Wednesday, April 11, 2007

When the Little Things Go Wrong

today's story is about relativism.

This morning I made two runs to Ohare. The airport is 30 minutes from my house and in good weather, if traffic is light, I can make it in 25. The foot of snow in Cleveland had by-passed Chicago, but we were in for a good 1-3 inches in Chi-Town for the morning's rush hour.

Which was good but not so good. My grandsons love snow. Thus it was good. Not so good because they had a 7 a.m. flight back to Los Angeles and if we were to get to the airport on time, then building a snowman would be out of the question. Unless the flight was canceled. And who knew?

Because we like to know, F.D. sets it up so that the good people at American Airlines call us when a flight is delayed or canceled. So he set it up last night so that my son-in-law Y. would get the call. Y. didn't get a call from American and the on-line screen at the website said It's A Go. So off we went.

We had to borrow a second car because they have a lot of stuff: two little boys, a stroller, a couple of suitcases, books, food, and none of that fits on a bicycle. You might already know that F.D. and I ride our old ten-speeds to work when the weather's not weather. Sometimes our one and only car, an old Altima, just sits in front of the house, happy, I think, to be safe-guarding the lawn from something mysterious. So we borrowed another small car this morning, a Kia, from F.D.'s mom.

Mom, can we borrow your car?

Take my car, take my jacket, take my furniture, please, whatever you need.

Thanks Mom.
So I had the boys and Empath Daught in the Altima. F.D. had Y. and lots of luggage in the Kia.

Was it ever coming down! Snow, here. Snow there. Snow was simply everywhere!

In April!

About ten minutes into the drive I got a call from F.D.
Uh, I'd take Touhy. The expressways are jammed up.

Okay. Well, you know he's right about everything. We flew down Touhy and we were at the airport in record time despite the weather, snow and sleet and whatever that was. Kisses, hugs, tears.

Empath Daught says to me curbside: So in the end it was good, right, our trip? No drama once we got here and we did get here, eventually. We had a wonderful time. I had a wonderful time.

Me: Yup. It was good. More than good.

E.(larger grandson, all of 4 years old, K"H): Bubbie, come to see us VERY soon, okay?


A. (smaller, all of 2 years old, an essential exaggeration of life as it should be, K"H): VERY SOON!

Right-o. Sniff. Bye. F.D. has zipped off to work already in the Kia. I take one last look curbside, start the car again, drive away, no looking back again.

Indeed we had been shorted on time. The kids missed their original 6 a.m. flight to Chicago last week and did not make it home for the holiday, not for the first 2 days of the 8 day fete, the ones that are the most fun, when Passover is most new. It was a heart-breaker and a continuing saga, since they waited stand-by for three more flights that day, missing out on each by a hair.

This had threatened to make the holiday a serious downer, had we not all been able to stay relativistic. The grandchildren not performing at the seder meals would have been the worst thing possible at the time, had we not stayed relativistic. Because it's all for children in the end, the story telling at the seder.

What could possibly do that, make us relativistic?

Well, what truly IS the worst thing in the world?

Loss of life, of course. And we were to have a death in the family in only a few short hours. So Empath Daugh missing her flight seemed small. And Dovid and Cham, my near-to-the-youngest and his wife were there, with us. They were sad, but they were there, in our home. And we will miss Aunt R. forever, all of us, a kind, generous, caring, wonderful human being.

So her passing put flight-missing in perspective. We couldn't handle putting our feelings on the table at all, really. None of them. We talked it out for an hour before dinner then left the sadness in the family room. The odds were good that we would see some family members soon enough, and another not for a long time. When Dovid married Cham and I realized this aunt would be in my family I was so happy. That's how life is.

But there's more to the story, less sad. You SAID you liked long stories.

I had a second run to the airport today, remember? The Stooge, his beautiful wife and my precious granddaughter K"H still had to get to the airport! And the snow refused to stop. They, too, had been delayed coming to Chicago. The baby's ear infection held them up and they didn't get in on Shabbas, shaving 2 full days off of their visit, and here we were again, dealing with a coming/going only 2 days and 17 hours later.

Now if you remember, on my first trip to the airport when I took Empath Daught and her family to Ohare, I hadn't bothered looking anywhere but three feet directly ahead as the driving snow (love that pun), had literally blinded me to the construction in the east bound lane to my left, the lane I would be taking home.

An hour and 13 minutes later after dropping off Empath Daught and her family, I had crawled through that traffic and made it to B.B.'s Bagels. A Jewish mother has to bring home food. The Stooge, his beautiful wife and my grandDaught K"H had to have food for their trip, and I'll admit, I was hungry, but really, really tired. Minutes later I was flopped out on the sofa in the living room shoes on (so not me), bag of bagels dangling at my side.

House phone rang. I accepted that, (meaning ignored it). Cell phone rang. Fumbled in my coat pocket, whipped it out, recognized a patient's number, took the call. But boy, did I make it a fast one.

Closed the eyes again. Five minutes later. Group 2 is UP, trudging up the stairs, granddaught in arms. Doesn't Bubbie want to handle breakfast so the Stooge and Southern Daught can finish packing?

Ummm. Sure. Aargh.

Coffee. Things are brighter.

Rush, rush, sandwiches to go, tighten the car seat. Traffic's fine, Southern Daught is as amazed as her nephews that snow sticks to trees! More tears, one more with one more look at you. Scoot on down to the office, this time taking the highway. Traffic's a charm.

Crazy technological difficulties right off the bat. Palm stops accepting new information. Just stops, teases at first, then laughingly quits. Printer refuses to print ANYTHING. Woman, the lousy H.P. scanner/printer/ All in One-er is telling me, We're finished.

Fine. Be that way, I know a fine garbage can in the alley.

So what if I don't know who's coming in tomorrow (it's true, I had backed up, so let's not get carried away). So what if I can't bill insurance and can't print a letter to an employer about why an employee really won't be making it in at 7:30 anymore for work, not anytime soon, that is.

Because I'll tell you something my friends. I generally get upset with technology when I can't figure it out, when things don't sync and nothing is copacetic. I want to fix it quick and I like to do things on time. I like to be on time. And when I lose minutes, hours, days that have been promised to me by my family? I'm tested, seriously. Even my patience is tested. But today? I'm good with all of it, all of the electronic aggravation, any of that sadness about the kids leaving home. It's all okay, all reversible.

Life can be, is, so easy sometimes. Relatively speaking.

P.S. If you read this post previously, then you'll notice the stuff on empathy is missing. I took it out, even though F.D. really liked it (see comments) because I want to make it longer, add to it. I'm also responding to reader feedback that it didn't sync with the rest of the post. Thanks, Christine.

Copyright 2007, TherapyDoc


ShellyAnn said...

It could always be worse!
I enjoy your blog!

therapydoc said...

Thanks, P., I'll get over to yours soon.

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for the day when things will go wrong in the right direction (such as the kids missing their flights out of Chicago).

therapydoc said...

That would be something new. You know, F.D., we could arrange that.

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Great point and i love how u bring it out.

lushgurl said...

Funny how in the Grand scheme of things, wha we choose to fret about huh? My sponsor used to ask me "How important will this be tommorrow, next year, ten years from now?"
Great bloggin', as usual!

therapydoc said...

LG, you have one smart sponsor. Thanks for reading.

AlvaroF said...

Christine: great article. I have enjoyed finding it through Jane's brain fitness carnival edition.

We attended an event with Bill Clinton yesterday (you can check our blog), where he also showed a great perspective on life.

DigitalRich said...

Thanks for participating in the 7th edition of 'The Carnival of the Storytellers.' The edition is posted at:

I can't resist this last comment- so please forgive. The person to leave a comment before me mentioned Bill Clinton having a great perspective on life. I can't possibly see how this could be unless he was specifically talking about his sex 'life' apart from his wife.


therapydoc said...

Dig Rich, I went to the post and read it. The saying goes, Live hard, die young, and I think the President feels grateful that he's alive. I'm not judging him.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I try to put things in perspective as well, just so that I don't turn it into a bigger issue than it is.

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