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Finding Peace in the Storm

standard August 10, 2011 9 responses

I left for BlogHer with trepidation in my heart. My usual childcare provider was on vacation and I wasn’t 100% comfortable with the back-up care I secured for Little L. She turned 4 on Monday and since that was the cut-off for camp… off to camp she went for the week.

To give both girls a break from the long camp days I arranged for our favorite sitter to come spend Thursday with them. Even so, I was sure I’d get a call pertaining to Little L on Friday.

Instead I got a call about C, on Thursday morning. Fever. Cold. Cough.


Fever on Thursday means no camp on Friday, and I had no back-up. None.

I walked into the Women Create Media conference in a complete and utter tizzy. I texted all my close mom friends. I posted to my mother’s group secret Facebook page. I emailed anyone I could think of.

“I need a sitter. Any sitter. She needs to be free from 7:30am to 5pm tomorrow. Please. I’m begging.”

I hate asking for help, but I hate being in this limbo state even more.

I was eight hours away, my kid was sick, and there was nothing I could do about it.

To say that I had trouble concentrating is putting it lightly. I jumped at every text and facebook update. I obsessively checked my phone for emails. I racked my brain for names, people, anyone I could call.

After lunch the first and only nibble came through.

“I can’t do it, but my almost 14yo daughter can.”

Queue a whole new set of obsessive thoughts. I’d let a 13yo babysit my kids any evening. Evenings are easy. But could she handle a full day? Could she handle C with a fever? Could she handle it if Little L came down with the bug?

I waited another 30 minutes and finally called her mom. We talked. Realized that we know each other. Realized that she knows my girls. She promised she’s stop by three times during the day. That she’d come make them lunch. She told me about her daughter’s history with kids.

With some trepidation I agreed. It was 2pm. I was desperate. I needed a warm body to sit with the girls while they watched TV. That’s what I was willing to settle for.

For the rest of the day I was jumpy and out of sorts. I can leave home at ease if I know all the plans have been laid out and that there are back-up plans in place. I can walk away and forget about the kids and about M if I know, in my heart, that they’re fine.

On Thursday, I knew, in my heart, that they weren’t.

And then Friday came. And it was worse.

The sitter arrived on time, after a bad night for both M and the kids. And…. he didn’t think much of her.

“She’s quiet… and uh… really quiet.” He told me when I called to check-in. I could tell he wasn’t a fan. That he was torn because he had to go to work. That he was at a loss.That he needed to just hand me the stress and go focus on work.

I called her mom, then I called her. And yes, she was quiet. And maybe a bit 13yo sullen. But she was there. She was coherent. She was there. And so I hung up and tried to focus on my day.

Everything went well. The kids were fine. The sitter was fine. It wasn’t their best sitter experience… but it sure wasn’t their worst.

I wasn’t fine though. It did something to me, being away like that and unable to fix things to my satisfaction. It tore me up to have to go with the “at least she’s a warm body” option. When I leave, I want M and the kids to have a great time so that when I leave next it won’t be so hard on everyone.

I failed this time and all day I carried them around on my shoulders all through the San Diego Conference Center. M’s pain and stress. C’s fever and cough. Little L’s disappointment at not going to camp. They were with me in sessions. They were with me as I met brand reps and tried to sell myself and my company. They were even with me as I cracked jokes and spoke to a packed room.

I came home drained and broken, desperate to pick up the pieces and put my family back on solid ground.

And then news of Jennie’s husband brought me back to my knees.

Life has been beyond challenging this year. The blows just keep on coming. I routinely wonder how I’m going to keep doing it all. I actually thought that this past weekend would be my undoing.

And yet, miraculously, it hasn’t. I just keep getting up, brushing away the tears, and keep going.

Today I know that this is the stuff that will eventually make us stronger, individually, as a couple, and as a family. On Friday I’ll be joining a legion of friends who will also be baking Jennie’s husband, Mikey’s, favorite desert and serving it to their loved-ones as a grand, desert based celebration of a life cut short way too soon. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not going to fix anything for Jennie or her kids. But if it gives her a little peace to know so many are doing this one small thing, then I’m happy to do it.

I’m going to take a picture of that pie and post is somewhere I can always see it so I can remember that it’s the little things that keep us going no matter how crazy the storm can get. I invite you to do the same.

Photo by Taste of Home


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9 responses

  • Oh Jessica, I had no idea you were struggling with these inner demons in San Diego. I can only imagine how hard it was to concentrate and just keep going. The good news is that it was only one day, and if nothing else, maybe it made leaving all your friends in San Diego that much easier- wanting to go home and kiss and hug them to pieces.

    As for your friend–my heart is breaking for her and her family. Truly.

  • That peanut butter pie is going to be the best peanut butter pie we’re ever going to make, because so much love is going to go into it. I’m actually considering making Friday a “date night” and making it every friday, just in honor of Mikey. Why not, you know?

    How are things now that you’re home? Okay? I wish I could have comforted you while at BlogHer about this. You are always such a comfort to me, I would’ve jumped at the chance to return the favor, and take some of the burden from you, even if only for a little while.

  • You’re a very gifted writer- I know this post was about hard things, but it is beautifully written. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s husband. I’ve been in a snit with my hubbie today and it’s good to have a reminder to love and appreciate him. Prayers going up for you and for your friend and her family.

  • I’m sorry that its been such a sucky year. I think there’s something in the air about 2011. Here’s to hoping the rest of the year is better and 2012 is the best there’s been.

  • Oh my goodness, you are amazing. You deserve a reward.

    I was in your session, and it was the best professional one I attended (the other being the inspirational beauty one). I came to your blog because I was thinking “wow, she has it all together, I want to be her! I’m going to follow your blog”

    Now I’m going to follow your blog because I know you are an amazing woman who balances it all, takes risks, makes mistakes, etc. i love you more because you are real!

  • No one suspected in your session that anything was wrong. All of you shared some wonderful insight. You had me laughing and smiling the entire hour. And now, I have tears in my eyes from reading your post. I know what I’m making for dessert on Friday.

  • Now I’m crying again. I knew you were going through that but you still came across as completely together despite how you felt on the inside.

  • You are an amazing woman!! Thank you for sharing the struggles, and the learnings from it. And yes, every struggle, every headache, they just make us stronger. I love the pie baking idea – I didn’t know about it, but baked two cakes to surprise my hubby this week; maybe there was part of me that just felt it..? Hugs my friend! And thank you for always being there for others, even when we should be there for you better. I wish I had lived close to you, I would have taken care of your kids.

  • Stopping by from Daily Buzz Moms… leaving the kids to do something just for us is rarely without drama, is it?! I also had last minute sitter changes; although 10 days before BlogHer, not during. Happy you found some level of peace through it all

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