Here's the thing I've learned, this path is unfolding as it's meant to, some kind of preordained destiny and the things that are happening in our lives are all apart of the master plan.
The trouble is, it can be hard to see it in the moment. I've discovered this to be a result of one thing...our expectations.
This is a story about expectations, well destiny really, but it took muddling through the muck of my damn expectations to arrive at the remembrance to get out of the way and let the path unfold as it's meant to.
This story is to remind us all of the power of destiny.
My husband and I both own new businesses. So you can imagine how busy and overwhelming our life is right now. It's hard to see straight most days and make time for anything other than managing our businesses. Add into the mix our beautiful 9 year old daughter who we adore and are desperately trying to make time for every day. It's an overwhelming struggle to find balance and connection on a daily basis. Over the past few years we have developed a knack for keeping an eye on our calendar and when we see a free weekend (which is insanely rare for me with the studio) we unplug, hop in the car, drive out to nature, book a hotel and reconnect. We devote every ounce of our energy to Addison for 24 hours. No phones, no work, no distractions, just an attempt to check in and show her we are here and she matters most.
Over the years we have done several of these trips and when we saw this past weekend was free we said "oh snap...where should we go?" We decided on a trip up to Skyline Drive, booked a cabin and set our sights on 24 hours of mountain bliss.
Then Zach declared oddly that he wanted to rent a car. In our 20 years together, this is NEVER something we have done, so it struck me sideways. He decided not to rent just any car, but a sentimental one to us all. He was determined to get a Jeep Wrangler. A car his Dad had while Zach was growing up and he has fond memories of cruising around with the roof off with his Dad. Memories like these are even more important now that his Dad has passed away. The thought of renting a Jeep in honor of grandpa and driving up to Skyline Drive got me an Addison immensely excited.
So when Friday rolled around and Addison got off the bus from school, we headed up to Enterprise to grab our Jeep and hit the road only to arrive and be told they didn't have a Jeep.
"What do you mean you don't have a Jeep?" You can almost hear our inner dialogue from here...how could they do this to us, we were both thinking. This is such a predictable and familiar way to think when you walk into a moment with a huge expectation.
So we waited for an extra hour for another car to arrive to be a substitute for our beloved Jeep. All they had to give us was this massive 3 row seater SUV. It was overkill for our family of 3 and this 24 hour getaway, but at this point we just wanted to be done with this so we could get on the road. So we hoped in our substitute car, the residue of disappointment an obvious stench in the air. We got Addison on board with the new car by convincing her how cool it would be to turn the entire 3rd row into her own personal apartment.
Never once did either of us stop to think, this is meant to be this way. It's ok they didn't have a Jeep because there is something out there meant to be. We rarely do that in our moments, have the insight to realize that its all destined. Nope...instead we get mad at Enterprise for not meeting our stupid expectations.
We made it to Shenandoah, checked into our darling mountain cabin, went out to dinner and tucked in for a good nights sleep. We had big plans to drive our massive 3 row seater SUV the entire length of Skyline Drive the next day.
The next day, Zach mentions after breakfast that we should take a detour to Larray Caverns first. So we hop in the massive 3 row SUV and drive to Lurray. After exploring the caverns and eating lunch we were headed back to the car to drive back to Skyline Drive and enjoy the scenery and catch the sunset. Only Addison then declares that she wants to do the garden maze before we leave. I reluctant, Zach indifferent we chatted with insistent Addison before I finally caved and we did the garden maze together for over an hour.
The exit to maze is just like any good American tourist attraction, the only way out is through the gift shop and as we enter I was stopped dead in my tracks by the most gorgeous 7 foot tall Cathedral Cactus I have ever seen. She was a thing of prickly beauty. I tilted my head back to start up at her prickly beauty only to hear that lady behind the counter say "you should take her home."
Thinking I misheard her, I asked her to repeat and Pam (as her name tag declared) said "you should take her home. The owner normally does for the winter, but he is tired of doing it. We tried to sell her but had no luck, so now we are just giving her away."
Let me pump he brakes here for a second so you can understand how exciting this was for me. I am a massive plant collector, Zach and Addy would call me a Crazy Plant Lady. I have over 50 stunning house plants in our home. Every where you look there is a plant, all lovingly cared for, each one named to suit their plant personality. It is my thing, so this suggestion from Pam, made my heart skip a beat and my pulse quicken. This stunning dessert cactus would have cost hundreds if I were to purchase her and here she was being offered to the world most obsessed plant lover for free. I laughed "we live 3 hours away how in the heck would we even logistically...wait...do you have a tape measure?" I felt my soul nudge me to investigate the possibility of taking this beauty home.
I measure the cactus, head out to the obnoxious 3 row seater family van we have been pimping around all weekend, lay down one entire side of the 3 rows of seats and it appears she will fit. I come back in to tell Zach, I think it will work, but how in the hell do you get a massive 7 foot tall spiky ass cactus to comfortably ride home with you for 3 hours.
The Universe knows...that is for damn sure. Before I could realize what was happening Pam made a dolly, gloves, a tarp and an extra burly man appear out of thin air in a matter of minutes. We managed to lay the cactus down and wrap her up like a dessert burrito, get her on the dolly roll her out to the car and like butter, the 4 of us lifted her up effortlessly by the tarp into the car.
And god damn it if the tips of her majesty didn't just touch the back of the folded down front seat and the very end of her terra cotta pot landed just where it needed to for the trunk to be able to still close. Not to mention Addison had to sacrifice half of her apartment to this dry dangerous stranger and I forfeited riding home shotgun with Zach.
It wasn't until I slammed the trunk shut that it all flooded through me...the entire chain of events from Zach having the random idea to rent a car, to them not having the Jeep and giving us this god awful 3 row seater SUV, to the detour to Lurray Caverns. Evey little bit of it, was preordained, a date with destiny. It rocked me to my core. I was meant to be here to take this cactus goddess home. She was meant to join our huge plant loving family. My heart just about exploded. This was meant to be. How could I not see it. Life wasn't happening to me, it was happening for me. To lead me to this exact moment just as it was destined to be.
We named her Pam, after the lady behind the counter and she now sits in a lovely Southern facing corner winder in my living room so she can be exposed to the 4 hours of direct sunlight that she needs to thrive. And wouldn't you know it that she is the very first thing I now see every morning as I come down the steps from my bedroom to start each day.
There she now stands, a masterpiece of cactus wonder and a daily reminder, to get out of the way and let destiny unfold.