Do you guys ever feel like nothing’s going your way? Like no matter what you do, life has something much less enjoyable in store for you?
I’ve kinda been in that slump for a few months. I can’t really explain it, but it sure has felt like it’s just one thing after another after another — starting with getting T-boned on Christmas Day on our way to a family celebration. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Not that you necessarily want to hear about all the “drama,” but I’m sharing it here to get it out of the way — and get it out of my head. Warning: it’s long — turns out I had a lot to say on the matter.
And, let me just put this disclaimer on all of this (I know what some of you are thinking): in the grand scheme of life, what follows is nothing — minuscule — small potatoes — a passing unlucky streak. I know how good we have it. I understand that so many people have it “worse” than we do. But, for this stage in our life, it’s been hard. And stressful. And I’m not complaining, not in the least. I’m just telling this chapter of our story. Because it’s been bumpy and this blog (abandoned though it may seem) has been my way of processing my life. And I need to do some processing right now.
After the accident, we were without our van for three-ish weeks — thankfully we had access to transportation from our Village. That accident seemed to have set off a series of unfortunate events. Shortly after that, Piper got sprayed by a skunk and brought the fresh spray into our house, resulting in us needing to have our house professionally fumigated and carpets cleaned. Thankfully it wasn’t the entire house, and we were able to get it taken care of fairly quickly. Shortly thereafter we heard a little critter (or two??) running around in our walls at night and had to call in an exterminator. Thankfully, they were able to remove the little devil, and we haven’t heard any tiny footsteps since. That same week, we lost power in a bad cold spell that swept through the area — practically icing the entire city over and taking out power to thousands upon thousands. We were out of our house for two days and one night. We lost the entire contents of our fridge, but thankfully it wasn’t worse than that: our freezer kept things frozen for the two days we were without power, our pipes didn’t freeze, and our power (heat!) came back on in two days instead of the estimated five. Because of all of the storms and ice and cold, preschool and daycare we canceled numerous times, making getting to work regularly really difficult. Thankfully, we were able to trade days off work and find people to come over and watch the kids so I could work from home a bit.
And the pièce de résistance: in the middle of all of this, Mr. B was fired from his job quite unexpectedly. It’s a shock when you’re not prepared for it emotionally or financially — when control is taken out of your hands. Thankfully, we have an amazing support system and people who held us up as Mr. B searched for another job and we tried to keep things as normal as possible for our little family. Also thankfully, Mr. B found another job pretty quickly and is now employed as a barista — step one on his way to learn the coffee business from the inside out. And, even more thankfully, he’s finally on his way to a career path than can be more soul-filling.
Here it is March 3, and we’re finally feeling like we can breathe again and that the light is starting to shine. (Could it be that spring is finally on its way?!) This hasn’t been an easy chapter in our story, and at times, it wasn’t pretty. There have been arguments and uncertainty and rethinking goals we had set for ourselves for this year — both individually and as a family. At times, tempers were short and tears fell (mostly mine).
But, honestly, two things helped keep us grounded in reality through it all: Dorothy and Hobbes.
Were we happy about the situation we were in? No. Were we a bit stressed out and anxious about how we were going to manage everything? Yes. (Also mostly me.) Did we want to keep things as “normal” as possible for the kids? Yes. So we did what we had to do and kept moving forward. We tried our best to keep the stress and anxiety we were feeling between the two of us — though, we’re not perfect. And we tried our best to remind each other about our Big Picture.
Dorothy is very excited about her dad now working in a coffee shop, and she points out every Starbucks we pass and asks if that’s her dad’s new coffee shop. And Hobbes is happy that his dad still gets to drop him at daycare every morning and pick him up afterward every afternoon.
Another thing that I know helped me through all of this was my gratitude journal. On Jan. 1 I started recording one thing in my planner that I was grateful for each day. Focusing on the good things helped me recenter and re-align my thoughts. Through all of this … chaos, I did find something every single day that filled my heart with gratitude:
- having access to a babysitter so we could go the the laundromat and wash every item of clothing, bedding and towels we owned to de-skunkify them
- not taking the time to clean out our freezer all those times I said I should, so it was full to the brim and more protected when the power went out
- finding out we had a free sub when we checked out at the restaurant one day when we were debating how we were going to pay for dinner but just needing to get out of the house for our sanity
- being surrounded by so many people who love us and step in to help — whether we ask or they just know
I have something similar for every single day this year, and it has helped me keep myself focused on what really matters — even when it felt like things were somewhat coming apart at the seams around me.
Full disclosure: it was not all “I’m so grateful” and “using this to make a positive change in our lives” and “it could be worse” and “#blessed” … just ask my mom, who was the recipient sobbing, stressed-out phone calls on my way to work a few times.