tonight’s gonna be a good, good night

I gotta feeling

That tonight’s gonna be a good night

Have you ever encountered a song and found that the timing could not be more perfect? Earlier this evening  when The Black-Eyed Peas came on the radio I thought, How ridiculously inappropriate.

A good night? It certainly wasn’t starting out that way. An hour earlier I had left work. As I drove, I looked forward to getting home and staying there. It had been hectic at work all week, and I had been feeling equally rushed each evening at home.

On Monday afternoon, it was Philip’s four-year wellness check. I left work early that day to race home and take Philip to the pediatrician. It didn’t take a doctor to know that Philip was unwell. His cold had evolved into a sinus infection. He (and his father) had no patience for all of the routine questions and checks. My efforts at prepping Philip for this appointment had no apparent effect on his anxiety levels. He sniffled and coughed and cried. He kept leading me to the door to let me know he wanted to go home. Philip’s obvious misery combined with the reminders that Philip is still behind developmentally left me in tears, too. Peter sat in the corner become angrier the longer we had to wait. He had more time to steam as he waited at the pharmacy for Philip’s antibiotics. It was well into evening by the time we got home.

Tuesday night was marginally better. Peter’s friend is out of town for the month, so we are checking on his house and taking care of his cat. This wouldn’t be so bad if the friend didn’t live an hour away from us. However, Peter has known this man for most of his life and owes a lot to him. So, twice a year, we help him out while he goes on vacation.

In the spring, we realized it was more “convenient” for me to drive to our friend’s house from work instead of Peter making the round trip. That’s why I drove there on Tuesday to change the litter box, pick up the mail and feed the birds. An hour later I was headed south when Peter called me to pick up an order at Walmart on my way home. I stopped there to retrieve the early Christmas present we had ordered for my father. Two hours after departing work, I’m walking into the house. My phone rings, and it is my mom. My parents had just returned from vacation. Peter decides we are going to deliver the present RIGHT NOW. Without a chance to sit down, I’m back in the car going to my parents’. By the time we got home, it was time for Philip’s bath.

Wednesday comes around, and all the crazies come out at work. I was grouchy all day. I came home to find Philip asleep. I fixed supper and did my best to rouse him, knowing if he was napping now he would probably not fall asleep until late. I got Philip awake, fed all the boys and then headed to the grocery store with Philip. First, however, we had to go to Walmart and pick up my driver’s license that I had left at the store the night before. Sigh.

Shopping wasn’t bad, but the evening evolved much as I expected. Philip was wide awake until late. I was feeling optimistic, however, when I was able to put him in bed and get myself in bed, too. For most nights for the past month since Philip got sick, Philip has been sleeping on the couch and I’ve been trying to sleep in the recliner.

An hour after putting him to bed, Philip awoke coughing. I could hear the thick mucus that was making him snuffle, cough and gag.

It is now Thursday evening. I get home from work. I make it as far as the laundry room when the door into the house opens. Roscoe is barking and Philip is crying. The dog wants to go outside. I assumed that the loud barking had made Philip cry.

“He got upset because he couldn’t open the door,” Peter tells me.

Philip heads to the back door, obviously just as eager as Roscoe to go outside. I tell him to put on his shoes, and he sits down and picks up a sneaker. I help him put on his shoes and then struggle to put on a happily wriggling dog’s harness. I realize that, in my eagerness to get home, I may have made a mistake not stopping at the restroom before leaving work. There is no way that dog or toddler is going to wait for me to go now.

I go outside with the boys and head for the sidewalk. Philip pulls me to the car. He reaches for the handle.

“Come on,” I urge. “Let’s walk Roscoe.”

I start to head to the driveway, put Philip resists, pulling me back to the car and starting to cry again.

After two failed attempts to go on a walk, I ask Peter to get my car keys. Philip cannot be dissuaded from going in the car. Roscoe is game. He’s happy that he isn’t being left at home. That’s why I’m in the car listening to the Black Eyed Peas.

I have no idea where Philip wants to go in the car, but I purposely avoid going on the route to school. I plot out a short loop. Against all my hopes, here I am in the car once more, not at home relaxing.

After my initial reaction to the song, I find myself bopping my head to the beat. Soon, I’m singing along.

I look in the rearview mirror. Philip stopped crying as soon as I let him get in the car.

He is smiling as I turn up the radio. He is moving to the beat of the music, too. He doesn’t seem to mind that I don’t really know all the words but feel compelled to sing along anyway.

I’ve forgotten my irritation. I’ve forgotten that I needed to pee. I’m caught up in the rhythm and spirit of the song.

I realize that tonight could be a good night. If I continue to be a grouch, I’m sure I’ll find many reasons to be grouchy. Instead, I can choose to embrace the message of the song as an anthem, a mantra, as self-fulfilling prophecy.

So I planned on having a good evening.

When we got home, Philip was ready to walk the dog. Both dog and boy enjoyed our stroll, and I appreciated the chance to stretch my legs.

We ate supper together, and I was pleased to see that Philip ate scrambled eggs with a fork, ate an entire piece of toast and still had room for bacon. After supper, Philip colored on his easel, creating a fascinating array of designs. He went to his bath without complaint and took his medicine without spitting it out. We’ve played and read together. These are all good things that contribute to a good night.

I gotta feeling

That tonight’s gonna be a good night

I can’t wait.

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