When Butterlump was born 4-years-ago, I was having quite the time of it.
Pregnancies are always very hard on me physically and we found out that due to the stupidity of the American Health Care System, we were going to have to pay for all of my treatment and delivery out of pocket.
I decided to try to not have an epidural because they are so flipping expensive.
It didn’t go well.
First, I did nothing to prepare myself mentally or physically for natural childbirth.
And, I had to be induced and so that labor was hard core. As it got worse and worse, the labor and delivery nurses kept saying over and over, “Honey…if you keep screaming your head off with every contraction you are going to make it hurt worse and it will be MUCH harder on yourself. TRY TO BREATHE.” (Obviously, my CAPS fondness lives on. Sorry, dudes.) ;)
I didn’t listen to them or take their very wise advice.
And, um…it led to this:
(The “central laundry” stamp slays me.)
It also led to a much more expensive hospital bill because during transition I just couldn’t do it anymore.
I have been pretty sucky at learning from my mistakes in my life and have had pretty much no sense of spirituality my entire life. That is something that I am trying to change. The good thing is, I am not delving into this like a hyperfocused mad women. I just do a bit every day and try to do what I have been told to do.
It’s making a difference.
There is an awful lot going on right now. I have pondered if I should share much of it. Not because of me particularly, but this blog has had a WHOLE LOT OF PITY PARTY AND POOR ME over the years.
That is simply not what is going on. And really…none of what is going on is really happening TO ME, I am just helping or worried or running or dealing with fallout, etc.
I feel like every muscle I have mentally and physically is being stretched, taxed and working at max capacity.
I have a much loved friend who lost a child in their family that was as close to a daughter as you can get. My twin sister started the critical string of surgeries to remove a portion of her brain on Tuesday, and I found out another person I care for a lot and is like family is facing a horrible situation of divorce and an abusive husband that frankly…is concerning me very much for her safety. She and her kids are in a pretty desperate situation and even though she is getting help through other resources, well…she needs The Mormons. She hasn’t been to church for years, she worries her English is inadequate, she has no family here or any friends that can help walk her through this, so I will until she feels comfortable navigating the LDS Welfare System and gets comfortable vocalizing what she needs. The Mormons have a very big and well-oiled private welfare program. It mainly helps LDS members, but it is not exclusive at all. In fact, if there is natural disaster, the Apocalypse, or if Zombies invade?
FIND THE MORMONS.
I’m not kidding.
The Mormons are totally my zombie plan. The won’t give a crap if you are LDS and they will feed and shelter you and most likely simultaneously distribute glossy and well organized pamphlets on the most effective way to kill a zombie while simultaneously making a lime green Jello salad with cottage cheese and shredded carrots to take to your fellow zombie-fighting neighbors.
I’m only slightly kidding here.
And it ain’t about the Jello, people.
For one very small example, Jonathan and I were in charge of feeding 150-ish people at the Ward (congregation) campout this weekend. The LDS church owns a LOT of real estate and much of that is in land that is used for its members to do things like sleep in tents and sing around a fire pit. And cook tons of chicken and vegetables in dutch ovens. Not as many people showed up as planned and I was stressing out because so much chicken was going to go to waste. Then someone said, “Just put the leftovers in the fridge.”
Yup. The Mormons PUT FRIDGES IN THE CAMPSITES THAT THEY OWN.
Enough said, dudes.
And that is just what has happened this week.It’s just a really critical time and everything needs to be done or worried about or sorted through like, ASAP.
Like, BEFORE ASAP.
The biggest priority in my life is that my parents had to suddenly and permanently move in with me a few weeks ago.
While I consider it an honor that will enormously benefit and bless my family, like I wrote, it has been really difficult. Especially with my father. After 2-solid weeks of constant and unending hand-holding and reassurance about his antiques and this move, I was just DONE when the “Big Push” days to move and box them all up to show their house started happening.
I snapped at everyone.
I looked at my eldest sister and said, “Look, I know it looks like I may be breaking down. I’m NOT. I just CANNOT HAVE THIS PARTICULAR CONVERSATION WITH DAD ONE MORE FREAKING TIME BECAUSE I AM DONE.”
I felt strong and capable of everything being asked of me, except in this one area. Like I was about to really injure my hamstring and if that happened…oy.
I cannot stop or break down right now. Simply cannot. There are too many things and people depending on me. And while I know I will cry and have despair many times during the years of this with my parents, that CANNOT HAPPEN NOW. Not only do I need to prove to my family and parents that I KNOW I can do this, but I need to prove to myself that I AM strong and capable of pulling off what I know I CAN.
That didn’t stop me from coming *this* close to falling on my face, though.
After I had my moment of “DONE”, my smart phone died.
It’s never the bales of hay that break the back, it’s the straw that floats out of nowhere.
I NEEDED THAT PHONE.
It had all my info, and so many people had to contact me or I had to call them to arrange things.
And having the ability to just take a moment to dork on Facebook or text people is a huge relief during things like this.
But the very worst thing for me was that ALL my music was on that phone. Music and I are tight, yo. Few things besides a good massage can lift my spirits, soothe me or just help me cope like music. I have taken to driving in my car in the mornings to listen to music and just to focus my day. When I get stressed or tired, I go run one of the eleventyhundred errands that need doing to just drive to music and refocus.
And it has to be MY music.
And it was gone.
I felt like I had lost one of my last lifelines.
I went out to my hot car to run a long errand and thought of how I would be driving in sweaty silence and I came this close to crying. (I am not a cryer. Theatrical, yes, but if you actually see tears, HOUSTON HAS A PROBLEM. A major problem.)
I knew if I cried, I wouldn’t stop and all the things that needed doing wouldn’t get done and my loved ones would suffer.
I put my head on my steering wheel and prayed.
(Yes, I prayed. This is my day to say things like this. I am focusing much more on spiritual growth than religion. I can’t promise I won’t write about that on Sundays but dude…I simply do not care what you believe. If you are an atheist or agnostic who takes comfort and joy in science and nature and it makes you lift your head up when it’s down and persevere. Cool. I actually think this comment from one of my readers is a pretty perfect way to take me and what I write about this topic. Just know I will not start throwing crosses and Book of Mormons at you (unless YOU ASK). Are we cool? Good. I am now never going to explain this again. You don’t have to read me on Sundays and there will be no hard feelings. :D)
I didn’t cry, but my voice did squeak out this pathetic little, “Why?!”
Why this right now?
And I just took off in a stream of upset. “I feel so overwhelmed. I need that music. It is about all I have to comfort me right now. I KNOW my phone will be fixed tomorrow but that doesn’t help me RIGHT NOW. Right now I am upset, lonely, scared and just done.”
And the thought occurred to me.
“Think of how your father feels right now about all this.”
Nothing puts you in place than a lesson in empathy.
Still…just because I shored up with more compassion for my dad, I still felt like crap. I was still hot and all my emotions were not helped that much.
When I pray, I tend to just not think to ask, “Hey. Fix this phone.”
What I asked for was that I needed bigger shoulders to cope.
And I got them.
It started with the smallest thing. I lifted my head up just a fraction. I wrote a snarky comment about my situation on Facebook to my brother. (As he is in Colorado and ehem…NOT HERE HELPING, I have declared that his entire inheritance is all my parents mounds of genealogy paper work. And the 30,000 gallons of wheat they have in food storage.) Humor is my single greatest coping mechanism. Without it, I would be lost.
It helped some.
As I drove, I had another thought.
“Check your CD player”.
Uh…our CD player in the car I drove for years was broken and so I never give a single thought to listening to a CD in any car.
I also don’t recall deliberately burning a CD since about 2006.
But, I pressed the button.
And there was a CD in the player.
I honestly thought, “Wow…this is one of those instructional CDs that comes with a new Audi. Has it been there for 7 years?”
I pushed play and really almost expected some German to start talking to me about this (rather frustrating) piece of German Automotive Engineering.
“Guten Morgen! Also, Sie haben einen Audi gekauft! Sie werden sofort feststellen, dass unser Deutsche auto Ingenieure haben nur ein winziges Soda Halter setzen zu vereiteln und Spott American Diet Coke trinker! BWAHAHAHAHA!”
Die Amerikanischen Auto? WUNDERBAR!
Der Deutsch Automobil?
NEIN, DUDES. NEIN!!!!!!
However, it was not a German mocking my inadequate soda holder, it was music.
And lots and lots and lots of it.
Songs that I adore but hadn’t listened to in years.
As each song played, I felt better and better.
And then this dorky little song came on. It was unusual because most of my music was soothing but “Build a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul”, really isn’t soothing.
And I can sing every single nonsensical lyric.
AND I DID.
Half way through, I realized I was bopping along singing in my car and I was so, so joyful. Not in that hyper, funny way, just pure and utter joy.
I really have never had a turn around like that before, but I was so grateful. I felt refreshed, happy and went and finished another 6-hours of moving without complaint.
And I want you to keep something in mind…yes, the end result here was night and day and rather dramatic.
The PATH to getting to that moment was of the smallest and most subtle thing. I was just willing to lift my head a tiny bit and then keep lifting it.
And I triumphed.
And so can you.
Just lift your head and look for your answer.