“Whatever can happen will happen” Part I

Nothing like cake and love to end a bad day!
Birthday to me means cake, candles, and wish no matter what!

My husband is the youngest of four siblings who are spread out all over the United States. His oldest brother lives in Texas, his only sister lives in Missouri, his older brother lives in Ohio, and we live in Florida. Since my mother in law passed, five years ago, the whole family has not been reunited. Therefore, it became their purpose to make it happen this summer. 

The plan was to spend five nights and six days –starting Sunday– at Destin, Fla., known as The Emerald Coast in the Gulf of Mexico. We left Jacksonville on Saturday instead of Sunday, because we were going to visit a friend who lives near the vacationing spot. Before heading to his house, the gang –my husband, his sixteen year old daughter, our four-year old son, and yours truly– stopped in Tallahassee to have lunch with my husband’s oldest son, who goes to school there. Everything was going according to the plan until we all noticed on the ground a dripping from the front of our Jeep Grand Cherokee. Even though no alarms went off, my husband looked up online for the closest Jeep-Dodge dealership.

We said goodbye to my stepson and drove to the Jeep dealer crossing our fingers. When we got there we found out that the service shop was already closed and the manager was gone for the day. The only thing we could do was to leave the car in Tallahassee and rent a car, at our own expense. Two hours later we were running low on energy fuel –my husband had to go to three rent-a-car places searching for a car big enough to accommodate our luggage— so we decided to skip the friend’s house and head directly to Destin. On the way, we booked a hotel room 20 miles away from our final destination, this way we didn’t have to rush in the morning. Tired and hungry we went upstairs to our room to rest, only to find that we left our little son’s suitcase at home.

Like in an episode of Dr. Phil, my husband and I started arguing, but in the end, we each accepted part of the blame. In my defense though, I will say that his military style yelling “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” before leaving the house on Saturday morning, clouded my thinking and erased my mental check list.

Yet, my husband would argue that my mind is always cloudy with a chance of rain! To make the long story short, my stepson saved the day. He drove to Jacksonville Saturday night, spent the night at our house, and drove back to his house in Tallahassee on Sunday morning, where we met him. When he came out of the house, he had my son’s bag in one hand, and a birthday card for me in the other. Yes; Sunday was my birthday.

As you read this I am still at Destin with my family in law. When choosing the topic for this week’s story another kind of law came to mind: Murphy’s Law. Popularly known since the 1950’s as “Anything that can possibly go wrong, does” seemed like the perfect way to describe our odyssey. However, I read more about the law and I found Augustus De Morgan’s version a better fit. The British mathematician and logician wrote the first experiment almost a whole century before –June of 1866–, and his simple principle stated “Whatever can happen will happen”. That is life, without the pessimism. There is the lesson of this week.

Through my years I have come to understand that no matter how much I try to control the circumstances around me, I can’t always control the outcome. What I can do, is to control my reaction and my attitude when facing the challenge. Yes, our car broke, but we got to the dealership. The alternative could have been that the car shut down in the middle of the highway, where we had to wait for the tow truck in the blazing sun. Also, we left my son’s bag. So what? It could have been mine and believe me, I would be writing my husband’s grave stone instead of this blog!

At the end of the day, I cut my cake and blew out my candles. For the first time since I was four years old, 19 people sang Happy Birthday to me and made me feel like a star. For obvious reasons I wished for a week without any more misfortune. Now, the big questions is: did I get my wish? The answer will be here next week.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

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