Later today I will be flying to England to begin a month’s visit, planned to coincide with the birth of my second grandchild. The thinking processes involved in deciding which flights to book reminded me of the unpredictability of Life, and about how ‘planning’ for the future amounts to very little more than making a best guess.
In 2009, I booked a ten day visit to Derby, in the hope of Being There when my grand-daughter was born. She actually arrived the day before I was due to fly back, so I had spent eight days of my visit wishing for her to hurry up and Be Born! This time I initially planned a three week trip, with two thirds of it after the baby’s due date, at the suggestion of my daughter who thought it would be better for me to be there for longer after the birth. But then, at her second scan, she discovered that this baby was getting a bit big for his chronological boots, and after yet another scan in December, the consultant had very kindly told her to “feel free to drop it any time”.
So I decided to make good use of Ryanair’s tendency to have random cheap flights available for only a few days at a time, and I checked the site daily until a 12 euro flight appeared at a suitably early-but-not-too-early time. Then I booked it, knowing that, with two possible dates for outbound travel, I had options that I could balance between whatever events the Universe conspired to unravel in Derby or Saint-Sornin around those times.
So, up until today, I have been wishing for the baby not to Be Born Just Yet. And I am still rather hoping that he doesn’t decide to make his appearance within the next eleven hours – not least because his daddy is supposed to be picking me up from the airport tonight at 8:30. But after that, he can come just as soon as he likes.
Of course, if it turns out that he has a temperamental tendency toward contrariness (and his father’s time-keeping preferences) he may very well decide to confound all professional and intuitional expectations and Be Very Late instead, which would be just a little bit annoying, and might possibly colour his Granny’s judgement of his personal qualities for a good few years to come. But for the moment I am sincerely hoping that I, for one, have Timed Things Right.
Still, the Universe will do what the Universe will do, and all we can ever hope is that our Best Guess about what that might turn out to be isn’t totally off the wall. And wouldn’t Life just be So Boring if we always guessed right?