Twenty-four: Potential

“Just when you think it can't get any worse, it can. And just when you think it can't get any better, it can.”  ~Nicholas Sparks, "At First Sight"

Each day holds great potential: potential to get worse, or potential to get better. Often the direction of my day depends on my attitude. 

I started out yesterday with a bad attitude. I was up much too early. I had to navigate icy roads and horrible traffic to get my daughter to her 8:00AM camp physical / seven year check-up. The trip took fifty minutes instead of the usual twenty-five. I was exhausted before we even left the house due to waking up countless times throughout the night in pain. 

My ever-cheerful and very talkative seven year old did nothing to improve my mood, as cheerfulness is excruciating to this grumpy non-morning person. To add to the mess that was my mood, I was trying to act like a nice and pleasant Mama, and nothing annoys me more than fake happy.

Sitting in the parking lot that was the highway, I didn't think things could get any worse. And then my leg started spasming. My left leg burned with pain as muscles spasmed for no apparent reason. In my husband's car instead of my twelve-passenger van, there wasn't much room to stretch and try to work out the spasm. It was then I realized that I'd only brought my cane with me - not my crutches or my wheelchair. If my leg didn't improve by the time we arrived, I wasn't sure how or if I would be able to walk. A string of expletives made its way through my mind, but luckily not out of my mouth, as I mentally cursed the day. I became certain that the doctor visit would go badly as well, if we ever made it there, and once there, if I could walk - and the rest of the day after that. I just wanted to go back to bed and try again tomorrow. 

Still at a standstill, my mind raced with questions for the doctor about my concerns regarding Alia's incredible flexibility. Worry about the possibility of something being wrong combined with worry about getting to her appointment on time. My already foul mood was getting worse, if that was even possible.

Thank God my leg situation let up soon after the traffic started moving. We even arrived with five minutes to spare. And then something amazing happened. Or perhaps I should say someone amazing happened.

Dr. Cliff O'Callahan walked into the exam room, greeted Alia, and began asking her questions. In response, she relayed how she was feeling, issues she's been having with her foot and other joints, what she does for exercise, what she eats and drinks, and how she keeps herself safe when she's riding bikes and such.  He then turned to me to ask about her schooling, any concerns I might have, and such while he did her exam. Knowing her love of anatomy, he named the organs he was checking as he checked them. He asked for a demonstration of her extreme flexibility and examined her joints. 

Dr. O'Callahan's wonderful, respectful, genuinely kind treatment of my daughter and myself changed my day. His care for his patients is evident in the way he approaches them and connects with them. His patience and calmness created an atmosphere of peace contagious to my gloomy being. 

The news was good - she's incredibly flexible, but nothing medically concerning. She's a healthy child. Healthy. What a magical word - music to my ears! 

The drive home was full of loud music and singing. And the day just got better from there. I organized homeschool co-op classes. I chatted with a friend online. I snuggled with children. I enjoyed Confirmation class with my not-yet-13-year-old (she says almost, I say not yet).

Whether it's just normal bad day blues, ill health, or horrific news, life often throws us challenges. What's important is that we have faith that we can get through whatever comes our way - even when worse becomes worst. If we look at life with eyes that see the potential for things to get better - and hope that better becomes wonderful and wonderful becomes unimaginably magnificent - worse becomes a little easier to bear. 

Life is good, my friends. Even when I'm in a bad mood. 



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