As Ms. Janet Jackson might say, this is a story about control. My control.
I like to be in charge. This stems primarily from the fact that I happen to know the most correct way to do just about everything. Don't ask how I came to be possessor of such gift. It just happened.
As I've matured, I've been shocked to realize that not everyone appreciates my ability to instruct them in the correct ways of being alive. This proves especially true when I try to help my fellow Los Angelinos face their driving errors through a judicious use of obscene gestures directed towards them through the windshield of my car.
And there are other examples. It turns out that my fellow humans also rarely appreciate my helpful suggestions on their work styles, their dishwasher loading methods and/or their thoughts on "what works" in terms of their personal hairstyling choices. Having now accepted this startling reality, I have tried, of late, to loosen my controlling grip on the universe.
And, to be honest, I've had some success. I've become a more laid-back motorist. I've allowed other people to carve out their own relationships with my children (even though THE BABY REALLY DOESN'T LIKE TO BE HELD LIKE THAT!). I've even stopped yelling at the television, "That looks terrible on you!" when overweight ladies choose the see-through wedding gown on "Say Yes to the Dress".
I'm telling you people, I've changed.
But last week, as I faced kind of a major birthday, I had a bit of a backslide.
I had a vision of how I wanted things to go for my fortieth. I longed to plot everything out just so. BUT, my husband assured me that he was in charge of the plan and that he wanted everything to be a surprise.
I was concerned.
Much like when I suspected that David was about to propose, and I began announcing at random intervals things like...
"You know I would never want a jumbotron to be involved in this, RIGHT???? Or any sort of skywriting!"
...I tried to gently but firmly guide his efforts.
"You're not going to make me do anything annoying like get on a boat, are you?"
"I really don't want to do anything that involves moving a lot, you get that about me, right?"
My list of prohibitions went on.
- Please nothing at our house or I'll have to do a lot of cleaning.
- If the kids are involved it will be a nightmare for me. No kids.
- You know that I can't go to a spa, cause I'm pregnant, don't you?
- If you buy me any sort animal I will kill you and then I will divorce your dead corpse. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?
By the time the big day finally arrived the two of us were emotionally exhausted. My brain was stuck in overdrive - trying to imagine potentially disastrous birthday scenarios and stop David from executing them. My husband, meanwhile, had entered a state of near catatonia from fielding constant questions about the plan.
Together we limped towards the night of the big celebration...
...and I have to say that it...was...PERFECT.
There was dinner with family. There were surprise guests flown in from out of town. There were exquisitely chosen gifts.
Honestly, I could not have imagined a more ideal evening.
And as we drove at the end of the night towards the hotel that my husband had booked for us, I thanked him. And I told him with all sincerity,
"You know, honey, this has helped me realize that when I let go of having to control everything, things can turn out just great. I'm going to take that lesson away from all of this. I promise."
And then I realized that the route we were taking to the hotel was totally crazy and got David to turn at the next light.
Because I knew a better way.