You found my mistake.
I’ve saved all of yours as well.
Locked up tight (like me).
Currently playing in the soundtrack of my mind: Pictures of You by The Cure.
It’s always good to be home, but I hadn’t been home for 24 hours before it happened. The weatherman said there was a possibility we were going to get up to two inches of snow. That’s all it took for widespread panic to break out. Nevermind that the weatherman is rarely correct and we usually pay no attention to what he predicts. If snow is even a remote possibility then you can bet everyone around here is going to take action immediately. While I knew this (I’ve been here for a few years, after all) we had such a mild winter last year that I had forgotten just how much everyone tends to lose their freaking minds at the thought of possible snowfall.
Mr.Kitt-en called me on his way home around 6:30pm. He said he was having a hard time getting home because all of the gas stations had lines that were so long they were spilling out into the road and in those places there was only one lane of traffic actually moving. At this point, nothing had even been cancelled – we just had the always (un)dependable weatherman telling us there might possibly be a little snow the next day. Unsurprisingly, by 8:00pm the local television stations were doing a constant scroll across the bottom of the screen of every school that would be closed the following day. They could have saved a lot of time and scrolling by simply posting “Every school within 200 miles of this area is going to be closed tomorrow.” It was 58 degrees and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky at this point, but on the off-chance that one might blow in during the night carrying with it a wintery blanket (okay, a mere dusting) of snow, we were not going to take any chances. Texts started circulating between friends, teachers, parents, and neighborhood HOA’s. There were frantic posts on FB warning everyone to prepare to be stuck inside for days. I’m pretty sure every faucet in every house and building in this area was dripping water. The fear of frozen pipes rivals that of tornado warnings. I heard from several friends that by 9:30 that night there wasn’t a single loaf of bread or gallon of milk on the shelves at any local grocery stores. Happy to know I shouldn’t waste my time, I just decided I’d wait until the next day and then go pick up a few things at the store if I found I needed them. We have 4 wheel drive, so I wasn’t concerned about getting around in 2 inches of snow. I’ll admit that I have some mild regret about that choice knowing what I know now, which is that it doesn’t matter if I’m comfortable driving in the snow because nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, is going to be open in the event that one flake has fallen from the sky. Stores, gas stations, medical and dental offices, fast food restaurants, and every other establishment you can find in this town were not open for business. When my husband got to work the next morning instead of arriving to 120-130 employees as he usually does, he found 12 people there. Twelve. Knowing nothing much could be accomplished with 12 people doing the work of 120, he decided to close it down and let all 12 of them go home. If you’re wondering how much snow we ended up getting, brace yourselves. Total snowfall was about 3/4 of an inch.
But here’s the great part about getting snow (even 3/4 of an inch) in the South. Not a bit of it is wasted. Every kid on the street was outside playing in the snow as if it were a winter wonderland. Nevermind not one of them owned proper snow gear. They put on 2-4 layers of clothes and socks, slid on their rainboots, and headed outside. There was running and jumping, snowball making, snowbaby making (you can’t make a snowman with 3/4 an inch of snow on the ground, so the kids all make what they call “snowbabies” – little miniature snowmen). There was sledding. The kids played outside for hours and then all came to my house for hot chocolate. They were giddy with excitement at all the fun they were having outside even after hours of playing. The next day was Saturday and despite the fact that the very small amount of packed down slush-snow had turned into slushy ice, the kids bundled up again and ran wild, completely unwilling to admit there wasn’t enough snow left to amount to much. They played outside again for hours. The day after that, there was barely anything visibly white remaining, so the kids all decided to sled down the remnants of the tall “mountain” they had been sledding down for the previous two days. It was pure mud at this point, but seeing the joy on their faces outweighed the impending inconveniences all of the exasperated parents would soon face. We all knew a huge load of very wet and muddy clothes would need to be laundered the minute the kids came inside and following that every floor in the house would need to be mopped. I didn’t see a text or hear one single complaint. It was kind of magical seeing all of the kids on the street playing outside.
I could get used to this, which is good. I just turned on the news in time to hear the weatherman say there’s an 80% chance we’ll get 2-3 inches of snow overnight. I guess I’ll settle in with some hot chocolate and wait for the school closings to start scrolling across the screen again.
Having snow much fun,
Currently playing in the soundtrack of my mind: Let It Snow! by Dean Martin, of course.
It’s been seven months since my world was turned upside down and violently shaken by a most unexpected source – someone I considered a close friend at the time. As I sit here now trying to summarize my feelings and emotions at this point the word that most immediately comes to mind is serenity. Calm. Peaceful. Untroubled. Content. That’s where I find myself today.
My memories of Schmoopy are becoming blurred. I think I’m finally so used to being disconnected from him that it feels almost normal to know that the separation is permanent. The feelings of heartbreak turned to regret and then to sadness. I was stuck in that sadness for a long time before crawling out of it and acclimating myself to a life where he just no longer existed. As I think back over the past 7 months it seems like it took longer than I thought it should to feel okay again. I realize that’s a subjective statement as there’s no real timeline one should follow in the aftermath of a heartbreaking, life-changing event. As I reflect on the harrowing process of healing from where I am today, I wanted to force myself to really think about the things I learned. After all, that’s all that remains – what I’ve learned. And boy, have I. So in no particular order, below are just 3 of the countless things I’ve learned over the past 7 months.
I’ve learned that I don’t need Schmoopy. The truth is that I never needed Schmoopy regardless of how much I thought I did at the time. My life and heart were overflowing with real and deep friendships before Schmoopy came into my life, but as I was struggling with sickness and a lack of enthusiasm about where we lived and the regular presence of beloved friends, I unknowingly began to retreat from these friendships. I had allowed the fear of being a burden to my friends to close myself off. I felt like I never had anything exciting or happy to share with them, so I just avoided them. I’d keep in touch with the occasional text, but I tried to keep those closest to me at arm’s length because I didn’t want to bring them down, and I didn’t want them to bear any of the weight of my burdens. This was exacerbated by the knowledge that my problems weren’t major things. I was sad, lonely, anxious, unsettled, tired, and sick. So what? Half of the people I probably pass in the produce section of our local grocery store have far more serious problems. I knew my life was filled with undeserved blessings – a loving, adoring husband, 2 healthy girls, a beautiful home filled with love – so I felt I had no right to complain. Because of these things I felt like I needed to keep my feelings and pain to myself. I was wrong, but that’s a story for another day.
Enter Schmoopy. Somehow I mistook our easy conversations and chemistry for a real friendship. It had been so many months since I had let my guard completely down and shared my innermost thoughts and feelings without the fear of burdening or being judged. In those two important areas, he felt like a safe landing spot. He seemed genuine, caring, concerned, and interested in my life. So I let it out. All of it. I shouldn’t have, but that, too, is something to go into detail about another day.
I learned that the physical presence of a brand new friendship is more important than I thought it was. What I mean is that when it’s just words on a screen or on the phone it’s much easier to shape what we say and mold the way we present ourselves to others. It’s also extremely easy to misinterpret words on a screen or on the phone because you can’t see the expressions or mannerisms the other person is displaying. But this is complicated because conversely, the opposite is also true. When we aren’t face to face with each other it’s much easier to let our inhibitions down and develop friendships that are really deep more quickly than we probably would if we were face to face. The point is, virtual relationships of any kind are at risk for being destroyed due to all of the factors listed above. Proceed with caution. Or do like I have done and vow to never make a new friend again. Kidding (sort of).
I learned that when you’re spending time (whether online or in person) with someone who you find interesting, charming, and attractive, developing feelings is a real possibility. Even if you’re happy and fulfilled in your current relationship. This seems blatantly obvious as I’m typing it, but the intensity and genuine affection I felt for Schmoopy was a completely unexpected side effect of our friendship. Thinking I was immune to that possibility was naive and pretty freaking stupid. Red flag, people. Turn and run.
Seven months later, I’m still grateful for the time we shared . The way he betrayed me and spoke to me in the end was brutal and it ravished my soul, but in the wake of the tidal wave of destruction that crashed down on me, I’ve grown. I’ve learned. And most importantly, I’m still able to see myself as the cool, confident, strong, empowered chick that I always have been. Sometimes life is tough. So am I. I’ll always care, Rob Szczesny. I’m here if you ever need me.
Currently playing in the soundtrack of my mind: 7 by Prince, which happened to be my favorite song for the entirety of my sophomore year of high school. My bestie and I would jump in her gorgeous candy apple red Toyota MR2 (it was a ’91….they were so beautiful back then) or her daddy’s Porsche convertible and go riding around town with that song blasting on repeat. Ahhh….fun memories. It’s been at least a decade since I’ve even heard it, but I still know every word. I’m going to go download it right now.
I’ll be taking a brief time out. I’m taking off on an adventure tomorrow morning so I’ll be unplugged for the next week. But before I go I feel compelled to share some wonderful things that I’ve already discovered in 2018:
While I may be a little behind on all of these discoveries (as not a single one of them are new in any way), they’ve brought joy unspeakable in 2018. This is only day 5, too. I hope this trend of discovering pleasant surprises continues. It’s the little things, my friends.
Be back soon,
Currently playing in the soundtrack of my mind: Vacation by the Go-Go’s. Because it’s always a good time for one of those.
I love and adore my children. So much. I’m so thankful for them. However, at nearly 10 years into this parenting gig I still haven’t quite figured out the art of getting a child to just get in bed and go to sleep. I was a champ for the first 3 years. I followed every letter and line given in the Babywise book and both of my girls were good at napping and sleeping through the night for over 3 years. Somewhere around age 4 though, something changed. I was not physically or emotionally prepared in any way for the way bedtime would go for years to come.
Before I had children I remember hearing my mom friends bond over stories of the struggles they experienced at nighttime. I laughed with them. I felt genuinely bad for them because I love my sleep so much, but at the same time I’ll admit I did kind of wonder why it was such a big deal. I mean, you put your child to bed, you tell them not to get up. If they get up you put them back to bed. Maybe you do that once or twice, but so what? No biggie.
If only it was that easy. And maybe for the majority of people out there it is easy, but here in the Kitt-en house it’s quite an ordeal. It’s like the minute we tell them it’s time to get ready for bed they morph into incredibly motivated individuals (a behavior they don’t display until after 7:30pm – ever). Their determination is unmatched when it comes to refusing to get in bed and go to sleep. They use all of the common excuses – need water, need to go to the bathroom, just remembered something they need for school the next day, they want to discuss the meaning of life or worse, they want to know where babies come out of a mommy’s body…you name it, we’ve heard it. I didn’t think there was anything they could do to make me dread bedtime any more than I already do. I was wrong.
True to form, the kids reminded me last night that things could always be worse. At 2:50a.m. Mr.Kitt-en and I were startled out of REM sleep by our two girls running into our room both screaming at the top of their lungs to try to be the first to tell us what had happened. I can’t put into words how disorienting and unimaginably frightening this was. It struck fear in my heart in a way I have experienced only a handful of times in my life. The reason for the screeching and yelling was because they were in a fight. No joke. They were in a fight at 2:50a.m. How is that even possible? When I looked in on them at 11:45 when I went to bed they looked like little angels sleeping sweetly in their gigantic bed together. Apparently the little one woke up and needed to go to the bathroom but she’d had a bad dream and didn’t want to go alone so she woke her sister up and asked her to go with her. Big sister refused. Little sister cried. Big sister shoved little sister with her foot and told her to be quiet. It escalated from there. There were loud allegations flying all across my room as I tried to quiet them down and get the arguing to stop. Fifteen minutes later we had the girls back in bed and they were quiet, but the damage had been done. My mind refused to get out of fight-or-flight mode and I laid awake in bed for an hour before finally falling back to sleep for a few hours.
I didn’t realize how good I had it. I used to only have to pump myself up to prepare for the energy to get through two hours of torturous complaining, occasional crying, neediness, nagging, and 4-6 toilet flushes. They took it to a whole new level last night. And now, I’m writing this because it seems more productive than laying in bed wondering if I’m going to be woken up that way again. It’s not even about the fact that it’s annoying (and it is), it’s about the fact that I think I may have PTSD over the shocking wake up we experienced last night. Mr.Kitt-en doesn’t seem to have the same anxiety that I do. He’s sleeping peacefully beside me. I hope this isn’t going to last long. I already have enough trouble sleeping. The added fear of being loudly surprised by screams isn’t going to help with my insomnia. I’m still learning that I should always expect the unexpected when it comes to parenting. Even in my mild frustration about what took place, I know that one day I’m going to miss all the hellish drama that surrounded getting two little humans to sleep. I’ll miss kissing them goodnight, praying with them, blessing them, and even listening to them whisper long after we tell them to be quiet (which secretly, I love). I love that they get sister time to just bond at bedtime. I do not love middle of the night fights. I really hope that was just a one-off.
Ahhh, the Ambien is kicking in which means it’s time for me to stop typing and allow it to carry me right into dreamland. Please, God….give us all a good night of rest. I’m one tired mommy after this crazy week.
Currently playing in the soundtrack of my mind: Mr.Roboto by Styx. Probably because one of my littles walked through the living room this evening saying “I. Am. A. Robot” over and over again as she did her best robot impression. Since then it’s just Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto…Must. Disassemble. Immediately.