It’s dumb not to have a plan but even dumber to think things will go according to plan.

Last week we celebrated Maxwell’s first birthday party. I think my favorite part of the whole thing was that he was wearing a superman cape. As a teacher I have always viewed summer, not January 1st as my starting of a new year. That is when I think about where I was the year before, what I have accomplished, and where I want to be next year. A year ago, my plan was to find a new job. Two years ago, my plan was to finish my masters. Three years ago, my plan was to buy a house. None of those things happened. It’s almost like going to a high school reunion and telling everybody that even though you were voted most likely to succeed, you are actually living with your parents. It’s funny to think about how impressed the high school version of myself would be with me today.

Having said that, things are going well, just in a different direction. A number of sad stories kept me from sticking to the plan. Sometimes it gets so frustrating and almost depressing. I also think it does something to your confidence when you are not able to accomplish what you set out to do. What I have learned is that flexibility is more important than sticking to a plan. Almost always, you will have to change it because life doesn’t know or care about plans.

Robert Burns once said, “The best laid plans o mice and men often go awary”. This simple quote inspired Steinbeck to write Of Mice and Men, and although I do not think that I am gong to end up like Lenny and George, I find so much truth in those words.

A year ago, I thought I would have to give up teaching, now I am looking forward to getting back into my passion. Two years ago, I didn’t understand that the gift of a baby is more important than a bump in my paycheck. Three years ago, I never imagined the friends I would make by renting a house in this fantastic neighborhood. The younger version of me needed to have a plan. The older version of me understands that this plan will always change, and I am a better person because of it.┬áIt’s dumb not to have a plan but even dumber to think things will go according to plan.

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Sometimes all it takes is a kiss

A few weeks ago my son was getting ornery because of the heat. True Minnesotans (not the kind that move to Kansas City for two years) have trouble with the summer. We wish for it all winter, fantasizing about beaches, tans, bike rides, and cold drinks on the deck. The truth of it is this: when the thermonitor gets over eighty degrees, we start to complain. At just under a year, my son is already of this disposition.

I brought a baby pool out for him, and although the dog went into it happily enough, my son (Max) was more interested in climbing the stairs to our deck. You have never known monotony if you have not followed an 11th month old going up and down the stairs. After a few dozen trips of this, I removed him. He responded by having a temper tantrum. Thankfully our neighbor came over to distract both of us from this ordeal.

While I started to talk to her, he wiggled his little bottom as fast as he could to get to those stairs before I could stop him. When he say me coming, he moved even faster. I knew I was in for another tantrum, until…. well watch the video.

I think we all get caught up in not getting exactly what we want. Babies throw temper tantrums, men curse, and women pout. In the end we usually just need a little compassion. Sometimes all it takes is a kiss.