February 18, 2021
Yesterday, February 17, 2021, our daughter Sophia and son Wesley (& their grandpa) planned a surprise date for my husband Don and me. I left at around 10 am to go clean an office. On my way, I made a couple of stops and did a prayer recording for TikTok. It took a little more time than intended. I got to the office, cleaned it, it took the expected 3 hours, after which I waited for Don to get off the phone with a patient (took 10 minutes), and I went to the store. It hadn’t happened in a while, but I thought about Wesley’s heart and how miraculous it was that he didn’t have to go through a second surgery 3 days after his first one, (as the patch they made for him had opened, but miraculously closed). What would life be like, if he had? I don’t want to know.
I went to Trader Joe’s; which is unusual as it’s a bit farther away from us than other grocery shops. As soon as I got in, I was met with an abundance of flowers. I remembered how Wesley brings me flowers from the backyard and thought to get him and Sophia some flowers. I got her tulips and I got him sunflowers. I got fruits, juices, sparkling water & cherry juice, some frozen meals, and “homeschool” snacks & desserts. I got home shortly before 5 pm. Don got off at 5 pm.
I was met at the door by Wesley, dressed in a shark T-shirt and a proper tuxedo! He greeted me with “Hello, mother, and welcome to the Johnson Cafe”
???? Complete heart melt.
Sophia was dressed in a beautiful cream gown. Grandpa was just chillin’ like he hadn’t been involved ????
They forbade me to look in the dining room and asked me to go put on a dress. I did so, and also undid my hair which I happened to have braided in the morning, in anticipation of the cleaning job I had. The kids and Grandpa started getting the groceries. They asked me to put some of them away, but I couldn’t look at the table in the dining room, still. While I changed, though, they got out the fruit I had just purchased and set out the sparkling water and cherry juice (I saw this later).
A short while after I was done, Don came back from work. They told him to go get dressed too.
Meanwhile grandpa put out the flowers I had just gotten.
Then when we both were allowed to come out, we saw how they had set up the table with plates and everything – candles too! Sophia said, “This is your Valentine’s date because I was sick on Valentine’s and you couldn’t go on your date.”
???? Another complete heart melt!
We were advised to self-serve because of COVID compliance ????
It was super sweet and an occasion full of love; even more than Valentine’s Day could have ever offered.
I kept feeling amazed about how it all worked out. Don & I had zero ideas of their plan. Outside of a new orchid tradition, Don started last year, we usually get flowers around birthdays or some such occasions. We otherwise get plants that can grow. So the fact that I bought the kids these flowers, on the day they were doing all this for us, was just beyond serendipitous! It was like a thank you to them from the universe itself!
My hair, my timing, Don’s timing, the groceries – everything was serendipitous and perfect! Even me fitting in the dress I picked after the holidays is amazing! ????
All this happened at a time when one of my closest friends and her co-denizens are stuck without power, in freezing cold Texas, with at least one politician telling them to go fend for themselves. At a time when death tolls are rising in Tanzania because of a renewed wave of Covid-19. At a time when many other saddening & maddening things are happening around the world.
In the midst of it all, though, I would be remised if I didn’t mention this beautiful occasion. No matter how long we’ve been home as stay-home-moms (or dads) before the pandemic – homeschooling & virtual schooling and staying at home, going in circles or keeping busy with work and electronic devices, and books, and and and – it gets so exhausting sometimes and I want an open field to run on, where somehow none of our responsibilities follow me there. Where I can run and lay in the grass and look at the pretty blue sky and fluffy clouds shielding me from the sun here & there.
The beauty in what happened yesterday, in my view, is in our children surprising us, in Wesley being here with his miracle heart, in them having a grandpa and the kind of grandpa who would take the time to help them organize it all, in them putting on clothing they don’t really like to wear that often, in all the details I mentioned above about the flowers and fruits and the timing and my hair – It was like that open field with the pretty sky and fluffy clouds.
I know I am not the only person going through this feeling. I imagine the mercies shown to our fellow humans living in war zones everywhere, or a brief moment of love my brothers & sisters in Libya might feel in the midst of the modern-day human enslavement and trafficking.
I imagine all of us get a split second of Love that gives us just enough hope to keep pushing forward, until, hopefully, the next split second.
So, in short, here is a shout out to the universe, and to the Creator, for allowing small (and huge) mercies, for sparking laughter and acts of love in the middle of chaos, and for allowing us to see it all.