Monday, June 5, 2017

Kicking the [Stuffing] out of Plan B

This year May was my cruelest month.

My family is undergoing huge, heartbreaking changes. For the past four years my son and his wife - and their dog - have lived with me. Then came adored granddaughter number one, and adored granddaughter number two, making a total of six humans and two animals in my 1500-square-foot condo. I sometimes mourned the loss of control over my own space and my own time, even as I knew these intensely sweet days wouldn't last, as nothing in this world ever does.

And now it's over: my son and his wife are divorcing, and the girls and their mother moved out this past weekend to a mountain town a good four hours' drive away (not counting weather and traffic, which are huge factors for much of the year).

I'm heartbroken. Now, of course, I'd give anything to have my old crammed, crowded life with those two little girls back again, in every exhausting and exasperating detail.

But Plan A is no longer an option.

One of my writer friends has a new mantra: "When Plan A falls through, kick the [stuffing] out of Plan B." Her Plan A was having her most recent book, the one she loved best and believed in most passionately, rejected by mainstream publishers. Her Plan B is self-publishing, and she's determined to promote this book to every reader in the universe and make it her best-seller, anyway.

My Plan B is: 1) enjoy my peaceful, quiet house for three out of four weeks each month while I work busily and happily on my own creative and scholarly writing projects; then 2) have the girls come to us one week a month, where I'll be with them full time every weekday while their daddy is at work, filling every day with as much love and joy and memory-making moments as I can.

That is not a terrible plan.

It's not the plan I wanted, but I can make it a good plan. It won't be the "forever" plan, as someday the girls will be in "real school" where they will have to come to us on holidays or summer vacations - and someday they may no longer live in this mountain town - and someday everything may change yet again. There are no forever plans. I'm trying to make peace with the radical unknowability of the future.

In the meantime, I'm going to do everything I can to kick the [stuffing] out of Plan B.

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