Roll with it, baby (thank you, Steve Winwood)

Few things went as planned this weekend. Yet, it was easily the best Mother’s Day Weekend I’ve ever had, and that is saying a lot.

Partly because I’m declaring “best” status over the 13 others I’ve had as a mother (14, if being preggy on Mother’s Day counts). But mostly because my feelings about Mother’s Day in general are complex. There is a lot of sadness and grieving and loss that every year I’m supposed to reconcile with all the admiration-worthy displays of ideal motherhood that one cannot avoid this time of year.

This weekend I made real progress, meaning I smiled a whole lot more and teared up a whole lot less.

I was also proud of how we as Walden Walnuts rolled with the punches, because many moments that we had planned to go a certain way, well, they didn’t.

Like yesterday, when we walked up to the hostess stand at Joe T. Garcia’s, patting ourselves on the back for scoring a prime parking spot and getting to the front of the line so quickly only to realize she had us down for dining room, not patio.

But we were cool about it and so was she, and it wasn’t until we walked out onto the patio that we realized this patio most definitely was not Joe T’s patio.

Turns out we were one block off, which I’m sure gave her quite the snicker as we apologized, said thanks, and then skirted out the door for the place we really wanted to visit.

Where the patio dining line was wrapped clear around the building.

I had flashbacks to Hell – I mean Disneyland – and impossible lines for Rise of the Resistance, but plastered a smile on my face anyway, and was grateful for water bottle stocked coolers and small patches of shade in which to stand.

Our favorite guy was good-natured enough to go get the car, way back at the first restaurant that was not Joe T’s, and then let us wait in it, in the cool A/C while he inched ever closer to the promised land of Joe T’s shaded garden patio. Pro tip – if you’re a party of 2 or 4, don’t sweat the never-ending line. He ended up leapfrogging a bunch of larger groups, which made our wait more like an easy breezy 30 minutes (and yes, in case you’re wondering/judging, I did offer to swap places with Rett, but he wouldn’t hear of it).

No sooner had we sat down, water glasses set before us, when I decided I just had to move Ella’s glass to the right (because I’m a little OCD and because I needed direct access to chips and salsa, obvi). How in the heck was I supposed to know the table was uneven just on that part?

Fast forward to Rett’s shirt getting soaked, ice cubes and water everywhere, and the festive mood, well, considerably less so.

While Rett went to dry off, the server and I double timed it on table cleanup (fresh napkins and a clean, dry tablecloth can work wonders).

By the time he came back, our server had also returned in a flourish with two heavily salted margs, just the way we like ‘em.

Mood restored!

Then this morning, for reasons beyond his control, our guy had to work. On Mother’s Day.

We pressed on, showing up as a party of three for a special church service (remembering your baptism with a personal prayer over you, and a little water to the forehead), followed by a Sunday School lesson that darn near brought out the water works. Out of sheer stubbornness, I managed to keep my composure.

He was able to meet back up with us just after lunch, in time to go to an open-air vendor and craft fair at the local botanical garden. I’d been looking forward to it all week.

When we got there, the sweet gal at Admissions informed us it had been cancelled with no known plans to reschedule. I was prepared to shell out money for four admission tickets to the gardens, but I think she felt bad that we’d come just for that only to find out it wasn’t on.

After she let us in for free, it started to rain. At first a little mist, but then umbrella necessity strength. We could’ve bucked up and wandered through all 23 gardens or however many there are, but when you’ve been in a store with the air turned down so low that you can feel your leg hairs growing, and it’s raining too? All this girl wanted to do was go home, throw on some comfy sweats and curl up.

Yet my heart is so very full. We enjoyed lots of uninterrupted family time. No kid-Uber-ing to activities, no rote chores or errands.

Just the underrated gift of being fully present with the person who chose me to be his forever person, and the soulful, inquisitive, hilarious little humans God entrusted to our care.

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