Friday, April 13, 2012

Conversations in the Car with my Two Year Old

Claire (All concerned-like): "I don't like that noise."
Lindsay: "What is the noise?"
Claire: "It's windy."
Lindsay: "Oh, you don't like the wind? Does it scare you?"
Claire: "Yeah... it's scary."
Lindsay: "Do you remember when it was really windy outside? We're all better now, though."
Claire: "Yeah."
Lindsay: "What did we do when it was windy?"
Claire: "We runned away."
Lindsay: "Yes, we ran away, and now we're safe. Where did we run to?"
Claire: "Runned to the floor."
Claire (Slight pause in conversation): "Mama? Can I see my oatmeal?"
And just like that, the conversation was over. I don't know what the experts say about talking to your kids about scary or stressful or near-death experiences. I was just winging it and prompting her with questions I thought were safe and not probing to ask her anything she wasn't already remembering in her tiny, 767-day-old brain. (That's 2 years, 1 month, and 5 days for those busting out the abacus.)
She is clearly weary of the wind. I wouldn't go so far as to say she's scared of it, or even terrified, just cautious. When she hears it, it's like her ears perk up like a dogs and she looks toward the window. Bless her poor little heart. She shouldn't be stressed over this, even if just slightly. At one point during the tornado's brief visit on/near/beside our house, while we were cowering on the floor in the corner of the basement, I lifted my head up and looked over my shoulder. It was probably during those few seconds while I watched the actual tornado that she, too, watched the actual tornado. It wasn't just "strong winds due to the tornado", it was "that is a tornado right there". At the time, obviously, I wasn't thinking "don't let her see this for it will scare/scar/traumatize her". I was thinking "this sucks so badly that we're going to die right now." So I can't really reprimand myself for allowing her to see it, but I feel really sorry that she is on alert when she hears even the slightest howl of the wind.
But still, I don't think I'm giving her enough credit here. Right after we were done with our ten-second tornado talk, she asked to see her oatmeal. Which I had just microwaved about two minutes before and put into a disposable bowl and had set it on the front seat of the car for the drive to daycare. Because she was so excited to eat the oatmeal and wanted to see it to make sure I hadn't lost it and that it was still waiting for her to eat after our fifteen minute car ride. And then after I showed it to her, she was on to her next task, which is requesting to listen to "Adeley I Heard". Which is, of course, Adele's Someone Like You.
Bless her heart indeed.

Monday, April 2, 2012

People Are Nice

People are nice. People are very nice.

In the midst of an anxiety-filled week (see here, and here), my friend wrote me a concerned email. She was worried that I was super stressed (check!) and reminded me that I needed to de-stress for my avocado baby. She was right! She gave me a couple of ideas; one was to write a gratitude journal, and another was to re-read my blog archives.

An aside, this was nice of her: when she offered up her suggestions, she also acknowledged (I am paraphrasing and putting words into her mouth!) that she was in no shape to be doling out advice because she had no idea what I was going through, and she did ask "am I making things worse [by suggesting these things]?" which I thought was nice of her to say. In fact, she did not make things worse, I truly appreciated her email and words of wisdom. But in hindsight, it was a really nice thing to say. To at least acknowledge that she had no idea what to say in case she said the wrong thing, she preemptively apologized. Don't know why, but it struck me as nice. Aside over.

OK, so first: gratitude journal. I haven't started one per se, but here is my first list.

Here are some ways in which people have been unbelievably nice to me and my family:

  1. The tornado happened on Thursday evening. (5:46 p.m. EST to be exact.) By Friday morning, my brother's co-workers had gone to Walmart, purchased clothes and shoes and a gift card for Claire, and also cleaned their kids closets for some hand-me-down clothes for Claire. They don't even know me! They know my brother! How incredibly nice is that? I was beyond touched by this.
  2. This morning I received a package at work. I never receive packages at work, so I was instantly curious. The return address label had a man's name that I had never heard of, all the way from Sedona, Arizona. I live in Dexter, Michigan. I have no family nor friends in Arizona, so who is this mystery man? I opened the box and inside was a quilt. There was no card, but one corner of the quilt said it was made by the Red Rocks Quilters. I showed my coworker and we put two and two together. You see, there was a VP of Quality at my company who worked here for about two years. She retired about 1-2 years ago. During her brief-ish stay in Michigan, she lived in Dexter. I'm taking some liberties in connecting the dots here, but I'm assuming she reached out to some people at work (CEO? HR?) to see if anyone at work was affected by the tornado. And she and her quilting club made me a quilt and sent it to my work. Now, I barely worked with this woman. I don't think I ever directly talked with her, I was in a few large meetings where both she and I were in attendance, and she certainly didn't know who I was. So she sent me, a virtual stranger, a quilt in the mail, anonymously. I put two and two together because I mentioned the man's name on the return address and my coworker confirmed that's her husband's name - they have different last names. How touching is that?
  3. Claire's school (daycare) had two families that were affected by the tornado. One being us, the other being a family with two kids (and the mom is also 3 months pregnant!). The other family sustained much more damage to their house (I believe a majority of it was leveled) and the mom was home with her kids, as was I. School asked how they could help, and I relayed to them that Claire's books had been trashed by the tornado, and how sad I was about that. So many people donated books to us that she now has more books than she had before. (I feel guilty about this; people were too nice!) Also, people donated cash and gift cards. When the director tried to give half of it to me, I declined, knowing the other family had much worse damage than us. Eventually, there was an envelope with money and gift cards in my school mailbox, so I don't know if the other mom insisted on splitting the money or what. I'll never know. Many people have asked how they can help, and just asked how things are going, which I am so grateful for. Sometimes even just someone genuinely asking how things are going is a gift. Even if I unload on them for a couple of minutes, it takes a weight off of my shoulders that I didn't realize was there.
  4. Daycare offered us a tuition break - which is above and beyond wonderful of them. I know that we have homeowners insurance, but I still have a sneaking suspicion that when all is said and done, we may not come out the same money-wise. I feel we'll end up fronting more money out of our pockets than we think we will, so this tuition break is essentially cash back into our wallets, which was so, so, so nice of them.
  5. I'm not a popular blogger by any stretch of the imagination, but I have received some really awesome blog comments from Meghan, Grace, Stephanie, Jessica, and Amber. Some of the comments have been downright therapeutic, I swear. I should have paid them to comment.
  6. We've received a ton of emails, texts, Facebook messages, calls, gift cards, gifts, flowers, offers to babysit, offers to dog-sit, and other forms of support from friends, family members, and coworkers. Even a friend I haven't talked to or seen in several years sent me a card and gift card. The words people put in the cards have been so, so nice. It makes me wonder how on earth I can ever give back like people have given to me. With each card, gift, or offer of support, I would holler (or text, or email) to Nick and say "Nick! We REALLY need to start giving back."
To say I am grateful for the support we've received sounds so shallow. But I'm not sure what other word to use, so I'm sticking with it. Grateful. And as I alluded to, it has reminded me that we really need to take a look at how we can give back with our time, resources, strengths, and energy. We owe the world big time. We are so grateful.

NOW... onto the second idea my friend offered me as a way to de-stress. Re-reading some of my old blog archives. I started blogging in 2001, like, ELEVEN years ago. All here on this very same blogspot page. I never made any attempt to capitalize on blogging like so many others have (smartly) done, it was more of an online journal. So when I look back to archives, such as this, and this, and this [edited: links below], I just laugh and laugh at how... random and loopy I was. Like I said, I wasn't blogging for an audience by any stretch of the imagination, it was just to help me remember random fun times in college, random emo times in college, and other random things that came up. There wasn't (and still isn't) a rhyme or reason to my posts, I don't have a style or a purpose or any incentives to post, I just do it for shits and giggles.