I Felt Like I Had Failed Him.

Shane signed up for “A Day of Writing with the Authors” at a local college.

The sign-up process was benign – paperwork and processing as always – except for one thing: students chose their favorite genres, and ordered their choices from 1 (favorite) to 3 (least favorite). Students chose three classes for both morning and afternoon – so they would be spending the day, technically, with two authors.

The registration form – which we completed more than a month in advance – said that, due to class size limitations, “students may not receive first choice.” Once a class was full, students were put into their second choice class.

Shane chose Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing in the morning, and Playwriting in the afternoon.

When Shane showed up for the workshop five weeks later, he got one of his first choices – Playwriting. But he was a bit heartbroken about losing the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing class. He really enjoys writing fantasy, and he ended up in a Science and Nature Writing class.

As a parent, I felt like I had failed him. Registering five weeks early wasn’t quite early enough to get him what he wanted. And as always, I wanted him to have what he wanted.

It amazes me how much needs to be done early – way, way early – to get the most out of the experience. If you ever go to Disney World, for example, it is fun. But if you plan six months in advance, make dinner reservations four-to-six months in advance, plot your rides two months in advance, and show up an hour before the park opens every day, then you can actually get what you want out of the vacation.

I am a planner. It works well with motherhood. But in this case, I hadn’t planned sufficiently. Five weeks wasn’t early enough. Perhaps six weeks would have guaranteed Shane that spot in the Fantasy class. I started to fret about it during orientation, and fretted nearly all day about it – even though there was nothing I could do.

But I also remembered the most important thing: whatever happens is what is supposed to happen. Not everything that happens is good. Not everything that happens is what we want. But sometimes, even when we do our best to do what we think is best, what is supposed to happen always prevails.

There are some things in life over which we are simply powerless.

The good news: Shane didn’t dislike his Science and Nature Writing class, and he loved Playwriting. So once again, in spite of whatever concerned me, everything worked out for the best.

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