This Father’s Day started out relaxed…went to church, had lunch, ran with the dog, let husband nap in peace. A day for lounging with nothing to do, no stress. We ordered Chinese food for dinner and sat down with the kids to watch a movie—Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
The Cooper family of six rattled off each one’s schedule for the next day, and all I could think was impossible. How can they do all that they said they have to do? In one day? The father had an interview; the mother had an important meeting that could mean a promotion; the daughter was starring as Peter Pan in her middle school play and wanted her family there on time; the older brother was scheduled to take his road test and hoped to pass to drive his girlfriend to the prom. The younger brother was having his twelfth birthday party—all the same day.
As I contemplated how their family could gather enough energy and hours in the day to do it all, my daughter jumped out of her seat. “I forgot about my project! And I need it for the field trip tomorrow!”
Suddenly tomorrow rushed at me…tomorrow was Jordan’s boat ride field trip; Aaron had to wake up for his Regents exam and needed to study; Elijah had his dress rehearsal for graduation; Stephen had an interview to be on a reality show, and I had to get to work early for an audit. Looking at the mess I left in the kitchen only added to my stress. Dishes and laundry. How could we possibly sit and watch a movie? How could real life suddenly imitate the movie we watched? I wished we had watched Mary Poppins instead of Alexander’s Awful Terrible Contagious Day.
We turned off the movie and ended Father’s Day. No time for giving gifts or eating cake—we had a plankton catcher to make. If it were my sons’ project, I don’t think they would’ve cared so much; Jordan had to be precise. The directions called for twenty-two feet string, and we only had ten feet, so I had to drive to CVS before they closed in fifteen minutes. I was never so relieved to see a package of string. Grandma provided the old pantyhose and coffee can, and Jordan finished her project by eleven.
You’d think I could relax once Jordan went to bed, but that’s when I started cleaning. I went to bed late and got up early. The morning was all about: “Where’s my black shirt? Where are the socks? Where’s my sports bag? My belt? Boxers? Can you do my ponytail? Can you make me peanut butter sandwiches so I don’t miss the train?” I had to leave. Hunting for boxers would not be an acceptable excuse for lateness…nor would ponytail trouble or missing socks.
With or without my worrying, the day happened. Jordan got to her field trip. Aaron and Elijah got to school on time. Stephen found his belt and caught the train. I got to work early, though not as early as I wanted. The day happened.
At night, we finished Father’s Day and watched the second half of the movie. Don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone, but in the end, the family’s terrible day brought them together to remember what mattered most. Simple but true.
I have a habit of rushing around and forgetting the verses I know. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” Luke 12:25
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
I need to write these words on my heart, so next time I think I’m having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, I’ll give my worries to God. Most of the time it’ll be an ant hill of a problem.