
So…Tuesday morning I got a phone call that went something like this:
“Hey Mom, we’re having a blood drive at school. And for whoever goes, they get to hang out with friends and miss the last two classes of the day. Everyone is going. Everyone. So, can I go? Can I give blood? Please?” To which I thought to myself: “Huh. I know this kid. And I’m not sure this is a good idea.” But being the great, concerned, overly-involved mom that I am, I simply responded with…
“Sure. But be careful.”
He hung up. I hung up.
Cut to five hours later.
I got another phone call, one that went something like this: “Hey Mom, um…I fainted.”
To which I said: “You fainted? At school? While you were giving blood?”
To which he said: “Not exactly. I fainted before I gave blood. Uh…when they pricked my finger to test my blood type.”
Now, this kid is strong. This kid is smart. This kid can handle a lot of things. I trust this kid with everything. But…seriously? Fainting from a finger prick? I laughed. I laughed my butt off.
But it gets worse.
He said: “So, they wheeled me off on a gurney in front of the whole gym. Everyone was in there. And the wheels on that stupid thing were squeaky and annoying. And I had to lay there sipping juice, and all I wanted to do in the first place was skip a couple classes…”
So unlike me on the diving board and me in the church, he got his wish. But like me, the reality was a complete diversion from the plan.
Plans change. Sometimes they work beautifully, and sometimes you emerge from the water topless. Sometimes you (don’t) sing like Amy Grant after hours and hours of practice, and sometimes you faint on the gym floor. It’s how you roll with those plans that matter.
After the fainting incident, several girls called to check on my son to make sure he was alright. According to him, that part didn’t suck.
Also according to him, it almost made the whole thing worth it.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he stands in line to give blood again next year. If he does, I’ll be sure to give him some pointers. You know, in case he totally embarrasses himself again. I’ve got tons of advice…
Have a great rest of the week! It’s almost over!
**Story use by permission. I’m not completely stupid.
This Post Has 4 Comments
When I had just started dating my husband we were seventeen and his family lived on a lake. One day, about two months into our summer romance, I went to his house and his mom was having a mini-family reunion where I met many of his aunts, uncles and cousins for the first time. We decided to take a canoe out to a little island to get away from the family and we had a wonderful time. When we came back all of his cousins ran to the dock to ask a thousand questions and watch us get out of the canoe. This was my FIRST time getting out of a canoe at a dock, so when I started climbing out, and the canoe slid under the dock, I was completely unprepared and I fell backwards into the water, with my feet still hanging in the canoe. My shirt went up to my neck and I stayed in that position for about ten seconds, unsure what to do, so I flipped my legs out of the canoe and ended up in the lake, fully dressed, with my boyfriend and all his cousins watching. Yes, they got a show that day, and yes, I handled it with grace. I had to walk back into his parents house, past all the aunts and uncles, and I had to borrow sweats from my boyfriend – but the whole time I kept my cool and laughed it off. That was the day my hubby said he knew I was the girl for him – if anyone could experience that and still have a smile on her face… But I still cringe when I think about it.
And Gabrielle, this is why I like you so much. Hilarious!! I think maybe we are twins separated at birth…except I’m a lot older. Loved that story!! (and so glad you didn’t drown)
This (and Gabrielle’s story) made me laugh so hard. I love that your son let you share, and I LOVE that sounding like Amy Grant was the aspiration back in the day. Also, my two older sisters used to sing “Undivided” at churches in our area all the time. They, in fact, called themselves Undivided.
Most of my hugely embarrassing moments are from childhood (like knocking over the little wall that goes around the choir loft during a wedding). But in college, I DID twist my ankle walking on a section of road that was being repaved. It was actually in Poland, and I was wearing a backpack, on my way to teach an English class. It was also slightly uphill, and I rolled a little when I hit the ground. I learned that it’s apparently a cultural thing not to look at people who have just humiliated themselves, because when I got up, not a single person on the whole street was looking in my direction.
What?? Nobody helped you up?!? People ALWAYS help me up when I fall (happens often enough, seriously).
I think everyone sang “Undivided” in church back then. Either it or “El Shaddai.”
I miss seeing you, Erynn!