Remember this from childhood? You perceived that some injustice was done to you, you didn’t get the right result, something just wasn’t fair, and you demanded a do-over. Sometimes you got it, if your peers decided it really wasn’t right; but sometimes they ruled against you and then, oh boy! Your first taste of the court system in action.
Well, there are times when I still want a do-over. I’m not talking about when I screw something up- I try not to have any true regrets. A sheepish apology and a promise (more to myself than to whomever I offended) to never do it again usually suffice when I make an error in judgement. I’m talking about those times when things are out of my control, and I don’t get the right result and something just isn’t fair. Then I want another shot.
Last summer, I planned my fiftieth birthday party. I called it the Party of the Half Century-catchy, right? It was to be a combination birthday and family/close friends reunion; the first time all three of our children would be in one place together since Christmas break, and the first time many of our friends would meet the kids they hear so much about (also, the first time my kids would meet the friends they hear so much about). We catered from a local pizza place, had a huge tent and tables set up in the backyard and hired a rock band to play for hours. We had about one hundred people who had responded “yes” and about thirty who had other plans kind of far away. In the end, one uninvited guest changed everything: Hurricane Irene. None of our children made the party, the hundred people who were travelling to get here stayed home and the thirty people who were supposed to attend distant celebrations showed up. The band did make it, playing for hours in the garage while Irene was partying hard outside. So it wasn’t all bad- it was really a very good time. Just not what I had planned for; so I want a do-over. If I sound like I’m whining a little, well, that’s the nature of the beast.
In April of 2011, we went to the mid-west to attend our niece’s wedding. All of our children were to fly in from their various homes, and it was to be a joyous, wonderful weekend. Except that our layover flight in Chicago was cancelled, our luggage was lost and not found until we returned home, and our son got snowed in at the Buffalo airport (in April!!). Once again, it was mostly terrific, even though our son was not able to be there, which broke my heart; and a dress from Target had to suffice for the wedding. Still, you know what I asked for…
There are certain people to whom I would like to grant a do-over, if I had such power. President Obama on his Race to the Top is a good example. He needs to step back, look at what his own daughters are receiving as an education and then try again. That’s a huge one (and one for an entire other blog topic), but there are smaller ones too. The moron who was driving down the highway in rush hour traffic tailgating and switching lanes at speeds way too high, and wound up in a ditch causing a horrendous backup. I’d actually like to do something to that guy myself, but my better side would just give him a do-over. Even watching the Olympics right now, with all of its breath-holding drama; the gold-medal hopefuls who tripped and fell or dropped the ball or missed the goal- I’m sure they all want a retake.
Back in the day, I appealed to my friends to grant me another chance…now I appeal to the powers that be- call it fate, angels, God, whatever you like. When things don’t go my way due to nothing in my control, I regress a few years, have a mental tantrum and say it outloud: I WANT A DO-OVER!!! It just makes me feel a little better.