old country house blog

Spontaneity Part 2

     My stepbrother is a writer and an all around Artsy talented guy. 
He is also a Great Dad.
 He has come up with an incredible idea for his daughter’s 13th birthday. 
(spoiler alert– JOSEY or anyone that cannot keep a secret from JOSEY,
and you know who you are…
please read NO further)

Okay, so here is what Jamie is doing. 
He has asked everyone who has a relationship with Josey,
 I guess relatives and friends, probably mostly adults, 
to share a piece of ADVICE with her.
To Give her the GIFT if WISDOM.
Advice for a 13 year old girl.
And if you have ever had a 13 year old girl
like I do now, or have been a 13 year old girl
which I have been, you know that this is 
a really cool…perhaps risky..but mostly 
VERY cool

Here was my advice:
 Let go of needing to plan EVERYTHING  all out. First of all…it never turns out the way you planned it anyway and second and most importantly…when you PLAN it all out, you rob yourself of the spontaneous JOY of discovering all of the amazing things that happen when you DON’T plan. Yes, make reservations when needed, and yes, finish your homework, but planning a whole day of “FUN” is usually sure fire way to NOT have fun. So, when it is realistic, just let go…and see what happens!

     Great advice, right? 
Too bad I ALMOST ruined by 
OWN daughter’s 13th birthday, not listening to my OWN advice.
 Let me tell you a little story.

   My own 13th birthday (a million years ago) was incredible. My birthday is in the summer, (in fact, it is this Saturday July 30th.) We were in the middle of a BIG family vacation during which we  (my MOm, 2 of my 3 brothers and I) had accompanied my Dad on a HUGE business trip across the country. It  took us to 8 states and included San Francisco and DisneyLand, Denver and Atlanta. We visited old friends and Grandparents and cousins. It was a trip of a lifetime.  my 13th birthday was toward the end of the trip and we were flying from Denver (where my Mom’s parents lived) to Dallas (for a stop over) and then on the way to Atlanta. Let me preface this next part by saying that at this time, we were not rich. No, far from it, so I have NO idea how my Dad pulled this off. But, as a lover of surprises, he booked the Private “Bump” part of the THEN brand new 747 jet we were flying on for the Denver to Dallas leg. So, I had the BEST 13th Birthday party ever with a private stewardess on a 747! During the party my Mom gave me a very special gift, that she had been working on for the whole trip. She had collected charms from every stop on our journey and had made me an incredible Charm Bracelet, complete with things like a teesny Disneyland Monorail and a Lucky 13 Charm.

 And I swear, I think even on THAT day, 
I thought to myself,
” if I ever have a daughter, I will give her this bracelet when she turns 13″…

    Fast forward a thousand years and here we are in 2011 and my beloved only daughter is turning 13 and I am finally going to give her my special bracelet. I had bought her a simple heart charm and had it engraved for the day. She also got a bunch of other gifts including a sweet Necklace from Tiffany’s, which was going to be her BIG gift. So, all these many years and experiences and people in and out of my life later, including my Own Mom who passed away in 2007, and we arrive at Phoebe’s 13th Birthday and now we are opening gifts. 

Except, I cannot FIND the charm bracelet and I am beside myself. “How can you have waited for SO LONG for this moment! and have the moment NOT happen.” I scold myself.
 “Sure you might find it later, but It will never be her actual birthday again…” and it goes on. The litany of punishment I am laying on myself for ruining my daughter’s birthday. 

EXCEPT. She does not know about the bracelet. All she cares about is that it is HER 13th Birthday and ALL she wants everyone to be happy.  

Phoebe was opening her gifts and I left the room for a moment, probably to look one more time for the bracelet and when I came back she was all smiles and said “TIFFANYS!!! MOM! YOU GOT ME SOMETHING FROM TIFFANYS!!!”

When I play this back and it goes the way It should have I say “Yes, sweetie”. This is your special 13 year old birthday gift!!! I have something else for you too and you will get that later!” smile smile. 
But instead, what really happened was that I came in, saw her open the Tiffanys’ box and yelled “NO!” wait. You are NOT supposed to open that yet!”

That was NOT the plan! 

Phoebe froze and then burst into tears,
 “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!!! I didn’t mean to ruin it!” 
and I say, “No you didn’t ruin it, I just wanted you to open the other thing first but I can’t find it…” and then….everything unraveled and my husband scolded me for losing my composure and I got mad at him and for a few minutes it was a SAD BIRTHDAY nightmare. 

Now, trust me, I have perspective. I know some people don’t even celebrate birthdays or get things form Tiffany’s or even get to have 13th birthdays. 
Life stinks. 
But in my daughters little world, I blew it.
She sobbed on her birthday because I was SO caught up in my PLAN, I was not letting the moment JUST happen. I was trying to control the moment.
I tell you this story, not to come clean or garner one ounce of sympathy but to share how even the things we try to do VERY right, 
Turn out VERY wrong.
and then…
you have a choice.
In that moment…
I had a choice.
And Thank God, I Just let it go.
I hugged my daughter and said over and over that I was sorry, very sorry.

….and that night when I tucked her in…
I apologized again and she said, 
“Mom, it was the best Birthday ever.”
Phoebe with her NEW Tiffany’s necklace

 To this day, the bracelet has still not been found. 
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