Parenting with Pastor Shaye: Surviving with the Occasional Thriving
I don't know about ya'll, but I've been feeling a little bit of stress lately. I am going to assume everyone knows what's been going on in the country and in the world, and skip straight over the rehashing of that mess. What you might not know, and why would you, is that I have Fibromyalgia and a condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia. These are things that do not like stress. I don't know all the whys and wherefores, but basically stress = lots of physical discomfort. Long story short, I spend a lot of time taking it easy, more time than I am at all comfortable with, and practice a lot of de-stressing methods.
Halloween was last Saturday, and I decided to ignore all of that discomfort. My allergies were out of control, I was physically miserable, but we had planned family costumes and I was determined we were going to enjoy them! Also, I love Halloween. We always have a good time, and I wanted to make sure that we had an extra good time this year, despite all the differences. I rested as much as I could earlier on that day, and then we got to it. We decorated and filled bags for the neighborhood kids and set them at the end of the driveway. We drew in chalk all around the bags to let the kids know which ones were allergy friendly and that we'd really rather prefer they only take a bag a piece. We stood in the driveway and shouted across to the neighbors about our plans. We ate Tip Top pies for dinner (going to go ahead and recommend those pies. They are awesome!), and then we went in and got all dressed up. This year we went for a Pokemon theme. My son went as Ash and had his little sister as his sidekick, Pikachu. My husband and I went as team Rocket. We aren't twenty anymore, so we skipped the James and Jessie type Rocket and went straight for the Pokemon Go version. I have never done mini skirts and crop tops, and I'm not starting now, thank you very much. We masked up and decided to walk around the neighborhood and see what we saw. It was incredible! Some people put bags on the end of the driveway. Some had candy bowls out on the doorsteps, and everyone wore masks. There was an entire street in our neighborhood who collectively decided to do candy shoots on their railings! Each house had people at their doorways and they'd send candy down the railings through specially made shoots to the trick or treaters at the bottom. Watching mini witches and Pikachus ducking candy coming at them 10 miles an hour is a great sight. Everywhere we looked, we saw people going that extra mile to make Halloween memorable and safe during a difficult time. We must have walked two miles, checking out all of the unique ways our neighbors were celebrating Halloween.
And okay, I paid for it the next day. Geoff paid for it too, by picking up my slack. It was beyond worth it. In a time when everything is chock full of stress and anxiety, when each day feels more perilous than the day before, we grabbed a chunk of time and made it into the special and awesome. Sure, it wasn't a big and wild family vacation, or a splashy event with all the bells and whistles, but it was ours and our neighborhood's and I'm going to carry that night with me for a good long while.
Now, that night didn't fix all the other bad days. Wednesday just flat out sucked. I woke up with an emotional hangover and through the roof anxiety. I figured on a day of just general awfulness. However, while Saturday didn't provide an emotional and physical cushion for Wednesday, the memory of Saturday did give me pause. Instead of wallowing in the badness, the kids and I made chocolate chip banana bread. It was a mess and it's own definite kind of stress, but we made it and shared some with a neighbor. Sure, maybe it wasn't created in the cleanest and calmest environment, but we all survived the eating. Geoff got home from work and I took some anxiety meds, (sometimes all of the homebaking and deep breathing in the world can't solve the anxiety and that's when medication and professional help saves lives) and I went to bed. I woke up and Thursday was a little easier.
I think that is how we get through this time. We capture the good when we can. We wring the crap out of that good and use it for all that it's worth when we have too. And sometimes we take prescribed medication and give ourselves permission to get that extra sleep. With a little grace, a lot of love, and treasured moments of real joy, we'll survive to see another day.