5pm Christmas Eve…I arrive at the church early for a sound check. The plan? Rehearse a solo for the evening’s service. Upon my arrival, I realize people are a little frantic, making last minute adjustments. No problem, I’ll sit and wait until they need me. Five minutes pass…ten…fifteen…thirty. Families begin to arrive and it becomes clear that there won’t be an opportunity to do a sound check. “Oh well…no big deal!” I think to myself. I’ll “go with the flow…roll with the punches!” (My motto I’ve been trying to adopt over the last month.) So I’m doing pretty good, keeping it together…not too frazzled…not too stressed…at least for the moment!
Time check…fifteen minutes until the service starts. I look down at my CD…sudden panic! Am I holding the wrong CD??? MUST. FIND. A CD PLAYER!!! The gentleman doing sound is busy taking care of other important issues so I run…room to room…downstairs, upstairs, back downstairs. I finally find one. I put the CD in…no power! Plug…plug…where’s the plug? Ah, plug! I plug it in…Good! It’s working!…NOT good!…Totally wrong song! Seriously?! I grabbed the wrong CD from the car!
I RUN…back upstairs, grab a cell phone, and call my husband who is driving to the church in the car WITH the CD. I rush to the entrance to wait for Sean (the hubby). Finally, I see him quickly approaching, CD in hand. He gives me the hand off…I run to the sound booth. I pass off the CD with literally three minutes to spare. Phew!
I take a deep breath, straighten my clothes, and calmly make my way to the rest of our family when I hear a sudden, “Elizabeth! Layla’s throwing up!” WHAT? I rush to the other side of the pew and my poor little three year old is getting sick. Oh, and its bad…bad! My poor baby! I yell for Sean and he comes running. Without a bit of hesitation, he scoops her up and tells me not to worry, he’ll take care of her! I look at the clock…two minutes! Myself and others run to get stuff to do clean up. (Did I mention it’s an upholstered pew? Ugh!) The service is starting…the rest of the clean up will have to wait.
What do I do? On the run…again…I look for Sean and Layla! I check the bathrooms, not there! Down the stairs I go and there I find them. I grab the car keys from Sean, run up the stairs and outside, desperately clicking the remote. Where are you, Car?! A-ha! Finally a flash of lights! Got it! Run to the car, open the trunk, throw Christmas gifts to the side. Clothes for Layla, clothes for Sean, check! Slam the trunk and run…in the church…down the stairs…to the bathroom. Sean assures me they will be fine and tells me to run back up so I will be there in time for singing. Not really wanting to leave, but also not wanting to cause a huge disruption by NOT being there, I give hugs and run!
Before entering the sanctuary I take a deep breath, open the door quietly, and carefully find my way to my family. (Side note: I totally almost sit in the seat where Layla got sick. Thank you to my sister for saving me!) It turns out I still have a little time before the song. I just breath…slowly. A few minutes later I feel my hubby’s hand on my shoulder. We sit with Layla and she just lays against me. My heart sinks. She had been SO excited about Christmas…SO excited. And now, the poor thing is sick!
Honestly, by this point, part of me doesn’t want to sing. I’m drained, exhausted, and just too distracted.
But I look down at Layla and I’m reminded of the multiple times she has requested I sing this very song to her over the last few weeks…and that reminder makes it a little easier to get up…and sing.
She continued to be sick throughout the evening. Christmas Day was better, but then she relapsed and poor Sean fell victim too…as well as several other family members!
Sometime on Christmas Eve my mom had told me, “Expect the unexpected!” I honestly don’t remember at what point she said it, but it certainly stayed with me.
I did my best to “go with the flow and roll with the punches” that night and the days that followed, but I had so many plans and ideas of how things were SUPPOSE to be! And because of that, when all was said and done, I was a bit disheartened. That is…until last night.
As we put the girls to bed, I laid my head next to Layla’s and asked if she enjoyed New Year’s. With a big grin, she said, “Yes!” Then with utter glee on her face she added, “And I LOVED Christmas! And next year…I’ll be FOUR YEARS OLD on Christmas!” In an instant, she shamed me! How spoiled I am! Here, I had been so focused on what didn’t go according to plan, and yet my little one had been sick through it all, and still managed to come away with joy and anticipation for the coming year. Hmph!
A stomach bug, a wrong CD…but it was still Christmas! And with the help of a three year old, I realized that even with the craziness, it was a beautiful Christmas…one filled with my mom’s traditional Puerto Rican meal on it’s Eve, panettone on Christmas Morning, laughing over our brother-in-law’s drawing that we thought for SURE was done by our four year old nephew, watching Layla open her much anticipated Potato Head, Kenley with her new baby doll, reading our Christmas story while making animal sounds, and of course…singing as a family in the church that Sean and I grew up…got engaged…and married in. It wasn’t the Christmas I planned…but it was a Christmas I’ll never forget…a Christmas where my three year old showed me that whether the expected or unexpected happens, I still have MUCH to be thankful for! =)
Happy New Year!