Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

Chasing deer and owls and sunsets (oh my!).

June 9, 2021

I spent my evening at my cousins’ again – they leave tomorrow on their new adventure, and I’ve spent nearly every night this week at their house helping them get ready and just enjoying the excited vibe.

When I left, rather than head home, I banged a (figurative) left and drove through the backroads of the towns around me, chasing the idea of finding an owl or turtles or frogs crossing the road or a deer or any number of fun wildlife.

I saw turkeys, grazing on a hillside, but wild turkeys don’t even count anymore….even if I tweet “Turkeys.” every time.

I didn’t see any lynx or owls or deer on the backroads (though I did see a fawn cross the road ahead of my car when I was driving back towards home). Instead, I found this:

It’s not what I was looking for. But it’s just what I seemed to need. Don’tcha think?

Five for Friday.

February 12, 2021

It’s Friday! Wait; Is it Friday? I think it’s Friday. Somebody check for me! Friday! Yes. We’re pretty sure. One of a gazillion reasons I need a grown-up job with grown-up responsibilities: a grown-up Monday-to-Friday schedule.

And you know what Friday means? Five for Friday posts! I am ridiculously excited about my “Five for Fridays” posts. Just five random thoughts that may or may not have been big enough for their own space. So here we go!

  1. One of the toughest things about being “home” again – “home” being in the house where I grew up, and where my brother and father live – and my baby sister temporarily moved home at the end of August because of a COVID eviction, so her too – is not so much that I’m in a house filled with people; it’s that we’re all on different schedules. Like I said, the number of people doesn’t faze me, because I’ve always lived in a small house with a big family, with scores of people always underfoot. It actually makes me feel more comfortable. Homier. But my dad goes to bed at 7 or 8 p.m. He has insomnia like me, god bless. So he tries to follow a strict sleep schedule. So I’m very conscious of this, especially because I have the insomnia issue he was kind enough to pass along to me. Le sigh. My brother, whom I affectionately call the Grown-Up In Residence, also carries the Insomnia Gene, but he just rolls with it. He’s been laid off for more than a year, but has been the one taking care of my father, and also my mother when she was still living at home. He’s been sleeping on the couch so he can hear if my father falls during teh night. That’s why it’s “easy” that I take over his room upstairs. Joe stays up til midnight. 1a. 2a. Somewhere in there. So I know any accidental bumps coming from my room isn’t going to bother him, but I do know that despite fitting into most of the stereotypical “guy” attributes, he is very sensitive to sounds that might disturb my father. Because then he has to listen to it all the next day. Heh. So our house “shuts down” every night, ridiculously early,, at 8p. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Unpleasant, but straight-forward. No phone calls after 8p if I can help it, because the house was built in the late 1800s, so the insulation is laughable. You can hear a conversation on different levels and across the house better than you can in if the person was in the same room! And then the bathroom situation is…
  2. Okay, the bathroom. How many of you have lived in a house with multiple people – grown-up, actual people, not childrens – and only one bathroom. I know it’s not that uncommon the city, in older housing.Mostly I feel bad because I’m not the only one with sleeping problems. And when you hear more than one person tramping up and down the stairs at night – over and next to your bedroom, that can’t help. But! It does help your mindfulness, and when you’re lying very, very still in the morning
    listening for your sister to come out of the bathroom, it’s a good time for morning reflections and prayers.
  3. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on my* room here at my dad’s house, but a happier heart is going to keep me from falling into a deep depression. And to be honest, given the situation with my daughters, who are never out of my mind, I’m teetering, and have been So I want to do what I can’t to keep me right side up. Cheering up the room might fall into that category.

    Here’s how it looks now…

    I’m thinking maybe something mandala-y? Definitely something cheerful and happy. Warm tones. But I don’t want spend too much. My girls bought some tapestries at the old house. Gracie asked for some for Christmas, and helped pick some out for Santa. Bee was – IS – the queen of finding the cheapest sales online and avoiding scams. So I crossed my fingers and asked them for help. Sometimes I don’t get a response because: teenagers. Sometimes they don’t answer because…well. That’s a different story, and a sad one, and I don’t know how to fix it. But! I did get a quick answer about the tapestries and I’m trying to decide. So hit me up with suggestions!
  4. My head is a mess. Yes, that’s the most succinct description of me anyone has said in the history of psychoanalysis. In this week’s episode of WTF, Katie?!, we’re looking at why in the world I can’t seem to get it through my head that I don’t need to do timezone math anymore. I know – laugh all you want. It’s the silliest of little things wrong with me. I’ve been tethered to my best friend Corrie since we met. You know, 15 years ago. She’s been a huge part of keeping me sane through the move. And before the move. And every day even when nothing was going on. You get the picture. And sadly, I haven’t been able to deploy my Kidnap Corrie To Keep Her Happy, With me, And All of Sane because of the craptastic weather we’re experiencing not only in the north (expected), but in the deep south of Texas. We’re they’re getting six inches of snow. Because I’m gone!I Sheesh.What a slap in the face! “Dear Weather Gods, can I please have some snow? No? Oh, but now that I’m officially moved out, now Texas is getting snow? Oh. Okay. Just checking.” !!?!>#$#()_!!! For the love of Pete! But! Getting back to the tiniest of little points that I had, an entire paragraph ago, when I talktext Corrie, it’s still an hour behind. Cool, cool. But then when I go to talk to any of my aunts, the nursing home, my friend Juls, or really anyone else, I don’t need to do any math! NO MATH! I hate math! Why would I try to layer in any unnecessary math?! Insanity, I tell you. SOMEone please get that through my head.
  5. COVID. COVID COVID COVID. Please. You really need to stop now. Because now that I’m all up here in my cozy, cozy homeland, having completed this rather insane and intense cross-country drive all by myself, with a carload of shtuff… And now that I’ve unpacked that carload of shtuff and gotten myself as settled as can be for now… the distractions are wearing off and I really, really need to visit with my family, now that I’ve driven 1500+ miles to be with them. The people of Massachusetts are taking this “hunker down” direction seriously. As we should! But I would like to see my aunts and uncles, now that they’re across the city. And I’d love to be able to hang out with my cousins. Maybe a rowdy card game with everyone all at once? Tough to pull off, but I don’t mind being the details girl and organize it, if COVID WOULD JUST GO AWAY! Ahem.

And that is pretty much where my headspace is on this fine COVIDy Friday night. LOL And what are YOU all up to? Whatever it is, I hope it’s something that leaves you in better shape to be ready for bed when the time comes. No more 4a visits from Father Sleep. Or panicked 12:30p wake-ups the next day. But it’s fine. It’s FINE! Because it’s Friday. And after Friday, comes Saturday. God bless.

And good night!

*my brother’s

A tiny, touchy subject.

January 24, 2019

I was getting ready in the bathroom the other night, doing my hair (there’s a half hour right there, taming the massive beast on top my head), putting on a tiny splash of make-up, when I noticed this little guy…

ladybug

Do you see him? Tiny little fella. Bit dusty, too. But I don’t make fun of wee little guests in my house, uh uh. I let the wee fella go, outside. Opened the door and shooed him out. Maybe I should have let him out the front door so he could take up residency in the fairy gardens if were so inclined. Alas.

I got back to getting pretti-fied and all of a sudden….I feel a tickle along the back of my hand. THis guy:

ladybug2

I promise this little buddy is different! See? The two markings closest to his wee little head are strong dots on the first ladybug, and faded on the send. Ipso Ergo Factum! TWO ladybugs! I carefully checked for an infestation, but these were the only two ladybugs I was lucky enough to find.

And there’s the million dollar word, ladies, gents and everyone in-between and beyond – ladybugs are harbingers of lucky, are they not? I thought, Wouldn’t it be nice if there were three ladybugs so that there could be one for Gracie, one for Bee, and one for me? I scoured the entire bathroom, but couldn’t find another one. Well, that’s okay then, I thought. One can be for Bee-girl, and one for Gracie-guts.

But here’s the thing: why can’t they just both be for me? Aren’t I worthy? It’s something I’ve been working on lately (at the direction of professionals, you guys, don’t worry) on the idea of being worthy and that just being enough. I mean, did you see that? I couldn’t even talk about the idea of worthiness without cracking a joke about it. I am worthy.

I AM WORTHY.

I am worthy of two ladybugs. I am worthy of two ladybugs-worth of luck. Especially if one is dusty! Ha!

When big awful things happen to you, you forget that you are worthy. And then when you forget that hard, it’s hard to start small. Even as small as two ladybugs’ worth, it seems. So I’m just  gonna practice.

I AM WORTHY!

(And gosh those little ladybugs are cute!!)

Don’t worry: I’m still swimming.

March 25, 2017

I’ve been having quite a time of it lately. I don’t know how it works for you, but when I’m wrestling with something – an idea, a problem, demons, ghosts, tweenagers, break-ups, and the worst of them all, feelings – well, I shut down. I go into power-save mode so I can ensure that I have energy for the most important things. I feed the kids. Supervise homework. Buy groceries. Go to Beauty in the Beast. Force myself to go to work. The girls know I’ve been…not my best. They think I’m sick. [And, honestly, on top of everything else, I have been sick. I made them draw blood to see if I had listeria because of the constant stomach issues and the fact that I’d eaten some of the recalled Sargento cheese. Why you play me like that, cheese?]

Depression isn’t an easy thing. Yes, that’s the most obvious statement I could possibly have made, but here’s the thing: saying it out loud helps. Writing it helps me even more, given my affinity for writerly occupations. Writing is my oxygen. Writing and reading, they’re one of my best measurements to gauge my mental health and overall well-being. This past week (and maybe longer? I don’t know, honestly, how wide this pond has stretched) I haven’t been able to post because I haven’t been able to write. I couldn’t think of anything worthwhile. When I did think of something, I couldn’t imagine that it would hold any value for any one reading it. Why post useless material? But I persisted. I sat every morning and tried to think of anything of value; things that would necessitate more than three sentences to sum things up. Because I wouldn’t let myself just throw my hands in the air (metaphorically; my depression sucks all energy out of me and I couldn’t even throw my hands in the air in exasperation in my head). I made myself type things out, start stories I didn’t like, just to go through the motions. To fucking do something. I have a couple dozen drafts from last week. I might have written something, but I couldn’t post it. I wasn’t close to swimming to shore, but at least I was treading water. When you’re in the muck as bad as I was, “just” treading water is amazing. It’s a gold star. Getting your mind to loosen the grip on the thoughts of uselessness, panic, anxiety, and general despair…it’s exhausting, but also rewarding because a tiny voice is in there telling you that you made a bit of progress. There’s hope. I was still swimming. Or, trying to anyway.

Gracie kept asking for blog posts. A few book club partners asked if they had missed my Thursday reviews. I imagine Kathy is probably one step from boarding a plane and showing up on my doorstep. But other than that, it’s been quiet. Either everyone is giving me space. Or they have been busy and don’t notice. Maybe I’m barely a ripple in their pond.

But that’s okay. Them, waiting it out. It’s what I needed. I don’t know why I was moved to finally write a post tonight. I don’t know why I wanted to explain all of a sudden. I’m not embarrassed by my conditions. Depression and anxiety are heavily stigmatized in our society, and that’s not right. You can’t seek help if you’re afraid to say what’s wrong. If you’re afraid to admit even to yourself what’s wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being depressed. It’s not your fault if you are. Tell yourself what’s wrong. Tell someone else what’s wrong (if you can). And seek self-care and let others care for you, too.

I’m doing better. I kept swimming (just keep swimming – Dory gives the best advice). I know that I have a wonderful village standing by, ready to throw in a life preserver if I need it. I know that things will get better. It won’t always be like this; it won’t always feel like this. I’m okay, guys. I’m writing. And in just a few seconds, I’ll hit the publish button. I’m back. Ish, but hey! I’m here!

And now, a word from my rather despicable sponsor: Anxiety.

September 22, 2016

I usually post my book reviews on Thursdays, but today I need to set that aside for a moment to talk about anxiety.

Most of you know I suffer from anxiety – at varying levels, at varying times. It’s not something I’m ashamed of: I have an anxiety disorder. I don’t hide it. I firmly believe in talking about it so that I can educate others, hold myself accountable for self-care, let my friends know so they can help me when necessary, and generally let those who hear me know that if they’re closeted, they don’t need to be. Let’s erase the stigma, yes?

There are still times when my anxiety surprises me. I was watching a movie tonight. A critically acclaimed one – Gravity, with Sandra Bullock. It cold opens with a big crisis and a bigger trigger for me. I thought I could manage – Sandra is who plays me in the movie of my life. She’s my girl. But less than five minutes in, I was opening my laptop and googling the plot. If I know what’s going to happen, I can sometimes talk myself through the anxious bits and still enjoy the movie. (It got me through Everest, and that ended up being a movie I’ll rewatch again and again.)

Knowing didn’t help this time. I tried focusing on the project I was working on, writing away, head down, only occasionally glancing up at the screen or reaching over to rub The Boyfriend’s back. (Human contact is a huge plus when I’m sorta freaking out.) But I knew the characters were trapped in space. And space? Well, that just happens to be one of my triggers. I have nightmares where I’m trapped in space. Or in a big, black, endless sea of black. With no hope of finding home. Or my siblings. (I’m frequently tasked in my nightmares with finding them and getting us all safe.) This movie was taking me to Not Good places.

So I hit the brakes.

Or, I should say, I tried to. I wasn’t in full freak-out mode. I was just Pretty Damn Anxious. So I tried to handle it a bit modestly. I didn’t start screaming or hyperventilating; I turned to The Boyfriend and told him I didn’t think I could watch the movie any more. “It’s just a movie!” he said. And then he laughed at me.

I can’t tell you how bad it feels in the first place to be weighed down by this horrible and unpredictable thing called Anxiety. Add to that the knowledge that this stupid, awful Anxiety holds you back from things you’d love to be able to do. And try as you might to do those things anyway, sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. And when you don’t – when I don’t, at least – you really, really don’t. It’s a horrible, gutting feeling.

If you’re the person on the outside, here’s a little advice: don’t ever laugh. Don’t dismiss or belittle someone for something that is completely and utterly out of their control. I already felt like a failure for not being able to get through a movie – a movie – about something that I know I will never, ever have to do. When I was laughed at, I felt like a person I was supposed to feel safe with dismissed my feelings, belittled me, and made me feel like I was less than everything I needed to be.

Anxiety is hard enough to live with when you’re in a constructive, healthy environment. Talking about it, talking my way through it to the other side of this setback, that can only happen when I feel safe. That might not be the reality for every person who is living with anxiety, but it’s my reality. If you’re in that situation, if you’re the person who’s supposed to be a landline, ask how you can help. And however foreign or silly the answer is, please, please do not dismiss it. Be a friend. Be kind. Be supportive.

Be kind. That’s the bottom line to so many stories.

The Books of 2012: The books about mental health.

January 11, 2013

Sometimes I find myself sliding down a rabbit hole of readery goodness. This year was the year of the mental health memoirs and psychologically-inclined non-fiction books (and plenty of fiction books whose plots would have landed them here if I hadn’t decided to stay away from that slippery slope). Nothing makes you feel like maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem as books about incest, schizophrenia, and family dysfunction to a degree I had thus far not even imagined. I felt like I was rubbernecking as I gulped these books down as quickly as I could…

1. The River of Forgetting, by Jane Rowan. (Feb 2012). I read a lot of psychology-related memoirs this year, starting with this one about a woman who was abused as a child, but remembers only as an adult. First with glimpses, then a bit more with guided therapy and hypnosis, Jane struggles with the validity of her memories and wonders whether her attacker could truly have been her father – and if so, how could her mother have stayed with him until his death. While obviously the author was dealing with tremendously powerful and difficult emotional content, the writing seemed wishy washy and disjointed. I imagine the book would be helpful for someone who experienced similar assaults to know there are other survivors, but the writing was not strong enough for me to connect as an outsider. Not a fault; just an observation. 2 of 5 stars.

2. Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood, by Koren Zailckas. (May 2012)  I didn’t get much out of this book, mostly because I was lucky enough to escape my teens and 20s relatively unscathed. Hell, compared to a lot of the memoirs I’ve read, I’m frickin’ pristine, still. However. Just because reading Smashed was a sad confirmation of the staggering stats I’m already aware of doesn’t mean I think it’s a waste of time. On the contrary – Smashed would make for fantastic compulsory reading for every high school freshman in the country. 3 of 5 stars.

3. The Psychopath Test: Journey Through the Madness Industry, by Jon Ronson. (May 2012) The author tries to determine if there’s a personality test that could determine who is – or could be – a psychopath, and uses his research to examine the lives of several high profile businessmen in today’s society. A compelling read, even thought it was a lot different from what I expected (more narratively driven than set up with chapters devoted to different subjects). 4 of 5 stars.

4. A Child Called “It”, by Dave Pelzer. (Jun 2012) This was a re-read for me, but it’s been so long since I read it that I couldn’t remember huge chunks of the story. The details were just as horrifying as I remember, but the writing was much, much weaker than I recalled. Either that, or all the mental health memoirs I’ve been reading have raised my expectations. If you haven’t read it – and you have a strong stomach considering that truly horrible, heartbreaking acts of violence are committed against a small child – I would still recommend it. Just keep your expectations lowered going in. And tissues at the ready if you’re a mom. 3 of 5 stars – with some latitude.

5. The Memory Palace, by Mira Bartok. (Jun 2012) Another of my mental health memoirs I burned through this year, The Memory Palace is one I could not put down. It tells the tale of two grown up sisters attending their mother’s last days. Already a zinger, right? Well get this: their mom was (is) batshit crazy. And I do not use that term lightly: the sisters changed their names and moved away in order to protect themselves. That is crazy on a whole ‘nother floor, am I right? The with and against narration was beyond moving, hearing Ms. Bartok struggle with loving and hating her own mother, and trying to deciper “real” and “not real” in all her memories of her mom. I dare you to read this book and not ache on one level and feel incredibly guilty for the (comparatively) small worries in your own life. 4 of 5 stars.

6. The Serial Killer Whisperer, by Pete Earley. (Jul 2012) The book is based on an incredibly interesting true-life story: a promising young boy suffers a traumatic head injury at church camp. As a result, he suffers from some pretty devastating personality disorders, one of which is that he tends towards angry, impulsive lashing out. Later, after much recovering and retooling of his life and his parents’ lives, he begins a new hobby: writing to serial killers. Is it possible that many serial killers are the way they are because of brain abnormalities and/or injuries? Earley explores that any many other questions. 3 of 5 stars.

7. Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl, by Marguerite Sechehaye. (Sep 2012) It was straight-forward, depressing, and exactly as advertised…though little more. Perhaps a lot of it was lost in the translation, but I just didn’t get any oomph or triumph-over-adversity-happy-feelings. Which makes me sound like a horribly spoiled and self-centered reader. I guess what I felt was lacking was why? Why was the book written? What made her want to share her story? If a book can’t answer that question, I feel like the point was sort of missed. 2 of 5 stars.

8. Your Voice in my Head, by Emma Forrest. (Dec 2012) I had no idea who Emma Forrest was before I read her memoir about being an hot, up-and-coming screenwriter, the girlfriend and lover of several celebrities, and a bipolar with self-destructive tendencies. I’ll admit that I googled which A-list movie actor her GH (Gypsy Husband) was, but mostly I wasn’t reading Ms. Forrest’s memoir for the sinsational tabloidy bits (which is probably a good thing, because there aren’t many). I was reading it because, as I’ve mentioned, I have a thing for mental health memoirs. And I also have a thing for love stories. Especially well-written ones. That’s what this was. It is a heartbreaking love story written to her beloved psychiatrist who helped her see herself again as she really is, and to the healthy self she learned to become. If it helped me remember how to help myself steer clear of unhealthy relationships – with boys and my darker self – goodo for me. 4 of 5 stars.

I might have gone ’round the bend (but at least there are books here).

January 7, 2012

Yes, yes, I know: all I talk about these days are books. But I can’t help it! It’s that time of year when you tally your Books I’ve Read This Year list, and update your To Read list, and set your 2012 Reading Goal over at Goodreads, and…well…make all sorts of other neurotic lists and assessments. It’s the bestest part of January, really. Since you obviously think I’m quite adorable when I’m at my most neurotic (you’re here, aren’t you?), I thought I would share with you some of my favorites.

If you haven’t already, a good place to start would be my recap of allllll 70 books I read in 2011. (Which, I have to admit now, isn’t entirely accurate. I realized last night that I accidentally left off The Boxcar Children, which I read to the girls this summer, and Anatomy of Deception, which I read in December after I had already typed up my list. Whoops.)

After I finished my epic recap (and shook feeling back into my fingers), I was curious about how many books from last year’s Christmas haul I had actually managed to read. Because let’s face it – sometimes my intentions and my accomplishments don’t actually match up all that neatly. Ahem. So I went back to this nifty post that I was smart enough to publish so I could see how well I did. Turns out I did pretty well: I read 29 of 30 books I got for Christmas 2010. The only book I didn’t get to was the one by Gene Wilder. (Yes, that Gene Wilder. Which, I think, explains a lot.)

I hope I can conquer this year’s booty, er, um, collection, with as much success. I have the happy conundrum of having too many books I want to read all at once! I’ve already finished a WWII loaner (Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. 4 of 5 stars.) and I’m about ready to finish Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens. I’m also about 100 pages into Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife and I have to say – I’m falling a little bit in love with it. Other books in the tier I want to read first: Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas; The White Mary by Kirah Salak (which is a loaner from my sister); The Reader by Bernhard Schlink; Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (my reward/escapism novel); The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry; 11/22/63 by Stephen King; Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan; and Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos. I have no idea how I’m going to choose my next book – they all sound so devourable. My second tier consists of: Sway by Zachary Lazar; Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood; feed by MT Anderson (another loaner from my sister); StoryLand by Jim Miller; Hannibal by Thomas Harris;  All Souls by Christine Schutt; and the Leader’s Guide to the Brownie Scout Program (circa 1950) that my sister gave me and will be rather useful for a diabolical scheme I’m brewing. Rounding out my list is Lush Life by Richard Price; A Mad Desire to Dance by Elie Wiesel; The Sea by John Banville; Gap Creek by Robert Morgan; Slam by Nick Hornby (which would have placed higher except the last few I read were such disappointments); The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara; Hoot by Scott Hiassen; Voyager and Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (loaners) and a Mr. Boston’s Guide to Cocktails and a winery book that I believe will both get plenty of use, if not read from cover to cover.Let’s see how many of these books I’ve read when I’m doing my recap for this year. Anyone wanna make a wager with me? <Insert eyebrow wiggling here.>

Since I had cleaned up on my Christmas Reading List, I then wondered if I had made any progress on my How Well Read Are You? challenge. Turns out I didn’t read too many classics this year: I am still stuck on 65 of 100 classics read. Maybe I should step away from the YA fiction and read something a bit more full of literary fiber. Guilting me even further in that direction is this really cool Web site I found yesterday: this teen is going to read all 179 novels on the Modern/Classic Must-Read List. I counted them and I’m only at 50.

Since I have now depressed myself with how little reading it looks like I’m getting done, at least according to those lists, I have to end with linking back to my To Read list I posted at the end of 2010. I’m proud to say that I read 37 books off that list of 100. Pretty impressive, is it not? Especially given how many re-reads I had and how many of my 2011 books were recommendations from other readers. I just find it so hard to say no to a book being thrown in my path: the most wonderful reading adventures happen if you’ll just accept the premise that books you’re supposed to read make their way to you one way or another. Then again, some of them just suck. That’s what makes it so exciting, I guess – trying to figure out if you’re going to want to smuggle the book across the border or have to come up with a complete and utter lie to your former friend about how “special” that read was.

So there you have it. It would have been a lot prettier if I could have uploaded all of my lists scribbled on and marked through, with crazy, illegible notes in the margin, but this will have to do until I’m caught up – I have books to read, you know.

 

Love teaches you perspective.

March 11, 2010

It has been a crazy sort of week. The kind of crazy that is Highly Unbloggable, not the “fun kind” of crazy. But you know what’s weird? That same catalyst that started the crazy to begin with made for very sweet undertones to my week. The huge amount of stress that was pressing down on me is what gave me a fresh perspective for gratitude and appreciation, which in turn made me love my girls and our family all the more. If I’m gonna have to deal with that kind of stress, I would say that’s a pretty cool side effect.
 
Because of the stress, I stopped and thought about a measured response when Gracie came home from school with a blue and then a yellow. I took a moment to figure out the real cause behind their meltdowns. I didn’t snap when Bee got up out of bed for the 63rd time to ask for another hug and kiss. I was a much better mom this week.
 
I think part of the reason is because when I am this stressed out, it takes me a minute to process things. I feel a little bit like I’m living under a heavy layer of wet cotton batting, or something. The small delay for things to work through the cotton fuzz is all my inner mom needs to dole out much better parenting advice. The noise of parenting is dimmed and easier to deal with. Whatever the reason is, I’ll take the silver lining if I have to put up with the rain cloud.
 
And I was a much better person, too. I appreciated the little thing so much more. I heard Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” – my favorite song of all time – on the radio three times this week. It made me smile a real smile every single time. Every time the girls listened and did what I asked of them the first time I asked, it felt like the best part of my day, when before it might have gone unnoticed. The lunch hour I spent in the park with the windows rolled down, reading my book and enjoying the sunshine and 75 degree weather was perhaps the most relaxing hour of my life. All very, very good things.
 
No, things might not be good right now, but at least I have my head screwed on straight. I’m still seeing the love in everyday moments. I’m okay.  Happy Love Thursday, everyone. I hope you are all feeling okay down deep where it matters.