Let Me Put These Emotions in a Glass Box

Yesterday I got an email from our principal at one of our schools, detailing how we can pick up my son’s items from his locker as well as an end of the year “graduation” of sorts before he goes to high school. I read all the details and got inherently sad that his last memories of the school will be from our car window. There will be no trips, no signing of the yearbooks, no ceremonies, no kudos for a job done remarkably well. When I emailed to get some information today, the principal was notably bummed and said as much. You can tell how much our teachers and staff loved these kids, and how they wanted better. It brought me to tears. Then again, it’s been a whirlwind of emotions the past few months.

I keep reminding myself it’s all a blip in time. One day I may have great grandchildren who will read stories about what’s happened this year and they will wonder what it was all like. While for many it feels like it’s been ages since we were doing “normal” things, it’s only been a couple of months. For me it’s been an interesting experience. Someone posted a meme online that asked how many people felt that while 2020 has been rough, it hasn’t been their worst of years, and that thought resonated deeply with me. 2020 has been, for me, while a bit challenging, not terrible. If you’ve followed along on here for a while, you know I love a silver lining. There are many.

While I am saddened by missing people, by loss of activities, and some other realizations about what I will and will not tolerate (and how that will impact some things), I’m actually doing pretty good. Granted, I’m fortunate. My family is healthy and safe. While we lost half an income, I’ve still been able to work. I’ve been blessed by timing this year. Lots of timing that fell into place that allowed us to be ok. Not everyone is doing so well. My neighbor has lost two people to the virus, many people are financially struggling, and the whole thing has been pretty unsettling. That being said, I think it’s important to see the good within the bad, take stock of what IS going ok, and to be grateful.

I am loving having the four of us home as a family. We’ve never had this much time together, and I’m loving it. I am loving being productive at home. The house, as always, is chaotic, but we’re tackling some of the big jobs we’ve been wanting to do for years, so I’m ok with a bit of mess while those are worked on. I’m tackling some bucket list items. I’m working on getting into a better headspace. I’m separating myself from other people’s issues and misery. I think there will be some upheaval coming down the pike, but I’m ok with that. I’m enjoying the simpler life that isn’t filled with a jam packed calendar I have to manage. I’m hopeful to keep that mindset and to cut back on my obligations.

There are happy days, and sad days, but mostly happy ones. What I’ve realized is that with my calmer mindset and a little elbow grease, things are falling into place, and it feels amazing.

To be honest, as I look back, I realize I was constantly carrying a level of stress on my shoulders. Trying to be everything I needed to be for everyone, or at least what I thought I needed to be. I tried to go along to get along. I let people treat me as “less than”. I took the brunt of everything on my shoulders and tried to make miracles happen. The past few months have shown me a lot. I’m no longer interested in any of it, and it’s a freeing feeling. I have what matters, what is needed, and a lot of wants too. I couldn’t ask for better.

Silent Frustration, or When You Need to Vent.

The other day I saw a Facebook friend comment on how people she had thought she was very close with had pretty much ghosted her since the COVID-19 stay at home decision was made. Her hurt was palpable. A relative of hers commented, apologizing for not reaching out but mentioning she was having her own crisis and was struggling. I reached out to check in and she responded her husband was diagnosed positive with Covid. While his symptoms weren’t deadly, she was struggling to manage not only working, but also homeschooling two young children, one of whom needed much more help than expected. On top of that, she was balancing doing the shopping, cooking, cleaning, some of which were tasks her husband usually handled. She felt like she was drowning. I started noting that a lot of the social media posts that people were posting that had original started out as lighthearted jokes about struggling had lost their “jokingness”.

As an introvert, it’s never really bothered me to be at home, or on my own. I grew up as an only child and had to find inventive ways to entertain myself. The quiet doesn’t bother me. Even the routine doesn’t bother me. I don’t mind staying home…until you tell me I HAVE to. Even I am starting to get the itch to get outside these four walls. I was taking long walks at the beach, until everyone got the same idea, and now it feels a bit risky. After all, nothing like trying to get fresh air and maintain my distance while some jogger passes by huffing loudly and coughing from mouth breathing. Ugh. I feel like the once refreshing ocean breeze is not taking those huffing jogger breaths and logging them at me at a high rate of speed right into my system. Just the thought has put a big damper on it. We went as a family the other week to walk and hunt for rocks to paint but ended up having to walk down on the sand rather than the boardwalk because it was packed with people.

If you sit back and watch, it’s quite sad and frustrating to see how people behave in times like this. You have the helpers, who offer to do for others to lighten their mental load, and then you have, well, selfish bastards. I understand on some level, the need to protect one’s self and their family, but sometimes people are just selfish and vile. The hoards of store items, the nastiness…it just doesn’t help anyone. I think it’s making those who are struggling struggle even more.

The other thing I’m noticing is the feeling that people are afraid to complain. Sure, there are folks complaining about people going out when they should be decent people and stay at home. There are folks complaining about people being selfish. Social media has plenty of complaints about the external. What you’re not seeing as much of, until you ask, are those people who feeling like they are drowning in all of this. The people who are struggling to hold it together, or feel they are letting their families down. I see a lot of people who are afraid to admit they are getting deeply depressed, or are anxious and panicked about the future. Never mind the fears of actually contracting the virus, and what that means, but also the fears of “how will we manage financially?” “How am I going to work and keep my job while also homeschooling kids?” Even “how am I going to navigate the systems I now need to join?” I see people completely flummoxed at how the loans and unemployment work. The very things that should help people are making them anxious and uncertain.

Yet people are afraid to admit they are struggling.

Things have gotten better here from when we first started. The first week, I was almost in tears trying to manage everything. As someone who is used to managing “most” and being ok with what I can’t, my list of things to manage exploded and my things that I couldn’t manage were scaring the hell out of me. Once my husband was forced to close his business for the time being and was home, I was happy to have the help. He has been aces…helping the kids with school work, doing the store trips, and helping out around the house. As we normally work opposite schedules, he’s not usually home, so it’s been an utter luxury to have him home. There’s been a lot of laughter with him here, and one worry I have thought about is “how will we manage when he goes back to work?” My daughter has been THRILLED to have her dad home and doing things with her more. So have I. I know he worries about not working and carries his own struggles in all of this. He does more than for just our family so he worries about us as well as others. He’s not the type to complain, so of course I worry about him as well. I find I am getting anxious about any of us catching the virus, and what it would mean to us as a family. I worry about family members who are older or high risk, as well as my friends. I worry about keeping things “normal enough” for my kids. I worry about the fact that the politicians aren’t always looking out for the people, and are instead looking out for themselves and their friends. It’s scary stuff. It can feel oppressive.

If you need to vent, and you stumble across this post, please feel free to have a good old fashioned vent in the comments. I think sometimes we need to unload all the things that build up in our heads so that we can begin to more forward again.

Staying In and Staying Sane

Hey folks, just a quick check in to see how things are going. It’s been a somewhat busy week here at the Messy House. I say somewhat because the kids have been cranking out schoolwork, I’ve been insanely busy at work, and the husband has been home tackling a project or two while also keeping the little one entertained. We hustled all last week and then spent the weekend being as lazy as humanly possible…sleeping late, watching TV, and painting some art projects.

Speaking of TV, we started Tiger King.

HOLY SHIT, Y’ALL.

If you haven’t seen it, meaning you’re one of a small group by now, the show is a documentary on Netflix portraying a group of people who own Tiger Zoos in the south. Most have other animals as well, but the focus appears on tigers, leopards, lions, and other big cats. Every person they document is a little insane, and certainly a character, the main one being a guy named Joe Exotic. Now, if any of you told me that after such a good start to 2020 I’d fine myself locked in my house with my family, working, homeschooling, trying to survive a pandemic, all while winding down my evenings watching a gay, gun toting, polygamist tiger zoo owner who does meth and wears sequin shirts, I’d have laughed at the absurdity. Strangely, that’s my life now. While I’m disturbed at how many of these “big cat” parks are run, I have found that the cast of characters and craziness the show reflects has brought a welcome distraction from the stress of the current climate. My husband and I sat with incredulous looks on our faces, laughing throughout the series. Honestly, I was sad when we got to the last episode and have now resulted to watching Joe Exotic’s internet shows for a fix.

I think on the whole, we’re coping ok. While I’m plowing through work, my husband has been tackling some jobs around the house. So this is what it’s like having a husband who is at home a lot! My husband normally works insane hours and we’re pretty much like 2 ships passing each other in the night. I’ve gotten used to handling much of the daily things on my own. Having him home has been really helpful, and has taken a lot of the edge off me because I’ve been so busy with work. I suspect that when things go back to normal and he goes back to work that we’re all going to struggle with it, especially my daughter, who is thoroughly enjoying having her dad around. It also has made me a bit sad for the fact he has sacrificed so much when it comes to our family all these years. I’m happy he’s home for now, and feel relieved to know he is safely here.

Social media is full of the doom and gloom (aside from Tiger King memes, and thank God for those!) and so is the news. It’s also become increasingly obvious that the info you get from certain politicians is not aligning with the news coming out from our medical community. I trust the people who are on the front lines over those in cushy government offices. When you see and hear what our Drs and nurses say, you become inherently aware of just how scary all of this is. What’s maddening is the number of people who just disregard all the guidelines and recommendations. You start to see that the amount of people who are just garbage human beings is higher than you thought, but then you also see the helpers, the ones who bring help and cheer as well.

I had a conversation with several people who all said they are having dreams of being “out of control”, whether it was being unable to steer a runaway car, dreaming of all their teeth falling out, and many others. It shows that our minds are struggling to cope with what’s going on. Rainy days and bad weather doesn’t help when you feel trapped in your house.

As for me, we are participating in little neighborhood silly activities that bring a feeling of solidarity and hope. I’ve found my daughter and I in particular enjoy a somewhat silly activity that was started which is where at 8 pm, many neighbors come out and ring bells for 2 minutes from their front step. Every night you can step out in the fresh air and hear the twinkle of bells around the neighborhood…all neighbors in solidarity reminding each other that while it can feel quite lonely, we’re all here in this together. There’s a family or two across the way who is too far to hear them, so my daughter and I hop in the car to do a “drive by ringing” for the kids at that house. They cheer and ring their bells, and look forward to it every night. Honestly, we do too! We do a quick spin around the neighborhood streets, ringing our bells out the window and waving to everyone. Such a silly thing, but you should see the smiles on everyone’s faces. It’s our routine, it makes us smile, and we all look forward to it.

Tomorrow we have a birthday parade to attend by a little boy’s house where we will hold up hand made signs, cheer, and drive by his house to wish him a happy birthday. Again, a silly, simple act, meant to bring a smile to a little one. I’m happy to do it.

All in all, we’re hanging in there. Staying busy, staying happy, and doing the best we can. I hope you are too.

The Buzz Continues

Thanksgiving weekend is finally over, and I am positively buzzing with energy, which is surprising really, as I may have a bit of a stomach bug. Mentally, I’m in a great space, which also is surprising as I’m once again learning that I need to pay a bit closer attention to actions and less to words. Regardless, I feel like I’m going to come out of all of it just fine.

The weekend started with my daughter and I doing some baking and cooking for the holiday. She’s one of those kids who at the end of the day, really just wants to hang out with the adults she loves. It doesn’t much matter what she is doing, she just wants to help and be involved. She enjoys helping me cook, and I know it will serve her well when she gets older. I didn’t have much desire to learn how to cook when I was her age. Then I moved, my mom passed away, and I really learned how to do most dishes after I got married. My daughter will be ahead of the game. Even my son is learning to cook and happily will make a meal. After we finished, we packed up our goodies and went to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. It was a laid back day full of amazing food and loads of laughter. Occasionally after dinner, a few of us will do a little late night shopping, but this year I had to bail because I had packing to do, as well as some jobs around the house to prep for the weekend.

Friday, the kids and I headed up north to visit my dad, stepmother, and her family. After the married, this became a bi annual tradition. We also get together over the summer as well before the kids go back to school. They have truly become family and it’s always a good time filled with food, wine, and fun. This year the huge group of us went to see Frozen 2, and then topped off the night with a Christmas parade. The little town we were in is really quaint and beautiful, and the crisp air made everything just perfect. We all headed back to the house to allow the kids to run and play (there are 7 in total now) before we had dinner.

It was lovely to see my dad, as I haven’t been able to see him much this year. Even when we met up in the UK for my grandfather’s funeral, it was a busy time for both of us and we didn’t get a ton of time to spend together. This weekend, he seemed much more relaxed than the last time I had seen him and we had some really good conversations. I felt lighter and refreshed after having talked with him. I’m truly lucky to have him. He always has my back and is certainly a calming force.

The weekend trip was filled with great food, delicious wines, and great people. The kids had a great time and got along really well, being silly and joking with each other more than usual. The quiet and peace allowed me to mull over some things.

For starters, I took a little time to pause and mull over some changes that need to be made. My focus is on my little family of four, and my feeling is we need to make choices based on what’s best for us. Not everyone will like it, but I always feel that people who love you want the best for you. I feel the time is coming to start moving and shaking and getting things in a better place than they were. The chips are landing in just such a way that I am excited to finally be able to make some changes to really improve our lives. It’s exciting, and I feel light weights are being lifted. Each small step leads towards an end goal.

After coming home mentally refreshed (although physically not feeling so great), I was able to do a little Christmas shopping. I love Christmas shopping. Well, let me refrain, I love online shopping. The stores kick in my anxiety this time of year. I was able to pick up a few needed items for the husband and kids, which made me feel elated, some of them I am really excited about giving. I’m really trying to budget myself and pace myself out this holiday season. I’ve found that Christmas doesn’t really work well with my procrastinating nature. I’m terrible at pacing myself, and always end up stressed out, trying to tackle a million projects at the last minute. There is always so much to do in December. This year, I’m setting myself a goal to do a few things each day, so that I can spread the work out over a month. I’m already tackling my list, bit by bit, and it’s got me feeling excited for the season rather than stressed out. Again, small changes towards a bigger goal.

Now that I have my mind in a great place, it’s time to start making other changes too. It’s refreshing, and I feel much less stressed with each step I take. I have a good feeling that within the next year, I’m going to feel some big weights lifted off my shoulders. I’m ecstatic. I don’t know what it is about this time of year. It’s cozy and comfy, but it also feels like a hibernation that prepares us for the changing year ahead. I’m hopeful to get a head start on what’s to come. I know I’m mentioning change, and haven’t specified a whole lot of what change will be coming, but I’ll expand upon them as time progresses.

For now, it’s time to circle em up, look after the ones who look after us, and focus on betterment of not only myself, but my little family as well. After all, winter is coming.

Halloween on Halloween, dammit!

Some of my blog posts are sparked by things I see on social media. Let’s be honest, spend some time on social media and you’ll see all the crazies come out to play. Now I have spent significant time clearing crazy out of my personal life, but I must admit I enjoy a certain amount of “people watching” when it comes to the crazy, from a distance, of course, which social media allows you to do.

Now on this week’s episode of crazy watching, we had not one, not two, but TONS of sanctimommies up in arms and ready for action. Why, you ask? Because the weather forecast called for rain on Halloween, and this was simply not acceptable. Their solution? Move the holiday to another day so that their child won’t get dampened by Trick or Treating. Now, this wasn’t a case of “oh boo, it’s raining so I have to find an alternative plan to take my kids trick or treating because I don’t want to walk in the rain. This was a whole MOVEMENT where women called town hall and their representatives to MOVE a holiday for everyone else so their snookums didn’t get damp. Some comments I actually saw: “wet leaves are SLIPPERY!” and “I spent over $60 on my child’s costume!”

Let me preface what I am about to say by saying I am all for a kinder, more inclusive society. I am all for everyone being equal, for accepting differences, and I teach my children as such. Now, that being said, I am concerned that our quests to raise a kinder, gentler group of children mean that we are hovering too much over our kids. In our quest to give our children an easier life than perhaps we had, we are helicopter parenting, trying to remove obstacles, while believing we are being better parents than prior generations, and frankly, I’m not sure that’s the case.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll remember I ventured out to try to be more of a free range parent on certain levels. I had realized at one point, that things I did with great confidence and ease as a child, my kids didn’t/couldn’t do, simply because I’d never given them space too. In my quest to protect them, keep them safe, and be helpful, I was instead keeping them a bit stunted in some areas, where they didn’t have certain skills because they’d never had to learn them. I am a child of the 80’s, and parents back then were very live and let live with their kids. We rode bikes without helmets, car seats were lacking, and we were outside playing all the time until the street lights came on. I’m quite confident there were times my parents weren’t entirely sure where I was all the time, but they rested easy knowing I knew the rules and would be home on time. Ever watch an 80’s movie with your kids and hear their commentary on it? They think some of what we did as kids was completely implausible because they could never do those things now. Of course, when you know better, you do better, and certain things are leaps and bounds safety wise nowadays. But some things, like kids being outside playing all afternoon, and being street smart in the suburbs aren’t quite as common as they used to be. And I think it’s sad.

As a child, my mom and dad taught me to navigate airports, neighborhoods, and spaces. I was encouraged to explore, read the signs, and I learned to get around where I was. I knew who to look for if I got lost or ran into trouble. There was always a loose plan in place. I am so grateful for that push to be independent and responsible for myself. I have grown up feeling confident I can navigate where I need to go, can handle travelling (despite my dislike of flying I am good at getting myself wherever I need to go). They taught me a love of exploring, and the confidence to feel secure while doing so. It was one of the best gifts they ever gave me.

Now we have parents who are afraid their child will step on a wet leaf.

I have to ask myself, what will these children do when they grow up and enter adulthood? Will they call out of work because leaves are slippery?

If you’ve been a reader of this blog a while, you’ll remember that my first foray into letting the kids roam the neighborhood with other kids resulted in my daughter going momentarily missing. She had simply gone down to her friend’s house and gone to play in their back yard. I didn’t know that, however, and panicked when I couldn’t see her. I called the police. You know, I got some snide and nasty comments by some people locally for “losing my daughter”. Folks love to judge, right? But you know who I DIDN’T get a harsh word from? The police officer who came to help me find her. She was found moments after they arrived, and the cop pulled me aside to tell me I had done the right thing. He told me to not let the one bad experience change my mind, and to continue to let my kids play out in the neighborhood with their friends. He told me the police are seeing a trend with all the overbearing parenting that is causing kids to not function as well if their parents aren’t there. “If a parent is late picking up their kid, the kids are melting down and panic stricken.” he said, because they aren’t used to not having the parent right there all the time. He advised that kids don’t have the same street smarts, and aren’t as independent and responsible, which causes them to get into deeper issues as they “follow the group” because that’s all they know. I’m still learning to navigate some of this free range parenting, and I’m finding that there are ways to meet in the middle.

I look around me and see that there are two sides that are vastly opposite. One side, sadly, has parents who simply shouldn’t be parents. They aren’t involved, don’t care to be involved, and frankly, are really just shit parents. Then you have the opposite side, parents who will fill out their teen’s job applications and do follow up calls on their child’s behalf on a job interview. What we are left with from both extremes are non functioning adults.

Now, you may think I’m taking it a bit far, but honestly, some of our youth are going to struggle. The world is often a pretty harsh place. While in many ways it’s getting better, by the same token, people soon grow tired of dealing with entitled, babyish, non functioning adults. When your coworker has their mom call them out sick, or can’t come in because it’s raining…how long is that person going to be employed?

When we have to discuss moving a holiday because it might drizzle, we have a big problem. When kids can’t go outside in the rain for fear of a wet leaf, we have a problem. When people are so determined that their child not get their costume (THAT THEY WILL WEAR ONE DAY, MAYBE 2, OUT OF AN ENTIRE YEAR) wet that they call town hall and demand the day get postponed, I have to question our sanity as a nation. The level of tunnel vision and self entitlement is strong, and kind of frightening.

We need to teach our children that life has challenges, and that they need to problem solve to ride up and overcome those challenges. You know, like….carry an umbrella.

Happily, Halloween was celebrated on Halloween this year. Common sense prevailed, and the weather actually broke to give us a few hours of dry time. We had a house full of people as usual, family and friends coming together to haunt the neighborhood, give out candy, and make the night a little extra special. I always say Halloween is my husband’s holiday in the family, because it might just be his favorite. Yet I too have a deep love for the traditions we’ve started, and the plans we’ve made to go even bigger next year!

Even a little rain won’t dampen our fun!

Grief and ramblings

I’ve sat down many a day and mulled over what to write. I feel a sense of writer’s block and nothing seems to flow as it usually does. I’ve been out of sorts the past few weeks. Death will do that to you. It brings on a flurry of emotions, and I’ll be honest in saying that I usually prefer to keep the physical part of grief to myself. That being said, sometimes when you don’t know what to write, you just have to start someplace, be honest, and see where the old brain takes you.

I realized the other day how grief when you’re a parent is a different ballgame. At least for me it is. I have so many responsibilities that there simply isn’t time for me to have a meltdown, or a big deep cry. I’ve also become fairly distrusting of people’s motivations over the past few years and prefer not to let people see me sad. I don’t need to give people fodder for gossip. I think it’s important for my kids to see my grieve, but sometimes when I am in the thick of it, I know that my tears will bring questions, and sometimes I’m not always ready for those questions. Sometimes I need to just process my own feelings before I am ready to handle my feelings with everyone else’s feelings layered on top, if that makes sense.

The day my grandfather died was a weird mix of emotions. The usual grief of losing someone was there. The grief of losing my last grandparent, and knowing that it was sort of an end to an era. The knowledge that with his death would eventually mean the sale of his house, which made me sad too, since I had a lifetime of memories within those walls. I felt sadness for my dad too. He lost my mom and now both of his parents. There was some relief on his behalf, as I know he wouldn’t have appreciated how that last month went for him. Death often feels rather undignified, and my grandfather was a very dignified person. It was a veritable onion of emotions, and I wasn’t quite ready to start peeling the layers. I knew I wanted to go to the funeral, so I allowed myself an hour or so to try to get composed and set off to work, since I didn’t have much vacation time left. I arrived, started to cry, caught myself, and headed home. I stayed pretty stoic and held it together quite well through telling the kids, and navigating arrangements.

Each time I started to get upset, I’d rein it in. I had a job to do, kids to look after, a husband. I had friends going through their own troubles. And through all of it, I held it together. Life is just to busy and I have too many people to be responsible for than to fall apart.

I started to crack when the hearse pulled up outside my grandfather’s house. I pulled it together quickly. I decided I would try to grab a few moments with his casket after the church service. I made it through the service quite well. I held it together even when I learned I wouldn’t get the chance to have a few moments alone with my grandfather to say goodbye due to a lack of communication on my behalf with the FD. I held it together at the gathering after. I allowed myself a quick few minutes to cry when I stepped out of his house for the very last time.

There really hasn’t been any proper grief that I’ve allowed myself.

I remember that when my mom died, I went into a type of shock and into survival mode. I was a new mom, with a new husband, a new home, and I went back to work. My world crashed down and I had to stay strong to keep everyone else ok, and keep myself above water. I allowed myself just a few minutes to privately grieve here and there. I managed. That being said, I felt like the grieving process dragged out for ages, where perhaps if I had allowed myself to really feel it in it’s entirety up front, I’d have processed it better.

I need to have a good, old fashioned, soul cleansing, ugly, red faced, boo hoo sobbing cry.

Sometimes a good old cry can work wonders.

On the brighter side, my trip had some really lovely moments. I spent time with family. I learned that certain people in my family will always show for me, and I felt really loved. I stayed with my cousin and the two of us had loads of laughs. I got to hold baby puppies and pet older dogs. (If you’re having a bad day, go look at some baby German Shepherds and listen to them grunt, it’s adorable and will brighten you right up.) I got to see and bring home my great grandparents’ marriage license, as well as numerous other pictures and documents. I brought home a suitcase from WW2 that belonged to a little Jewish boy my great grandparents took in during the war. I learned to cook some new dishes. I walked outside in the freshest of country air. I had people come up to tell me they went to school with my mom, and how amazing they always thought she was. I had folks come up to tell me what a fantastic person my dad is. I worked on our family tree. I got to call my husband and kids and hear that they were doing ok, but that I was missed a lot. I got to meet family at the pubs for pints of well poured Guinness and old stories. I got to go to my mom’s grave, and catch out of the corner of my eye a beautiful sunflower growing out of the top of a building, making me feel comforted and happy. I had late night chats and hot cups of perfectly brewed tea to combat the chill.

In other words, I felt at home, surrounded by family who have known me my whole life and love me, plus I found a lot of happy, joy filled moments during a sad time.

Having family on two continents means that my heart is always split between the two. I always feel like something is slightly missing, but also feel that regardless of which place I land in, I am at home. I feel at home walking the streets of my town here in the US, but also feel perfectly at home walking the fields of a village 3000+ miles away.

In summation, my grandfather, who had admittedly and vocally grown rather tired of this life, has passed. Perhaps he is back with my grandmother, perhaps death is all there is. Regardless, he is not suffering, and for that I am thankful. A trip caused by a sad loss was also filled with joy and laughter, because life is always a balance of the two. If we do not experience sadness, how do we truly appreciate joy? And lastly, I need a good cry once in a while. Grieve the loss, but celebrate the life.

Watch Me.

Today I was hard on myself. A project I was doing at work had some technical glitches and didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped (although I got it done. My daughter was a bit upset by an interaction with a teacher in the car line when I picked her up. I had to race out to the orthodontist and stores after work. Dinner was late and I ended up having my son help me with it. I had a bunch of jobs to do like ordering school pictures, trying to gather items for the Closet project. I’m tired. Tired physically and tired of garbage humans who are just shitty people. I looked around at the chaos in my house and felt overwhelmed. I started getting frustrated with myself that I couldn’t get it all done and do more around the house.

Then I took a deep breath. And another. I sat back and watched a mental replay of what I had done all day.

I began to realize that I was too busy giving myself a hard time and wasn’t acknowledging the successes I had today. Some were small, but they were wins as far as I was concerned.

That project? Well, I got it done, and learned a whole new software in the process. I got another big project on my dreaded to do list accomplished as well.

I worked a full day and got a lot done.

I coordinated kids getting home.

I turned my car around in the car line and went to speak to the teacher who had upset my daughter. It was a misunderstanding, and I ended up really liking her and sorting it all out where everyone was happy.

My daughter, who has shed many a tear at the orthodontists, looked at me when I told her “you’re a big girl now and you can communicate what you feel needs correcting and you can rock this” and did just that. She handled it like a boss and walked out proud without a single tear being shed.

I got the items I needed from the store.

I ordered school pictures.

I was able to coordinate getting the shelving units I need for the Closet Project with the help of a friend, for free, donated by her neighbor. This is HUGE because currently everything is in random bags, boxes and bins making it near impossible to find what you need. I also found clothing racks for cheap and purchased a couple. I’m excited to now get it set up.

I coordinated a few more donations of clothing and toiletries.

I took a moment to ponder how grateful I am for the internet and the volume of things I can accomplish by using it.

I scrubbed the tub and toilet quick.

I delegated some jobs to my son, who was a rock star and cooked dinner.

I got a load of laundry done.

I did a load of dishes.

I fed all the pets.

I saw a woman say something vile and called her out as the asshole she was.

I saw a lurker lurking, sighed, and wrote this post anyway.

I did some good deeds.

I made calls I had to make and sent emails I needed to send.

I gave out some compliments. I laid out some truths.

I took out my esthetician’s equipment and helped my son with a breakout.

I gave goodnight hugs and kisses. I sent two happy kids to bed.

In other words, I did a LOT. I did some small things, and I did some big things. I did lots of things and I handled my business. So my house is messy. I work full time, run a major project to help kids, raise two kids, and manage a household often on my own since my husband works different hours. I kicked some ass today! I’m proud of myself and my kids told me they are proud of me too. I often find myself being so hard on me, never taking the time to just stop, breath, and recognize all the things I DID accomplish during the day. Sometimes I need to step outside of myself and watch all the things I have accomplished, and all the things I did get done.

Are you watching me? Because I’m watching me, and I kicked some ass today!