Once executed, my plan would represent a tiny victory of order over chaos; it would help me prove to myself that--in the midst of working full-time and navigating the schedules of two children--I can set goals and manage circumstances and do all the things I want to do, given enough prep time.
I was headed up the stairs to our apartment with my young son when the tiny monkey wrench came softly wafting out of his mouth in the form of a song (no less), tempting me to cast aside all I had carefully worked out in my mind in favor of a spontaneous Plan B.
"Ticket to Hollywood," he sang. "Got a ticket to Hollywood."
"Oh," I said. "I know that song."
The song is from a Bollywood movie I saw a few years ago and which I used to watch over and over again at bedtime when a bootleg, horribly sub-titled copy found its way into my possession.
"Have you seen the movie it's from?" I asked.
I loved this idea. This idea of us watching this movie together--I knew he would like the songs and the dancing. But the idea didn't fit with the plan. He was leaving for his Dad's the next morning, so if we wanted to watch it it would have to be that night. It would mean the erasure of the two-hour block and the execution of the plan and the proving to myself and the whatnot. It would mean pushing back the bedtime and skipping the books.
And also: it would mean the chance to do something different and fun for my son. For both of us. We could watch it together in my room, in the big cozy bed he would just love the chance to snuggle in for a spell. It would mean sharing with him this goofy movie that has taken up residence in a tucked away spot in the archives of my life experience.
It seems like people, parents, are always talking about trying to find ways to enjoy their kids in the moment. We know the importance of finding these little opportunities to slow down and take them in. We also know it can be a difficult thing to do when schedules and transporting and work and the attempt to maintain consistency are seemingly at odds. Sometimes, the answer just has to be "no." Sometimes the opportunity has to be missed because the details, the things we have to get done really are that important.
And sometimes they're not. And a blog post can hang out in blog limbo for another week. And the kid can go to bed late. And he can have some popcorn even after he brushed his teeth. And the bootleg DVD doesn't play anyway so you have to find it on YouTube except they charge for it on YouTube so you watch a different Bollywood movie that is subtitled (but he can't read) and he somehow is completely captivated anyway, and blissfully snuggly and sweet, and you realize that it's not about this movie or any movie, ever. For him, it's about the chance to be by your side. For you, the chance to have him by yours.