If a picture could say a thousand words, this one would simply say, “October.” Best laid plans…rough outcome. I’m obsessed with fall like the rest of the country, and in my head I had this month figured out. I was feeling back to my old self, I had outings planned, the month would be perfection, we deserved a fabulous fall after this summer. (Never a good way of thinking.) And while we had some great times to be sure, the month threw in some curve balls that overall just left me whipped, feeling like I’d backtracked several giant steps in getting back to our “normal.”
It began when an ambulance showed up at a neighbor’s house early in the morning. I’d just hosted a neighborhood ladies night, so now I knew this sweet lady, and as I stood in my driveway watching the stretcher being lifted into the back of the truck my heart broke for the fear that accompanies watching someone you love drive away in flashing lights. My mind instantly went back to our experience. Screaming at the paramedics to please, please, just RUN!… into our house. Watching Shepherd being placed on a stretcher. Climbing in the front seat of the ambulance, someone buckling me in. Being told I couldn’t go in to the back where they were working on Shepherd. Begging the young driver for information on what he thought our outcome would be. Cursing the cars that wouldn’t move out of the way fast enough. The memories just wouldn’t stop coming. Thankfully, neighbor is home and doing fine but seeing that ambulance parked down the street left me strung out for the better part of a week, or more. The images I had become skilled at packing away in the back of my mind crept forward with a vengeance. It’s incredible to me how when you think you’ve got it all under control you can be utterly humbled in mere minutes….that stretch on for days.
Upping the ante, Shepherd and his mini partner in crime, Charlotte, decided to take their drama party to whole new level of horror in honor of Halloween. Picture Shep behind his door throwing things and screaming every obscene thing he can think of because Mom and Dad took away all his Legos that he refused to clean up. “I HATE this! You’re the worstest mommy and daddy EVER!” Literally just the tip of the iceberg of fun-loving phrases from Shepherd James. The rest of them are not even worth writing down. It was one of those nights where you seriously wonder how it will feel to vist your kid in jail in 15-20 years. I consoled myself with the knowledge that my own mom was imagining her jail visits with me at about this stage in the parenting game. Erron was less amused then me…and understandably so. The undercurrent of this behavior leaves us way more stressed then it used to. We are well aware Shep comes by this drama naturally, this was not our first showdown with him… we get his age, and what being 3-4 can look like. But we also know that the part of your brain used to regulate emotions is one of the first parts compromised in drowning. And we’ve seen some of that in Shep. It leaves us feeling frustrated, guilty, and wringing our hands when it comes to the correct path of discipline.
Overall, October drove me to do things I wouldn’t normally do, such as ripping open Halloween candy in the middle of the Wal-Mart isle to appease both whining kids and keep myself from screaming. Or, taking a walk down to the cul-de-sac to meet other moms and kids, pushing a giant double Bob loaded with kids and toys in one hand and a large plastic wine glass of chardonnay in the other. This was a new low for me, I’m more of a “special occasion” drinker, and I’m certainly not an advocate for drinking and operating large, heavy equipment such as a double jogger. But everyone has their limits…I had reached mine at 4:00 and we were pushing 6:30. I would have filled up our sports bottle with my adult beverage if I’d had to wait much longer for “adult” time in the cul-de-sac while the littles ran free. All that to say, I am ready for November and all of her thankfulness. I’m not the first one to catch on to the fact that the best way to break out of a funk is to focus on all the good you’ve been given. And we have that in spades. Besides, October wasn’t all bad. Halloween came with Char looking like the cutest Tinker Bell I’ve ever seen, and Shep dressed as Peter Pan …literally screaming “I LOVE trick-or-treating!!” as he spastically ran through the neighborhood. So thank you for that, October, see you next year.