The last week or so has been one of those good ones that offers unexpected surprises and happy moments. Two examples, only tangentially related:
I know I'm not the only person who finds it difficult to make new friends as an adult. Sure, that was that mini surge right after Eli was born when New Moms Groups yielded a small tribe of fabulous, supportive, wonderful women, but prior to that and following that, there's been a bit of a (not at all surprising) dearth. A couple of months ago I was at the playground with Eli (and, coincidentally, part of that tribe I just mentioned) and a woman with two boys struck up a conversation with me. It was one of those easy conversations, the kind that takes no effort whatsoever, the kind that requires few explanations and certainly no apologies. We've had a weekly playdate ever since. This by itself would be serendipity, since all of Eli's local friends are girls and I had desperately wanted a male playmate for him (for various reasons, including the difference between Eli's and the girls' developmental stages).
One of K's boys just had surgery for a cleft lip and the recovery period required him to wear cuffs around his elbows to keep him from bending his arms, to keep him from putting anything in his little six-month-old mouth. And the cuffs? Made of hard plastic. And the weather? Some of the hottest of the summer. And the sleeping? Not really happening. They borrowed an air conditioner from us, which I assure you caused us absolutely zero inconvenience. They returned it recently with a hearty thank you and I hadn't given it much thought.
Fast forward to last Friday. As we pulled into the driveway we saw two packages sitting there waiting for us. One was a box of Pampers (woo hoo, I guess) but the other was small and brown and as we got closer we could see that it was marked with the name of one of the best chocolate shops in the area. At first we thought it must be some ebay purchase I'd forgotten about that someone had very cruelly shipped in a misleading box, but a quick glance at the return address showed us that, indeed, we had been sent chocolate.
If you had witnessed the giddiness that ensued you surely would have been a little scared. We laughed, we danced, we rejoiced. We opened the card with true wonder - who would have done such a nice thing for us? Turns out, it was our newest friends, who wanted to thank us for the air conditioner, so they sent us this:
That, of course, is not the actual box because before there was any hope of taking a photo of it, it looked like this:
We were so happy with our surprise gift that we spent the whole weekend trying to decide how we could pay it forward. We still haven't figured it out, but someone in our lives has a box of chocolate coming their way sometime soon.
The random happiness continued through the weekend, which was largely uneventful and unplanned (just the way I like it, actually). We didn't have much going on so I signed up for some mystery shopping at a mall we needed to visit anyway. I had to go to a couple of department stores, ask some questions about a large purchase, and then make a purchase for $4.00 or less. After learning more than I ever wanted to know about luggage sets at the first store, I started my search for a small purchase. I can't tell you where I was, but suffice it to say I should NOT have had trouble finding something for $4.00. And yet I did. Everything was "$5.50 or three for $12.00" or "$4.79." Finally, because I wanted to end the misery, I dug through the clearance underwear bin and found one pair I liked for $1.97. Only problem? Size small. Trust me when I tell you that my rear end is not a size small (and if you doubt me, that photo of the ravaged box of chocolates should provide you some evidence). But I needed to be done and I wasn't finding anything I could actually use, so I grabbed them and headed to the register.
I didn't think about them much after that, except when my pint of Ben & Jerry's dribbled on my desk and I needed something to wipe it up. I had the bag sitting next to me because I needed the receipt to file my report and then I did what anyone would do: I wiped up the ice cream with my size small undergarments. I mean, let's face it, I wasn't going to wear the things (and eating a pint of Chubby Hubby at my desk pretty much sealed the deal) so really I had just purchased a two dollar rag. Later that day I threw them in the wash and the next day they made their way to my drawer.
This morning when I was getting dressed I figured, "Hey, what the heck, let's try them." And, friends, they fit! Not only do they fit, but I think they might be the most comfortable pair of underwear I've worn in a long time. And yes, I'm one of those women who prefers to shop at stores where I fit into a smaller size even though I know it's because the store cuts their clothes larger to make women feel good about themselves. So you can be sure that I am thoroughly enjoying the fact that my new favorite blue tie-dyed skivvies are a size small.
Turns out Forrest Gump was right. Life is like a box of chocolates. You never do know what you're going to get but sometimes, if you're very, very lucky, you get new friends, comfy underpants, and some actual chocolate. Not a bad deal. Not a bad deal at all.