Monday, January 26, 2015

Snow Days and Missed Opportunities

The phone rang at 5:30 this morning.  Snow Day.  There's a dusting of snow on the ground, so all but one of the kids are off school.  (My oldest son only had an hour delay.  He was Not Happy.)   The other five kids were thrilled.  Snow Day!  No School!  
I remember that feeling.  Waking up to an unexpected off day.  A blessing you weren't expecting.  Even the dogs were excited.  When I let them outside this morning, they bounded through the snow, sticking their nose in it.  Breathing in the crisp scent.  Tasting the clean cold.  

 Pretty much the only person who wasn't happy was me.  I had Plans today.  I planned to get everyone off to school and then sit down in front of my computer and work.  I'm behind on the second book and the edits for Book 1 will arrive any day.  Writing with the kids home doesn't work.  They are Always Talking.  They are Loud.  They are Excited that school is cancelled.

All I can see is an entire day of work down the drain.

I don't want to look at things this way.  I know each day with my kids is a gift.  One I should cherish, because one day, I will be gone--or they will.  Life's surprises aren't always Snow Day good.  Living with Crohn's Disease has taught me that.

But like my mother before me, I struggle (a lot) with anxiety and depression which makes living in the moment (and appreciating the unexpected gift of a full day with my kids) difficult.  Instead of smiling at the snow with them, I worry that I will fall even more behind.  That worry snowballs into never getting paid, losing the house, and my kids living out of our car.

Ridiculous, I know.  Yet I can't stop this brain loop.  It's endless.  And it's been getting worse recently.  I'm at the point where sometimes, I can barely function.  

But I'm trying.  This blog entry is my attempt to remind myself that I don't need to hold the world together.  I can relax and enjoy an unexpected day with my kids.

We don't talk about anxiety and depression, and I'm not sure why.  I have no problem sharing my struggles with Crohn's, yet I worry that if I admit that I struggle Every Day with anxiety and a depression so deep I feel like I'm drowning, that people will see me as weak.  As a failure.

I need to face this down.

You might have noticed that the focus of my blog has changed recently.  I'm talking less about writing and more about the small things that bring me joy -- like knitting and spinning.  This is deliberate.  I need to learn to appreciate the moment.  To live mindfully.  And to do that, I need to focus more on the beautiful things in my life.  The small things that make me happy.

In doing so, I hope to learn to enjoy (and even embrace) the Snow Days in my life.


  1. Dealing the way you have with the things you've had to handle for so long, you must have some idea how incredibly strong you are. And I know you're bright enough to understand how small some of those nagging worries can be. Not that you don't have major issues to cause you concern. But it may be the addition of one or two of those small inconveniences that push you so close to the edge. However, understanding or an intellectual level and perceiving on an emotional level are so often quite different things. The latter can all too often overshadow the former. Discernment is the answer. And if there's anyone who is capable of employing that, it's YOU.

    You're not only strong, Steph, you are a truly good person. We go through life meeting people--some already known, some strangers met for the first time--and commonly saying, 'Good to meet you,' or 'Nice to have met you'. It's likely one of the most overused throw away lines in polite society. But then there are those few people one comes across in life about whom one knows, 'That is a good person, in the best and deepest meaning of the word.'

    That's you, Steph, one of the few truly good people I've met in my 65 years (almost 66; hey, I've made it this far, I see no reason not to keep on looking forward) on this Earth. And I can say with all honesty, Glad to have met you.

    That you're aware enough of the issue to write this blog post, and other similar ones, puts you one giant step ahead of your nemeses. With a beginning like that, you're practically home free. At least today you're home with some bonus time with the kids--unexpected, free, gratis. Enjoy. Trust that the rest will take care of itself. And know you're not alone in your struggles. It isn't weak to lean on someone from time to time. It's only human...

  2. Doug,

    As always, your words move me. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I'm trying really hard recently to just live an authentic life, and doing so means being honest about the struggles we face. I don't know why we don't share more...maybe it's a fear of not looking like we have it all together? Just thinking out loud.

    What I do know is that having so many friends like you makes these rough times a lot easier to get through!