The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
I have heard that my whole life. It was one of those sayings my parents used when I was upset that things weren’t going the way I had planned. I heard it a lot when I was a teenager, a college student, and well into my twenties. Since my parents were about 30 years older than me, they had perspective I didn’t have. Those movie plans with friends that fell apart when I was 12? My parents knew it seemed like a big deal to me at the time, but they had perspective. Date plans that fell through when I was in high school? Probably for the best, they knew. Study schedule in college that got interrupted? Again, they knew it wasn’t a big deal…I would find a way to circle back and make things happen.
My husband and I returned from visiting our daughter at college yesterday. We drove the seven hours there (including food and gas stops) on Friday and drove the seven hours back yesterday (Sunday). A son of some friends rode with us, because he wanted to visit the university. As we got ready to leave our house Friday to start the journey, I told him he’d be riding shotgun. He looked a little surprised, but I explained that I love riding in the backseat…more room to spread out and less opportunity for me to correct my husband’s driving…thus, avoiding any “tension.” We started our trip at about 8:00 am. I was excited to see our daughter, and I had big dinner plans for both nights with some friends from college who would be visiting at the same time.
When we arrived, our daughter was working on a group project that was due that afternoon, so we had to wait a little while to see her. I knew in advance that our time with her would be limited, because there was a lot going on, and I was OK with that. As long as we got to have a little time with her and some meals with her, I was going to be happy. Once she got the project turned in, she came over and picked up the young man who had ridden down with us, so she could deliver him to the friend he was staying with. We saw her for about five minutes. I then had an afternoon cocktail at a local restaurant with my husband before going out for a lovely dinner with two friends from college, one of whom I had not seen since I graduated 34 years ago! We laughed. We told stories. We drank a little, and laughed some more. And before we turned in for the night, we made plans to get together the next day with another friend, Angela, who would be arriving around lunchtime.
Little did I know my plans were about to go awry.
The next morning, our daughter called me in tears, saying, “I don’t feel well.” I drove over and picked her up, and as soon as she got in the car, I knew she was sick. I felt the back of her neck like I have done her whole life, and yep…she had a fever. I tucked her into bed in the hotel room, and my husband stayed with her while I rushed to the grocery store and pharmacy to get everything I could think of to help her: Tylenol, Advil Cold & Sinus, Gatorade, Chicken Broth, Rice (microwaveable), Premium Saltines , Nyquil, and a COVID test. While I was rushing around, I called my friends and told them I wouldn’t be able to participate in the fun that night, since my baby girl was sick. Of course, they understood. After she got a negative result on the COVID test, we knew it was just a cold with fever, but I felt like she needed me. She was missing some big parties that afternoon, so I knew she was genuinely sick.
A little later, she told me her roommate had the same symptoms back in the dorm, so I rushed back to the grocery store and pharmacy, taking the roommate all the same things I had gotten for our daughter. Then I went back to the hotel and spent the rest of the day watching sports and cheesy movies on TV with my husband and daughter. At one point, later in the evening, our sweet girl looked at me and said, “Mom, I’m so sorry I messed up your plans.” So sweet. I said, “No! Please don’t be sorry! I will see those friends another time! It just gives me a reason to plan something else with them! I’m not happy you’re sick, but I’m getting to take care of you, and that’s what I do. I feel like God wanted us to spend a little more time together.” She got some extra “mama hugs” because she didn’t feel well, and I got extra hugs too. I think we might have both needed them.
Yesterday, she still felt crummy when she woke up, but with a good breakfast and some meds in her, she started to feel a little better. We got her back to her dorm with all the sickness supplies, and I ran to Starbucks to get her and her roommate each a Honey Citrus Mint Tea, what we call a “Medicine Ball” in our house. It always makes us feel better when we have upper respiratory viruses. It’s a blend of steamed lemonade, peach herbal tea, citrus mint tea, hot water, and a touch of honey…the perfect blend to soothe the throat and open up those nasal passages! Read about Starbucks Honey Citrus Mint Tea here.
After dropping off the teas, I gave my daughter a few more hugs before loading up to head back home. Again, I rode in the back seat, so I couldn’t “correct” my husband’s driving. He and our friend’s son picked different music for the trip, and we all laughed and told stories along the way. We also had a “junk food fest” when we stopped at a QT gas station for gas, but that’s a story for later…a story I plan to share soon!
I will make plans to meet my friends another day somewhere, or maybe they’ll come for a visit in Charlotte.
For now, I’m taking care of the husband, who seems to have caught the virus from our daughter. Anyone with a husband knows how that goes; at our house, we call it the “man flu.”