Unexpected delay.


I’m not the best at letting go of expectations. It can be hard for me to switch gears when plans change. John’s favorite thing to say to me is, “Let’s just play it by ear…” because he knows it makes me crazy. I love having a plan, a process, something specific to look forward to. I should know better by now; there’s a long list of times when life went haywire but landed me in an even better place. I do believe it’s more fun to enjoy the ride, even with a few unexpected curves in the road. Expectations decrease joy.

My brother stopped in for two nights with us last week, mid-way through his move from Denver to Seattle. He left early Saturday morning with plans to be in Seattle before 8pm, with a cushion of time before starting a new job on Tuesday. I clutched my coffee with sleepy eyes and watched him pull away, all of his belongings behind him in a U-haul trailer, off toward his next adventure.

This is where the Universe laughed.

Later that morning, Matt let us know that his truck was breaking down. He’d almost made it into Idaho when the check engine light flashed and the engine started to seize. Long story short, he left the trailer in a “safe” dirt lot, limped to a dealership, and hoped it wasn’t serious. It was. We brought him (and his trailer) home, and now he’s dealing with warranties, unexpected costs, delaying the start of a new job, and waiting while his truck gets a new engine in a town two hours away. Not the best way to start a new chapter in life, and certainly not what was expected.

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The truth is that Matt has done a better job than I have in accepting each snag along the way. He explained that there’s nothing he can do to speed up the process, so there’s no point in stressing out about it. “It is what it is,” he said. (I made a mental note to remember his way of thinking.)

Truth? I’m happy to have my little brother here for a little extra time. In the last week, Matt joined me on two of my favorite trails, where we had great conversations about each other’s lives. We made it to High West for lunch for good food and daytime drinks. Matt and John stained our garden boxes. We’ve cheered for World Cup soccer and laughed at reruns on the Comedy Channel. We’ve enjoyed some incredible meals, and Matt was here to join us for our first al fresco dinner of the summer AND a snowstorm in June!

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Sometimes, what feels like bad luck is an opportunity. It’s not an ideal situation, but what if he’d broken down 10 hours away? He’d be paying for a motel room and eating out every meal. Instead, he’s herewith us.

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And really, that’s not bad at all.

 One year ago: I shared an article about my most difficult breakup


  1. I’m like you, Amber. I HATE when the plans change. I’ve been known to pout, get angry, or get sad if what I thought was going to happen didn’t. I’m so glad that you’re getting this extra time with your brother. Family is what really matters!

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