Fantastic Friday: Unmissed Opportunity

I went to bed the night before, ready for a great day. Tomorrow would be my anniversary, and my husband and I were going to celebrate with steak, scallops, corn on the cob, and a homemade dessert. The morning didn’t quite live up to the excitement, with both kids having near meltdowns while trying to grocery shop. But, at least we’d have a nice dinner.

The kids didn’t nap, but at least that meant they’d go to bed early.

When it was finally time to cook dinner, a minor storm came through that ended up knocking down a tree that caused our neighborhood and a few surrounding ones to lose power.

The initial estimate for restored power was 8:30. Not wanting to risk it, we opted for sandwiches instead. We’d eat, get the kids to bed, and maybe have enough time to watch a movie at least. As we counted down to 8:30, we checked the outage map on our phones and saw that the new estimate for power restored was almost midnight.

My husband and I sighed, defeated. The bedrooms (upstairs) were way too hot. The minor storm that came through was not enough to destroy all the humidity, and opening windows without fans running would do nothing for the heat upstairs.

We worked to convince my three-year-old that it would be fun to have a camp-out in the living room. The baby listened, unimpressed.

With neither kid ready for sleep, we decided to take them outside on the swings. At least the back-and-forth of the swings provided a bit of cooling relief. We shrugged and made the best of it. “We’ll celebrate our anniversary tomorrow,” we declared.

My three-year-old was the first to realize the positive side effect of the outage: she was allowed to stay up late enough to see fireflies. Normally, her “mean” parents send her to bed way before it’s dark enough to see them.

Once I let go of my expectations for a nice meal and an air-conditioned bedtime for the kids, I started to notice things I hadn’t. I looked up and saw a spider with an intricate web at the top of the swing set. Upon closer examination, I saw the spider spinning a web around a larger bug—her victim. While the whole spider-eating-bug thing was not my idea of a beautiful anniversary, there was actually something beautiful about being out there in nature. The intricate web, the peacefulness of the spider working efficiently, the background of crickets, and the fireflies like stars falling to Earth.20190702_211559

We opened SkyMap on my phone and took a look at all the lights twinkling above us. We discussed planets and stars and made wishes. In short, it was a night of summer magic.

Yes, we had to go inside (the bugs were eating us!), and it was pretty hot until the power came back on. It was difficult to get the kids to fall asleep in a strange setting rather than their familiar rooms. And taking out contact lenses by candlelight is not much fun.

But for days afterward, all my daughter talked about was the time she got to see fireflies and name planets and swing in the dark and have a sleepover in the living room.

It was a night of memories much more poignant than a steak and some scallops.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.