Originally published in the Miami News-Record on May 29, 2016.
One of my favorite children’s books is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It’s about a little boy who has just has a rotten day from start to finish and declares he’s moving to Australia. This week I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day of my own.
Tuesday morning’s hair-fixing took me longer than usual. I recently cut my hair short and short hair is a fickle, fickle entity. The least little thing can anger it or at the very least be fuzzy and willful. I finally got it where I wanted it, hairsprayed it into submission, and decided I had time to water my freshly-planted garden before I headed out the door. I opened the front door to find three very happy dogs, one of whom was covered nose to tail in dirt. I ran – okay, haha, I don’t run – I walked briskly to the back yard to find every single mound where I had planted squash or zucchini had been happily dug into by Abby’s dog Jojo (who now lives with us). I stood there in the middle of all the disaster, my sparkly aqua flip flops sinking into the dirt, my fists clenched, fighting back tears. When Jojo came gleefully running toward me all I said was “JOJO. NO.” The words apparently had some serious power to them because she hit the ground and belly crawled all the way back to the front of the house. Finally I just decided to go ahead and cry while I replanted what seeds I could find, said a prayer over each mound, and went back in the house. Standing at the mirror to wash my hands I looked up and saw that my hair had become a fuzzy, wavy, unkempt mess and my makeup was streaky from the crying.
I text my coworker and told her I’d be late, fixed myself the best I could, decided I didn’t have time to pack a lunch and eating was overrated anyway. I flew out the door with Kady who was going to spend the day with me at work. The night before, I had left a bag behind at Walmart. When I realized it, I called and they said they had it and to come pick it up at my convenience. But by 8:45 the next morning they’d put it all back on the shelf. I did not have time to re-shop because for the life of me I couldn’t remember which boxers I had bought Paul the night before so I just asked for my money back. I had promised Kady a 99¢ morning Sonic drink and figured since I was apparently going to be skipping lunch, I deserved a breakfast burrito. Two bites in and I dropped a big hunk of cheesy, greasy sausage on my shirt. I just shrugged and laughed. I’d already cried enough.
The day got better when Mom called and said she wanted to buy me lunch, so bonus food! And even though I had to go to the salon where all the pretty people work that afternoon to pick up Kady with flat, weird hair and a burrito grease stain on my shirt there are much worse things in the world than looking unkempt and sloppy. I had the money to buy my husband’s boxers and the gum they put back on the shelf – and even a breakfast burrito. I have a house with a garden and a daughter who pulled weeds and visited with me while I planted, that same daughter who is currently incubating my beautiful granddaughter. I have a husband who watered my garden that morning because in all the hullaballoo I forgot to actually do that. I have a momma who buys me chicken strips when I have bad days. I have clothes, food, a Sonic nearby, and Jesus. My life isn’t so terrible horrible.
Bad days are going to happen. They are inevitable. They are also survivable. And just so you know, Sonic chicken strips usually help.