The Alternate Ending

August 29, 2016

Saturday night was definitely not supposed to turn out like that! Scott and I and our two older kids hadn’t even made it to dinner when our poor babysitter back home was texting, asking how to troubleshoot the alarm that was going off. Our sweet sitter walked all over the house, pushing buttons and checking doors and smoke detectors. No fires. No broken windows. Just a loud alarm.

We were sitting in traffic downtown, totally unaware that there was a Colts pre-game extravaganza (hey, we are new here) and there was some kind of Harley convention in which you could only participate if you revved your engine as loud as possible. Again. And Again. And Again. Which would have been fine, except the only restaurant with a wait under two hours…only had patio seating. Between bites of calamari and fresh hummus (not together, though), we were intermittently yelling at one another to be heard, trying to figure out the dumb alarm.

I texted a neighbor who agreed to go over and check it out. Apparently, there was some combination of chairs and a stool, a change of batteries, and our dog who ran around in circles with excitement and confusion. Just when we thought it was resolved, the alarm went off again. And our neighbor got called away to another emergency, far more important than this one, so she had to go.

Everyone felt defeated. Standing in front of the concert venue, tickets in hand, we were all ready to go in. I love this band…Needtobreathe! Talented musicians. Introspective lyrics. A spiritual message without the stale and predictable flavor so many of us grew up with. Scott made the hard decision to go home. We didn’t want the alarm going off all night.

He walked away and I had visions of firetrucks pulling up in front of our house. That would be the only predictable end to this ridiculous night. The remaining three of us walked in and got some lawn chairs. The music enveloped me. The words resonated with me. I wrapped my arms around my first babies, hugged them tight and sang in their ears…”There is a peace, there is a love; You can get lost inside; Come to the fountain and Let me hear you testify…” There was Something much bigger than us that night…

Not wanting to have Scott drag the little ones out of bed so late, we decided to Uber our way home. Which was a good idea until we realized the surge fee was 3.7 times base rate. (That’s code for: the $25 ride would be $95.) So we started walking. Releasing our plans…we wandered. North. Then West. We laughed at our situation. We found a pizza pub and ducked in just to use the bathroom but couldn’t resist the aroma and we ordered breadsticks. They came out piping hot. With beer cheese and marinara. Which at midnight…well, that’s heaven! We walked a little further…and discovered a strangely captivating scene with lights and pictures projected onto the side of a building. There were people riding bicycles lit up with paper mache like lantern animals. Ethereal. Surreal. Strange. And beautiful. We stood there in silence for a minute. We all knew the same thing: if the alarm hadn’t gone off at home, we wouldn’t have been standing there. Eating hot breadsticks and watching a strange light show at 1am. Holding hands. Giggling. Making a memory. Letting me be both a mom…and a friend.

We walked one more block then finally gave in when the surge was down to 2.2. I texted Scott and told him we were safely on our way home with Uber Bill. And while that night was not what I had in mind, not what I was hoping for, that night was an amazing surprise for me and the kids. And a reminder to release my expectations. Let go of the picture I have in my mind of the way things are supposed to turn out. Be open to the alternate ending…which, as it turns out, was a precious time that we would have otherwise missed. Far too often, I allow my frustration to rob me of the experience, the lesson…the joy, of the alternate ending. 

Disclaimer: My viewpoints are not necessarily reflective of my employer, or any local, regional or national organization that I belong to. As a matter of fact, I pretty much just speak for myself. Please keep that in mind.

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    John F. Jung

    OK, so I teared up when you were singing in those babies’ ears…

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