The most important thing I’m learning as a new parent is flexibility. Flexibility is the key to sanity, to happiness, to dealing with a sick kid three thousand miles from home. If not for flexibility, finding out that a doctor recommends a week’s delay on a flight home for the sake of your baby might be an overwhelming change in plans. Especially when the library emails to let you know there are overdue books you definitely thought you returned before leaving a week before…and the HOA needs your fire extinguisher for testing…and at least two people need responses on the materials they sent in for your next book…and the Stitchfix delivery you thought you cancelled has arrived and requires your next door neighbor to shoot a fashion show of herself then text it because everything in the box has to be returned within seventy-two hours.
Flexibility is what’s required when what was supposed to be a relaxing family visit turns into a blur of antibiotics and, because life is not always fair, two new painful teeth. It’s mostly sleepless nights and groggy days, persistent fevers, snowstorms, barking beagles who choose nap time every day for their enthusiastic denial of the postal service’s legitimate right to deliver mail at the front door. It’s gratitude for extra hands and stolen coffee breaks with old friends. Flexibility is tired, hopeful, fragile adjustments to a previously taken for granted equilibrium.
And in the midst of the excrement hitting the fan, I had a desperate desire to read this cozy mystery I bought for ninety-nine cents on BookBub months ago. It wasn’t the sharpest novel, but it was fun and fresh. It was a summer breeze during a decidedly icy week in spring and something to look forward to when I could feel rigidity creeping down my spine.
A murder mystery on a quirky island in the middle of a lake in Michigan? A protagonist who can’t keep herself out of trouble (or poison ivy)? A town overrun by fudge shops and rental bicycles? It was an antidote the hospital couldn’t provide for a run-down mama in need of rejuvenation (and cake. I was desperately in need of more cake than I got, which was none). And sure, I had some quibbles with the story, but at the end of it, I was happy to order the next one for a buck if it meant I had something to curl up with for half an hour at the end of a long day of pretzel twisting parental gymnastics…