Monday, April 19, 2010

Directionally challenged

I am a direction-illiterate.
That’s right, the queen bee of OCD can’t tell her north from south, let alone be trusted to safely navigate the streets of Springfield.
And that’s why I married Matt. He’s the perfect ying to my yang. He likes the inner pieces of a brownie; I like the edge. He likes a little bit of spaghetti sauce; I like a lot. He is cool, calm and collected while I’m frazzled, frenzied and fried.
And, best of all, that guy knows how to get around. He can navigate with the best of them.
So when Matt found himself parked in a hospital bed last week, he left me, navigator of the year, to fend for myself.
Now getting to the hospital is no biggie for me. I’ve had four kids and have visited that section of Springfield regularly. But once inside those walls, unless I’m heading to labor and delivery, I’m lost.
My handicap may seem ridiculous to those of you who can get around with ease. But if you were to spin me around in even a semi-circular motion, I would be lost. It’s a problem.
Add elevators, no sleep, multiple strangers and stress — forget about it.
I was a mess.
Every time I left Matt’s room (which, of course, was on the top floor of the hospital totally away from EVERYTHING I might have needed, including my car), I had to psych myself up.
My pep talk and deep breaths gave me the false confidence I needed to exit the room without the look of a lost mental patient.
And when I finally found the elevator, I was nearly home free.
Just one other problem. Since there was a little bank of elevators — four to be exact — and you were stuck riding whichever one came first, I was always turned around after I exited.
I had to stop and reorient myself before moving. I’m sure this little quirk of mine was a little annoying for all those who knew exactly where to go.
It was all so stressful I don’t know how I survived.
But I did.
And, more importantly, Matt did.
And I think that if I hadn’t had all the direction drama, I might have worried about him more.
In a weird way, my inability to get from one place to another kept me distracted enough to keep me from losing my cool in more important areas.
While I sit here with those turbulent few days left only in my memory, I am thankful.
I am thankful my partner is safe and returning to his optimal health.
I am thankful we had family and friends to help with the kids and animals and other logistical parts of our life.
I am thankful for the prayers that sustained Matt and me and our family.
I am thankful for our God, who answered those prayers.
And last, but definitely not least, I’m thankful to live in a place where I only rarely find myself lost.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Just the other day

Just the other day, I was a kid.
Just the other day, life was simple.
Just the other day, we were walking down the graduation aisle, toilet papering people’s houses and cruising around the square.
When did we grow up?
I don’t feel “grown up.” But does anybody ever really feel ready to take on life as an adult?
Memory lane was reopened last week and, thankfully, only happy memories came to the surface.
Like when a childhood friend and I dumped an entire bottle of liquid glue into another classmate’s school box.
But he totally deserved it. And I, consequently, totally deserved being sent to the principal’s office in (wait for it) KINDERGARTEN!
(I’ve always been a parent pleaser!)
Or the slumber parties. Water wars with enemy girls from higher grades.
Police were called and we were all told to go to bed.
Dance competitions. Show Choir rehearsals. Home games.
We were all so innocent back then.
There were no bills. There was no stress besides the who’s mad at who and the other inevitable middle and high school drama.
But then we grew up and moved away from the sheltered existence of our youth.
I think most adults long for the days of no bills and real responsiblities.
I don’t want to go back to being a teen, but I certainly would love to be that carefree for a few more years. Maybe if I knew then what I know now I wouldn’t rush the growing up process.
I would savor sleeping in. I would appreciate someone else cooking my meals, buying my groceries, driving me to and fro.
I would forget about having a boyfriend and just hang with my pals.
And we would laugh.
Because that’s the thing I remember most about my youth.
Laughter. Gut-wrenching, pee-in-your-pants, tears-freely-flowing laughter.