Z is one of those kids who has always needed to know what's going to happen and when and how and why. She likes things to be predictable and structured and doesn't manage well when plans change suddenly.
Of course, life is all about plans changing suddenly.
When she was younger, we bent over backwards to not rock her world too often, for her - and our own - sanity. Now we realize that we cannot structure her whole life; she's going to need to learn how to roll with it when plans change. Our new goal is to maximize her resilience and give her confidence in her own flexibility.
So we work with her, as best we can. We point out and applaud any examples of her mental flexibility. We try to model our own. When planning the following day, we now talk about "Plan A" with either a direct mention or the understood implication that we might need to make up and accept a "Plan B" or even a "Plan C".
This is helpful, but only to a point. Because, you see, she's also a worrier. Sometimes when we lay out what we hope will happen, she'll mentally reach into the "Plan B" realm and not be able to come back out, worrying endlessly about all the things that could keep her beloved Plan A from happening.
Which brings us back to why we originally structured our lives for her benefit: it reduces every one's stress.
It's a one step forward, two steps back sort of process. Some days, she'll rally when disappointed and say "Well, we just need to figure out a Plan B, right?" Other days, she'll act as if the world is ending and no "Plan B" will do.
Today especially, I know how she feels.
I am supposed to be arriving in Connecticut right about now. Then I'm supposed to pick up my rental car and drive to Massachusetts to see my college roommate and meet her twin baby boys. In a few short hours, I should be sitting on her couch, holding one or both babies, sniffing their sweet heads.
Instead I'm sitting here choking down crackers after being felled by a stomach bug.
We've been planning this trip for months, since before the boys were even born back in November. I've been itching to be there - to help out, to hold babies, to hold her hand - for months now. CG and I found a good weekend, bought an airline ticket (with trip insurance THANK GOODNESS) and I waited with bated breath, counting down the days.
Then, last weekend, E threw up in her sleep. So began my countdown.
I was anxious about catching it, even more than usual. I washed my hands incessantly. I pushed her away when she tried to touch my face or kiss my lips. Any rumble in my belly brought on a new wave of anxiety.
All of that was for naught, as I found out around 2 am Thursday morning.
The timing of it couldn't be much worse. It just really sucks.
I don't want a "Plan B". I wanted my "Plan A".