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Lessons to Live By: A Not-So-Cheesy Story

Hi and thanks for stopping by! I can’t believe how fast this school year is flying by. Before we know it, it’ll be springtime. Yay! They say time flies when you’re having fun. But what happens to time when you’re not having fun? Like when you’re bummed out that something you were looking forward to falls through.

Grownups have a saying that when things don’t go as planned, you should keep in mind that everything happens for a reason.

If you’re like me, when things don’t go the way you’d hoped, disappointment can be hard to accept. Who cares what the reason is?!

But as awful as things may seem, eventually you have to accept the situation, then pick yourself up and move on. That’s the lesson I recently learned in a very unpleasant way.

Here’s what happened…

History in the “baking”

At our school, we are lucky to go on a few field trips each year. Some of the field trips are better than others. Take second grade, for example. Our class went to a farm where we learned about how to make apple cider—and we got to sample what we’d made (very yummy). In third grade, however, it was a different story. We visited a boring museum to learn about city planning. Just about everyone in my group fell asleep (my apologies to any urban planners who are reading this blog).

This year, our teacher announced a special field trip. We’d be going to a place that does cooking instruction for kids and grownups.

As you can imagine were all really excited to go. First off, we would be leaving school in the middle of the day. But even more amazing was that we were going to learn about the science of pizza-making. Then, we’d get to make our own pizza!

Field trips at my school don’t get any cooler than that. (Although I guess it would be “hotter than that” because you cook pizza with an oven.)

We’d all been counting the days ever since Ms. M., our teacher, told us the date of the field trip. Perhaps me most of all because I love both science and l love pizza. Putting the two together sounds like a match made in pizza heaven.

Washful thinking

On Tuesday afternoon, the day before our field trip, I studied for the math quiz that we’d be having on Thursday. This was all part of my grand perfect pizza plan—just in case I’d be too exhausted after the field trip. (As you may remember, I’ve learned my lesson about leaving things until the last minute.) 

After I finished studying, I picked out my “field trip outfit.” OK, I know that’s not a thing, but I wanted to feel special for the day. I wanted everything to go according to my perfect pizza plan. As I looked through my closet, I tried to think of what would be ideal for pizza-making.

Nothing with white or any light colors, of course. Pizza-making could get messy. Tomato sauce, according to my mother, is one of the hardest stains to get out. I settled on a grey sweatshirt and black leggings. That way, if I got sauce on me, it would be harder to tell.

“You make pizza with flour, you know. What if you get flour on you?” my big sister, Jill, asked as she walked by my room. 

“I’ll just have to be careful.” Before we could get into a larger discussion about stain hazards, my mom called us and said it was time for dinner.

The field trip was all I could talk about. No, I didn’t talk with my mouth full, in case you are wondering. Anyway, I ate my baked salmon and vegetables without any complaining.

After dinner, though, I felt a little sick. Perhaps I shouldn’t have had that extra scoop of chocolate ice cream? I also felt a little warm, but it was a cold day. Maybe someone had turned the heat up in our house? 

My stomach felt like it was in knots when I went to bed. I figured that I was just excited for the field trip. That’s probably things seemed a little out of whack. Feeling off was not going to get in the way of my perfect pizza plan for tomorrow’s field trip. 

Boy, was I wrong.

Tummy troubles

A few hours after I fell asleep, I woke up feeling horrible. Like throw up horrible. Not to get too detailed, but let’s just say that my salmon from dinner returned, this time in a garbage can. 

I woke up my mother to tell her that I was sick. Even though she was half asleep, she quickly realized that I had a fever.

“I think you might have a stomach virus, Noodle.” If my stomach wasn’t doing jumping jacks, I would’ve noticed that my heart sank. Getting sick wasn’t part of my perfect pizza plan.

There would be no field trip for me tomorrow.

I’ll spare you the details of what happened for the rest of the night, but let’s just say it was one of the worst nights of my life. Knowing I wasn’t going on the field trip was the least of my problems.

Bad news, any way you slice it

When I woke up the next morning, I felt whatever is worse than awful. I nearly cried when I sent a message to Ms. M. and my other teachers telling them that I was going to be out sick. Even the school nurse wrote back wishing me a speedy recovery. This was definitely not part of my perfect pizza plan!

My parents felt terrible for me. My mom bought me special drinks that I don’t normally get—just so I would stay hydrated. I wish I could’ve enjoyed them more. I couldn’t even look at the plain crackers she bought. In addition to feeling miserable due to my stomach bug, I also felt miserable about how my perfect pizza plan got so messed up. 

What was supposed to be the best day of the school year had quickly turned into the worst day.

When I wasn’t busy being sick (or sleeping), I wondered how everyone was enjoying the field trip. I tried not to think about the pizza, though, because any mention of food made me feel awful. I wouldn’t wish the stomach flu on anybody.

In desperate “knead” of “pizza” mind

Once school was over, the phone rang almost instantly. Several friends called to check in on me. The first was my best friend, Jeffrey.

“Honestly, the pizza-making was just OK. They told us we couldn’t make the dough because it would take too long to rise. So, we didn’t get to do much other than put toppings on.” Good old Jeffrey. He knew exactly how to make me feel like I didn’t miss out on the best field trip ever.

Maybe I just missed out on a so-so- field trip.

Knowing how disappointed I was about the field trip, my mother promised to make pizza with me—including the dough—when I was feeling better. I guess that was sort of a silver lining from my busted perfect pizza plan.

Lost its pizza-zaz

Sadly, I wasn’t feeling 100% by bedtime. That meant I’d be stuck at home for another day. It also meant that I’d miss my math quiz. My teacher, Mr. B., told me not to worry; I could just take the quiz when I came back.

After that horrendous first day of being super sick, I was glad that I could use the second day to recover. I tried not to think about all the schoolwork I’d have to catch up on.

I watched two movies and lay on the couch for most of the day. It’s a shame that you can’t appreciate a lazy day when you’re not feeling well. But by late afternoon, I was finally starting to feel better.

When I went back to school on Friday, I felt like I’d been gone forever. Two days is a long time in middle school! By then, everyone had forgotten all about Wednesday’s pizza-making field trip. (I also got word that the math quiz was hard, but not too hard. That seemed secondary to my missing the field trip, though.)

The importance of being “cheesy”-going

Sure pizza-making with my class would’ve been fun, but life goes on. There are plenty of other enjoyable things I’ll get to experience with my friends. (At least I hope there will be!)

From this getting-sick experience, I learned a healthy lesson: when things don’t go as planned, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just the end of the plan.

So, if things don’t go the way you’d hoped, my advice is to rewrite your plan. Put the situation in perspective and keep moving forward.

As for me, pizza isn’t going away anytime soon. I’m sure there will be many slices of cheese pizza in my future. And in other exciting news, my mom and I will be making a whole pizza from scratch this weekend. Well, it’ll actually be from dough, but you know what I mean. Maybe I can even invite some friends over to do a taste test. See? Not a bad revision to the perfect pizza plan. 

Until next time, be your best you!

Have you ever planned for something, and it didn’t work out? What did you do? Please share your stories with me in the comments section.

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