What can we do when things don’t turn out the way we planned?

Christmas wreath

I hadn’t planned on taking a hiatus during the holidays.

In fact, I had planned to write what I hoped would be funny blog posts about family gatherings, ham comas, and spiked egg nog.

Alas, that was until I heard the Daughter utter the words most mothers want to hear: “I’m coming home for the holidays.”

Upon hearing these lovely words, my world transformed.

I basked in the knowledge that I wouldn’t be the only one in the kitchen cooking Christmas brunch.

I would have someone to sing and dance with come New Year’s Eve.

I would have someone to hang onto while I hobbled down the street whilst walking Roxy.

Finally, after ten years, the heiress to my debt would once again grace my threshold.

And she did–with the boyfriend in tow.

Just like that, I knew my plans were toast.

The Son further confirmed my suspicions when he leaned close to his sister and whispered, “Wait till you experience European night life!”

Nevertheless, things didn’t turn out as bad as I thought.

Time spent in my own company allowed me to make some surprising discoveries.

I became reacquainted with silence and the relaxation that comes with listening to one’s breathing.

I had lovely conversations with my plants, Maxine, Lil’ Helga, and Ruby.

I was finally been able to shower, use the bathroom, and take a nap without any interruptions.

I color coded the meager clothes in my closet.

I read Roxy The Christmas Story–five times.

I replied to emails from people who have probably forgotten who I am.

I told Roxy, many, many times that she really is the best companion I’ve ever had.

I finished reading “The Life of Pi.”

I realized that life does not come to a screeching halt when one’s expectations aren’t met.

I learned that while sometimes things may turn out differently than what we planned, it doesn’t mean the end result has to be bad.

I understood that grown children don’t need their mothers as much as I think they do.

I accepted that eventually, all mothers have to let go.

I have missed you, friends.

I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season and have started 2013 in good health, high spirits, and with pep in your step.

Let the new year begin!

What discovery did you make during the holiday season?



77 thoughts on “What can we do when things don’t turn out the way we planned?

    1. I would suggest grown kids don’t necessarily ‘need’ mom the way she expects them to (or maybe wants them to!) but they maybe need her in other ways that are very important and powerful in their own right ;-)

    2. yup…very true..
      the expectations changes, demands changes, views changes—- but need always remains there.
      They may need u for guidance when kids, they may need u for permissions when a little older, and they may just need you for discussions when young.
      Parents shall also understand that as child grows thr brain becomes mature enough and they look at things the way they want – also there are different interests , and they may not resemble ur own. Unless thr is something very critical / urgent… let them live the way they want…
      For thr is no right & wrong in everything …its just a matter of interest & outlook at times.
      Honour & Respect or each other’s likes and dislikes is the key to healthy & sweet relationship :)

    3. Erakanksha, you’ve given me much to think about. Indeed even though we may have different outlooks, the love and respect is always there! :)

    4. So right, Linda! I find myself being able to discuss things with the Daughter now that wasn’t possible when she was still living at home. I think the bond gets stronger too! :)

  1. No big (or small) dicoveries during holidays, just catching up on some series (True Blood, Season 5, and Downton Abbey, Season3), movies, eating too much, staying up late, sleeping too mouch, blogging more than usual… It’s nice to see you had lovely converstations with your plants.

  2. Sometimes, we just have to roll with the unexpected . . . Seems to me that you took it all in stride and enjoyed your holidays in spite of the changes in plans. And, all with your sense of humor in tact! No small feat!
    Blessings to you in the new year, Bella!

    1. Martha, thank you for your kind words. If anything, life has taught me that a good sense of humor always lightens the mood and most situations. In this case, I was disappointed in not being able to spend New Year’s Eve with my kids but also understood that at their age, it’s all about partying! hee hee! Big hugs to you! :)

  3. I discovered something I already had an inkling of…that my friends are truly my family, our presence is our present to each other, and my son is enjoying spreading his wings–he’s soaring in ways I never pictured and that makes my heart soar. Happy New Year Bella (and Roxy too) ;o)

    1. Hi Sahbinah! How wonderful to have good friends that count as family! I admit I don’t have too many friends but the ones that I do have, are very special indeed. I love how you mention that “your presence is our present to each other.” Lovely. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Happy New Year to you, lovely lady! :)

  4. Ciao Bella! I love your photo of the wreath on the wet/reflective window (door?). Gorgeous. Sounds like you really caught up over the holidays–your plants should be very happy and Roxy got all that extra attention. Are you going to see Life of Pi, the movie? A wonderful 2013 to you and yours.

    1. Jann, would you believe I stumbled across this wreath while sightseeing with my kids? We did manage to spend some days when we were all together and this was one of them. The wreath was hung from a door that had a shiny paint. It immediately caught my eye, with it’s holiday colors and lovely textures. I was stoked that the shine on the door offered a reflection as well. I’m tickled pink you like the shot! My little plants are thriving so I think it is true that talking to plants helps them grow! ha! I’m still undecided whether to see the movie of The Life of Pi or not. Usually when I read a book, I don’t see the movie. The book is always so much better! Hugs to you from Roxy and me! We wish you a happy 2013! :)

  5. Hello, Bella my friend. Well, I discovered that I needed a bigger break from the internet than I thought; I wrapped up my blog. I had been feeling the need to pull back for a while and the end of the year seemed like a good time. And I am also wanting to give the girls a bit of breathing room, letting them grow without documenting every little high and low. I have missed you. And I hope that you will keep in touch. I will visit you here, of course! Happy New Year to you and yours, sweet Bella!

    1. Heidi, you wrapped up the blog? Oh no! I will miss seeing the mugs of your beautiful girls and your witty posts! That said,I understand how it might be the best thing if you needed the space. In any case, I will miss your blog posts dearly, my friend! I’m so happy to see you here again! I hope you’ll drop by often. I love it when you comment! And of course we shall keep in touch! Happy 2013 to you and your family, dear lady! :)

  6. What a sweet, sweet post, Bella! We, too, went through our ‘lonely’ times at Christmas. Then the families started coming back. And I discovered the amazing wonderful-ness of grandchildren at Christmas. and many, many little bodies running, playing, talking, laughing, eating, eating, eating . . . and loving. Don’t worry. It will happen! All my best to you in this new year! May it be the greatest ever!!!

    1. Diane, I am delighted you like the post! It’s so wonderful to read how your existence changed magically with the appearance of grandchildren. How lovely! I can imagine how sweet that must be! You’ve given me hope for the future, my friend! hee hee! Happy 2013 to you and yours, lady! Hugs! :)

    1. Una, I dropped by your new blog and I love it! I’ve added your blog link to my blog roll. Would you believe I’m still struggling with the knee pain and walking is still quite painful? I knew this was going to be a long and arduous process, but really! It’s time, sister! I’ve promised the Son, who’s sick of my complaining, that I’m going to take rest more seriously and see if that helps the healing process along. Thank you so much for asking! Happy 2013 to you and yours! :)

  7. dear Bella, I’ve discovered that having some arguments with my mom is part of our relation, we argue about everything and we love to do it!. It can be exhausting, but it also provides us a great partnership!, and some peaceful moments also that we enjoy with complicity!
    besos & partners in crime

    1. Mrs. Allnut, complicity–I love it! And I love the sound of the fun relationship you have with your mother! I too have something similar with my mom, though in my case, she tends to want to win most arguments! hee hee! This year we should definitely practice the art of being partners in crime! Besos! :)

  8. Hello Beautiful Bella, I have missed you. I also took a break over the holiday season.. from many things, some small, some huge.. I am also learning the lesson life does not go to plan and trying to survive along the way. I intend to be more productive this year with my writings (says me for now anyhow) and look forward to staying connected with you and Roxy throughout the year for you are one of a few special people that help keep a smile on my face when i need it the most xx Happy New Year !

    1. Soul, you have no idea how happy your words make me! Roxy and I have missed you! Your poetry is amazing and I look forward to reading more of it soon, lady! :)

  9. Bella! Happy New Year! :-D

    I love the wreath on the door; the colors and textures are glorious.

    How wonderful that your daughter (and her boyfriend) came home for the holidays, and how interesting, although perhaps not entirely unexpected, how her visit turned out.

    Maybe you both got what you needed? She the comfort of nesting with her mama, even if she flew around a lot, and you the satisfaction of having her within reach, even if it wasn’t in the way you envisioned.

    The bonus of alone time to tend to a number of self-care items (my meager closet is color-coded, too; it’s a rainbow of fabrics when I open it) is golden.

    Welcome back. You were missed. :-) xoxo

    1. Ellen, your description of what we got is spot on! We did have cuddling times, not many, but a few and of course she was able to enjoy the sights and the environment in the company of her brother. Seeing the camaraderie between them was a gift in itself. A golden array of clothes items…how lovely! I need something golden and sparkly in my closet. Unfortunately, I’m just now incorporating color into the sea of blam garments. Thank you for the love. I am honored. xoxo :)

  10. Have a beautiful 2013, Bella! ‘the heiress of my debt’ made me laugh. Children have to learn to step out on their own. Parents have to learn to let go. But we/they’ll come back. Always.

    1. Claudine, your beautiful words give my mother’ heart hope. I think both of my children are at a stage where they want to embrace independence and not rely so much on mom. Nevertheless, if experience is anything to judge by, your words I know that the time will come when they’ll return. How lovely! I wish you a wonderful and lovely 2013, my friend! :)

    1. Jodi, you are just lovely! Thank you for your loving thoughts! And just remember, I live close to England but I’m in another country! Hmmmm…where does Bella live? hee hee! :)

  11. Bella! Am I glad you’re back!

    The holidays have been a good break, and it seems the year has started again! AGAIN!

    Things never turn out as planned, but there’s always something good in every situation, as long as we close our eyes to the tough parts and peer hard to find the best things of each outcome! (you can tell I was born overly optimistic – something others may consider a flaw but I consider a virtue).

    Hope your 2013 is starting off on the right foot! If not, two lefts make a right – so we’re good either way!

    Take care dear!


    1. Felicia, you sweetheart, your words make me smile! I love, love your optimistic attitude. We should all be more like you. The world would be a more agreeable place, that’s for sure! 2013 seems to be going smoothly thus far. I’m hoping it will stay this way for the next twelve months! hee hee! Big hugs to you! :)

  12. Oh Bella, you always manage to write posts that are equal parts hilarious and beautiful, and that make my silly heart smile.

    I’m glad that the holiday season allowed for some much needed rest and relaxation, and that you still got to see your daughter (even if the plans were a little altered than what was originally anticipated!)

    All my best wishes for the New Year! xx

    1. Ethel, your comments always, and I mean always, make my day! Thank you for your kind words. Like you mention, the holiday season allowed me to rest a bit and the good Lord knows how much rest I need! hee hee! All my best wishes to you for a bright and shining New Year! xoxo :)

  13. I’ve missed you, Bella! I, too, took some time off over the holidays, mostly to regenerate, so I can appreciate your feelings. With Domer getting set to graduate this coming May(!), I know he’s going to be around much less than usual, and Dallas and I are going to miss him. It’s not that the kids love you any less — rather, it’s that they don’t need you (and your money, ha!) as much. We did it to our parents, now it’s our turn. The consolation, I’m told, is that our kids’ kids will do it to them one day, too!! Happy 2013, and I’m looking forward to following your journey!

    1. Debbie, my friend, I feel the same! Thank you for your lovely words. I can’t even imagine how we will survive the empty nest syndrome. That said, I think you and I are fighters and in the words of Gloria Gaynor, we will survive! Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that we may even have a little more cash to help us through the process! hee hee! Happy 2013, amiga. May you have the best year ever! :)

    1. Adriene, thank you so much for reassuring me! I wish you a happy, happy 2013! And thank you for tweeting this post! I so appreciate it! :)

  14. Bella, are you saying you didn’t get to spend any time with your daughter? Como puede ser? Well, sounds like you made the most of it, though I wish you would’ve emailed me! Anyway, glad you’re back. I’ve been in and out of the blogosphere myself, not posting as often. I spent most of my time watching TV with the kids, going to movies and just hanging. Plus I had to take care of a fish, something I know nothing about. Oh, well. Love to you and Roxy. Hope we can catch up soon!

    1. Hi Monica! I actually spent some time with the Daughter, just not as much as I would have liked. And both her and the Son went to a New Year’s Eve party so I pretty much brought in the New Year with only Roxy and the Significant Other. I love the relaxed vibe you and your children had during the winter break! I have so much to catch up with you! I’m also behind with blog reading. Please, please forgive me. Would you believe I am now battling bronchitis? Ay Dios mio! This never stops! Love to you and Sir Charles, amiga! Hugs! Happy 2013! xoxo :)

    1. Kim, there is no doubt in my mind that you are made of sugar, soul and all! You sweet lady, thank you for your kind and loving words. I so appreciate them! Roxy was very attentive during the reading. Methinks she liked the story! hee hee! Kisses and hugs to you from Roxy and me! :)

  15. Miss Bella,
    I do understand your feeling..although I’ve known long ago having two boys that bonding with sons does not happen….do I regret ever saying I didn’t want a daughter? Not at all….I get to keep all my cheap makeup, no perfume sharing, or stolen ahem personals….and I don’t even have to go shopping for their skimpy clothes if they were girls….do I miss having them following me around like little duckies? ABSOLUTELY!! I feel your pain

    HAVE A GREAT YEAR!!! You’re still my favorite blog writer!

    PS: I didn’t make any holiday discoveries except I still hate Christmas music…it’s like that stupid Disney song “It’s a small world” those songs are geared to keep repeating in your head…even during Valentines day!

    1. Eve, felicidades, chica! How are you? You made me giggle with your comment about hating Christmas music! I think I know all the lyrics to every Christmas song out there! Ay Dios mio! And like you mention, the worst part is getting the tune out of your head! hee hee! I also chuckled at your description of clothes shopping! Oh my, does that sound familiar! During this holiday period, the Daughter asked me to go with her to find an outfit for New Year’s Eve. Five hours later, one pair of winter shorts, high heels, and cut out shirt later, we were on our way home! Tiring but fun! Happy 2013! :)

  16. Such a wonderful, sweet and inspiring post! I was right there with you every step of the way — I felt your discomfort, you tickled me and in the end left me smiling and nodding my head in agreement ;-)

    What surprise did the holidays hold for me? Very similar as far as letting go of expectations. We couldn’t quite get everybody on the same page so I had to ‘settle’ for separate celebrations with each my grown
    kids and my boyfriend — instead of the big family traditional party I thought I would prefer.

    It worked out wonderfully and the unexpected bonus was being able to focus on each individual relationship in a more profound way.

    Thank you for reminding me of that — I feel the glow of the reminiscence. Love.

    1. Hi Linda! I think separate celebrations sound wonderful! The Daughter and I spent half a day together searching for a New Year’s outfit and it was great! We had coffee, tried on shoes, and admired stuff we couldn’t afford. I also got to spend time withe Son. He is my coffee buddy on those times the Significant Other is otherwise engaged. On this one particular occasion it was jut the Son and me and two cups of coffee, two paninis, and Christmas music–all in our favorite bakery! I’m delighted you liked the post. Hugs and much love to you! :)

  17. I’ve talked to a few plants. The nice thing is, they don’t talk back. Most agreeable.

    Daughter-home-with-boyfriend is one of those major milestones. Sounds like you adjusted graciously, thought it was unexpected I’m sure!

    1. Oh, Eloise, you always make me laugh! Those plants of mine may just be closely related to yours! hee hee! The boyfriend wasn’t so much unexpected as it was the first time in our home. I discovered that close proximity for this many people can be difficult at times. Thankfully, we managed. Happy 2013, my friend! :)

  18. It’s always smart to have an alternate plan, even if it’s spontaneous. That way, you’re not disappointed. And too, I’m sure it was cool to know The Daughter was closer than miles away.

    1. Totsy, you’re right–it was wonderful to have the Daughter here with me for two weeks. The time just flew by! I couldn’t believe how she was arriving one minute and packing to go home the next. It made me so sad to see her go. Fortunately, we keep in touch via phone and email. Happy New Year to you, lady! :)

    1. Lori, now that you mention it, this would make for a splendid title! hee hee! I’m delighted you found it funny, chica! Feliz 2013! :)

  19. Hey Bella!
    I discovered during holiday season why people (well, grown-ups) tend to say things like “I wished I was a child again” and why rockstars always sing about innocence and how awesome life was when there were still naive enough to believe growing up would be the best thing that could happen to someone. In my mid-twenties, I have finally waved good-bye to my beliefs in a happy family and a cheerful Christmas time. Life is tough on everyone but we have to make the best of it.
    Now, this sounds all very dark, but I didn’t mean to sound all sad and depressed. It’s simply a realisation – a realisation that goes along with the firm believe that 2013 will be better than 2012 was. You’ve got to believe in yourself to make your dreams come true – and don’t let others have a bad impact on your own personal luck and happiness. It’s all so not worth to stress out about things you can’t change.
    :) Hope your 2013 is going well for you, too.

    1. Sabrina, your words hold much wisdom, my friend. I will confess that I stopped relying on others to make me happy decades ago. I found it was too frustrating and unrealistic. Nowadays, when I find myself feeling a bit blue, I stop and ask myself why it is that I am unhappy. Most of the time it’s because I’ve allowed insecurities to take over or let worry in. I’ve promised myself that I am going to be very laid back this 2013. I’m getting older and I don’t need stress wrecking havoc with my health. I wish you a happy and productive 2013, my friend! Hugs! :)

  20. Happy New Year’s, Bella! Very happy to see you again :)

    The Heiress to my Debt…that is HYSTERICAL!!! Children never act right and it only get’s worse as we get older. ;0 I’m glad you handled it in such a sanguine fashion and are on the mend. But you know that’s what we expect from you, along with sage and much needed observations on life’s lessons.

    Write a book. What are you waiting for?



    1. Coco!! I was missing you, you know! I’m glad to see you are your happy self as always. Gosh, I love that about you! Yes, I tried my best to handle the situation with great diplomacy and class. Obama would be proud! hee hee! Do you really think I have what it takes to write a book? I thank you for your confidence in me, friend. Perhaps someday I will sit down and pen my memoirs. My nana taught me so much and I’d love to share it with the world! Big hugs to you and the best of wishes for a happy 2013! :)

  21. I’m glad you had a nice holiday. It sounds like it was such a nice time. I enjoy hearing you write about your daughter. I think about how that will be me and Sophie one day. But for now, I’m glad she needs me (most of the time)!

    1. Leah, cherish those moments! They are so precious and times simply flies! But then you already know that, don’t you? :) I’m stoked you liked the post. Thank you! Happy New Year to you and your family! :)

  22. LOL my whole life, as it is now, wasn’t the plan! But it’s turning out pretty nicely, although it is tough to be away from my family and old friends… We just gotta roll with it!

    My mom always said “Man plans, God laughs”!

    1. Amy, your mother was spot on! I love it! And I love how you’re a firm believer of “rolling with it.” We all have to adopt this attitude in order to be more stress-free! Happy New Year to you! Hope you and the hubby are doing better health wise! :)

  23. What a good post – and so true! I have to give Alpha Son credit – he does spend a bit of quality time with me since he moved back from Denver. But right after he moved out? Not so much. It was like, “Mom who? OH, mom the ‘can you do my laundry please please please’ lady”!

    1. Nan, I take hope in the fact that sons still need their mother, even after they get older! I’m so happy you liked the post! I hope you had a lovely holiday season and I wish you a happy, happy 2013!

    1. Corinne, your lovely comments forever allow me to exhale. Thank you! Roxy and I wish you, Pablo, and Jose a lovely and happy 2013! :)

  24. Happy new year, Bella! I’ve taken just a bit too long a hiatus myself :(
    Over the holidays, my Son announced this might be his last holiday with us… to which I replied very emphatically, “You will ALWAYS come home for Christmas!” These boys still need to be steered!

    1. That’s right, Astra, you tell him! I love your take charge attitude! And you’re right–these boys do need steering! hee hee! I’m glad to see you back in the blogosphere! Happy, happy new year to you too, my friend! :)

  25. I know it is very selfish of me but I do hope my children always need me. I know they won’t because I want them to be independent but they will always be my babies.

    Wishing you the best in the New Year!

    1. Belle, I’m with you, sister–they will always be our babies! hee hee! And I too will admit to being selfish! ha! Wishing you a happy, happy 2013! :)

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