Tonight at my kid’s tennis lesson I had a long conversation with a dad who happens to have an auto-immune disorder. This dad has a kid at my kid’s school who inherited his disease. As fate would have it, another friend of mine’s kid, from the same school, just had her kid diagnosed with the same auto-immune disorder as this dad from tennis. (It was kind of a six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon and wonky diagnoses moment. So fun! Grab the insulin shot and a slice of gluten free bread pronto!)
This just brought up a whole slew of conversation back and forth like, “Would we, if we had known about our wonky genetics, have gone into parenting so readily?”
For both of us, it was an astounding “Yes, of course!” Neither of us could imagine not having the children that we do. It’s not about auto immune disorders but the soul that matters. (Even if that soul happens to be my son who was getting me so darn mad moments before the tennis lesson that I’m surprised I didn’t lose my mind or at least my keys. Oh, wait! I did! But that comes later on in the story.)
Instead, let me tell you the next thing that happened. In between talking about medication and personality and genetic pre-disposition with cute dad, another mom sat down. I looked at her face. If Ellen Degeneres were Indian, this short-haired, brown-skinned soul would be her. I just loved her spirit. And, turns out, I knew her!
“PJ!” I said, shaking her hand in greeting.
“Andrea!” she said, shaking it back in unabashed delight.
The one-word greeting spoke volumes about our reunited connection. It seemed to triumphantly whisper, “Yay! We can talk for thirty minutes and have an adult conversation while our kids try not to bash each other’s brains in with tennis balls!”
Except this unspoken thought didn’t stay in our brains. It bled right out of our mouths all over the gum encrusted park bench. Within moments we both blurted out how happy we were to see each other again. Which, well, was a bit odd, given we had only met once before… two months ago… but we remembered each other for whatever reason. (Well, okay, the reason was that in a few minutes I completely analyzed her personality, her wife’s role in parenting, the disposition of her kids and why she likes her job. She thought I was a bleepin’ psychic. I was sad to report that I was just a wacky writer. But somehow I didn’t scare her off.)
Um…can you see men doing that on the football field? “Oh, Jerry, it’s so awesome to see you again. You know, the moment I heard you turn over that motor in your rotary engine, I knew we’d be fast friends. Let me read your palm and afterwards let’s make bmf bracelets!”
Well, silly or not, there it was…this bond between PJ and I that I can’t explain. And there was this bond between this dad and I that I am grateful for, too… two parents of two kids that require a bit more attention than “Suck down these Pop Tarts for dinner, we’re just done with cooking tonight.”
Let me now go on record that, as a Christian woman who has been married for 15 years, it might seem odd that a straight wife like me finds connection between an Indian lesbian and a happily married Italian father, but it is what it is.
Note to my Christian readers, Mom and Farmer Stacey: Do not be alarmed. I’m not starting an emotional affair with my Bollywood princess or blue-eyed auto immune cute dad friend. But I cannot lie. I find them both fabulous spirits and I’d be kidding you, and my very own self, if I didn’t admit that signing my kid up for tennis was the greatest lift to my spirits this month since Costco’s sale on dark Starbuck’s coffee ($15.95/bag – a deal!). When I start shaving my head or wearing a mini-skirt with a tight John Mackenro tee over my Double D’s, you can call out the Jesus squad.)
To add more cherries to the topping of this fun park bench banter (think of me as the peanut butter in between two slices of wonderful, talkative bread) we found out that PJ knows my sister through their kids’ middle school. Fun!
And then I lost my keys.
But I didn’t freak out.
Because what would be the point? The day up until that moment had been so crazy. (Wonky news from a writing client. No Ebay sales. Wondering if perhaps I should just throw in the towel and get a real job after all
or run away with the circus and sell GMO infested popcorn to parents who have more money to entertain their kids than I do these days.)
But Stink made me sit on a parking slab and pray. Which I did. Which was no small feat for this six foot 1 mama.
“Jesus isn’t a magic genie,” I told him, adjusting my 2-foot wide butt to the diameter of the six inch cement chair.
“I know,” he said. “But He’s a miracle maker.”
Which, well, turns out He was. I did not find the keys right away. But I did stay calm which helped me retain my sanity. Each step I took I just remembered that I’m not in charge. I’d figure it out.
Since my own phone was dead, I used the tennis instructor’s phone. (Old old phone… crack in the glass… thank God… a fellow tribe member of the ‘We’re Doing the Best We Can Club’.)
I called every person on his roster. “Did you take my keys by accident?”
“No… good luck…” was all I got.
So I called my husband.
And he showed up….
…At the exact same time as cute dad who pulled up in his car, keys dangling from his finger. “I took them with mine by accident!” he said.
So then I came home and ate a beet salad that my sweet husband (and even cuter) had made. And we talked about my work options and his business. And how sometimes, even if things don’t go the way we want them to, they go where they need to go. And that’s the kind of peace that makes all the nuttiness worth it.
If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.
Until next time, remember to accept the tics you can’t change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.