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There are days where all your planning goes well, and then there are days where it feel like everything falls apart, and that was today. My husband managed to swing a three day weekend, and today we went to an annual party hosted by some old friends. We were looking forward to a fun day of socializing, playing games, chasing dogs around with the kids, and eating lots and lots of pie. And then this morning happened. I got up early so I could butcher a pumpkin and make a pie for the party. So I got the pumpkin roasting, grabbed a quick shower and ran out the store to get a few things. I was feeling pretty good, and then I felt it, that twinge in my left shoulder. I have a permanent injury that I got my Freshman year of college, and while it healed up, the scar tissue can act up from time to time; so when I feel that twinge, I know to be careful. So I started thinking about what I’d need help with from Matt, so I could stay on schedule.

By the time I got back the boys were up and mostly fed, and Matt, bless him, had gotten the pumpkin out of the oven for me. So I set about making the crust and prepping the custard. While the boys played, Matt and I managed to get everything together and into the oven. And for some reason, it took and extra 30 minutes to bake, and during that time all my best laid plans fell apart.

Player 3 suddenly informed me that Player 4 had spat up, what he didn’t tell me was that he had spat up while sitting in a puddle of pee. My mostly potty trained toddler had gotten distracted and had an accident all over the floor; and then the baby crawled in it. When Matt and I saw that, it took us about 10 seconds to just stare at the mess, and then we jumped into action. Matt grabbed the baby bath and started prepping it, while I moved the baby to the tiled floor, tossed a towel on the puddle, ushered Player 3 into the bathroom, switched on the shower, and told him to get undressed and ready to clean up. I then corralled the baby, until Matt could take him to get a bath, and then I helped Player 3 take a quick shower. Matt then ushered the now clean boys to their rooms to get dressed, while I disinfected the floors and miraculously got the pie out of the oven before it burned. Mess taken care of, and my shoulder not too much worse for wear.

At that moment, I looked our our thoroughly wrecked kitchen and my now filthy clothes, and wondered if we should just stay home and eat pie. But Matt had reworked his work schedule so that he could go to this party, and I knew he’d be disappointed if we didn’t go. And it was an open house, so we technically weren’t late. So Matt cleaned up the kitchen, I stuck and ice pack on my now positively throbbing shoulder, and I ran to my room to change clothes.

While I was getting dressed, I looked in the mirror and felt awful. My hair was in a thick messy braid that was hanging over my shoulder and pulling on my neck, I had dark circles under my eyes, and I just looked like a tired mess. So I took a few extra minutes to brush out my hair, pull the front back neatly, and put on full makeup. I actually only wear makeup on Sundays, and I often don’t put foundation or any sort of concealer on; I only do that if I need an extra boost to feel up to getting out the door. I jokingly refer to makeup as my armor on a bad day, so the second Matt saw me with makeup, he gave me a half amused, half concerned look. I even put on earrings. I had it bad.

We packed up, and headed out determined to have a fun time. And, we did. Even though we were two hours later than we planned, and even though we spent most of the time chasing after the boys, and even though my shoulder hurt. My pie even tasted good, really good. I did get a big chuckle, when we arrived at the party and the hostess told me how put together I looked. I felt about as put together as the unstarted jigsaw puzzle sitting on her coffee table, but in the end it really didn’t matter. Not when there was fun to have, people to chat with, games to play, and two dogs in the backyard wanting the kids to throw balls for them. And with all the parents there, I’m pretty sure no one judged us too much, I bet plenty of them had their own adventures getting to that party.

We’re home now, the boys are in bed, and we survived. My shoulder is killing me, so I’m going to have to rest it tonight and tomorrow, and I really need a little unwind time. But I’m grateful for today, even if it was long, messy and stressful. I’m grateful that I have a friend who chuckled and nodded when I explained my morning, making me feel a little less weird. And I’m grateful that my husband kept an eye on me, making sure I gave my shoulder breaks, and helped make a pie he didn’t even get a bite of. I’m even grateful for my messy boys, who get into everything and force me to think on my feet, and who both ate more pie than was good for them.

This month, in preparation for Thanksgiving, I’m trying to start teaching my toddler what thankfulness is. And today, I actually had to remind myself to be thankful, since in the midst of this messy, gross morning, a lot of good happened, and led up to some really great stuff in the afternoon.

*note: the picture on this blog post is one I took back when I was first recovering from my shoulder injury. It is one I look at to help remind myself to be thankful, even when in pain or grieving.