This has been one of the longest weeks that I can remember… and it’s not over.
Those close to me know that I am a very anxious person at times. It’s not something I am plagued with full-time, but often situations that are out of my control are very difficult for me to handle. This week’s weather left so many uncertainties that I was an absolute trainwreck.
My husband was in Greensboro for work and two of my kids had to get from their mom’s house to our house and the other two had to leave our house to go to their dad’s house. Mind you, Greensboro is about an hour and a half away and both of our exes live about thirty minutes from our house.
Add in the potential for “debilitating,” “crippling,” and “devastating” weather (thankyouverymuch for that national news) in the south and it’s a recipe for a mom meltdown. We are just not equipped for this kind of weather – physically or emotionally – so my anxiety has been in hyper-drive.
As a mother, one of the hardest things about my divorce has been letting go of the kids when they go to their dad’s house. It’s not that I doubt him in any way, because I know they are well taken care of and that he makes good decisions. My problem is I am not there to hold their hands. I’m not there to clean scrapes or kiss bruises or wipe tears away.
Now that my kids are older, that fear is more related to safety issues beyond my control. So this week, the potential weather had me in a frenzy with all of the “what ifs.”
What if I go in to work and the kids get out of school and I can’t get home to them? What if Joe goes to Greensboro and can’t get home to us? What if I need to go get two of our kids from their mom and I can’t drive in the snow? What if they are pulled on the back of the four wheeler at their dad’s and hit a tree? What if their step-mom gets stuck in traffic taking them out to their house and they are in danger and I can’t get to them? What if the power goes out for days and I run out of fire wood and Joe is still not home? What if the water stops working? What if… what if… what if…
If you have anxiety, then you know that all of that was running through my head AT THE SAME TIME last night while I was trying to fall asleep. I think it was close to 2am before my brain finally gave me a rest and I fell asleep.
I woke up this morning still feeling anxious until I got a text from Joe that he had gotten up and driven back to Raleigh at 5:15am to avoid any bad weather. He said he was going to pick up the two kids with their mom and would be home. I instantly felt an overwhelming sense of relief. That was a major weight off my shoulders. I had been an absolute basket-case worrying about Joe driving back in the bad weather just one day after out 9th month as husband and wife.
Thankfully, I brought my laptop home and had my calls forwarded, so I was able to work from home and didn’t have to worry about leaving my kids alone. That is such a blessing on days like today because I was able to work all morning in my bathrobe and know my kids were safe and not alone.
I can’t explain the peace I felt in my heart when my husband and two kids came walking in the door this morning. It’s that amazing feeling like a part of your heart that has been missing is back. Slowly but surely I felt peace returning in my chaotic brain. My children were picked up by their stemom and driven out to their dad’s house. The snow had just started and I was a keyed up mess for the entire 30 minute trip until I got the text that they were home safely. At that point, the snow was falling steadily and hard. The news soon after started to show people deserting their cars on snow covered roads.
My entire family was where they were supposed to be and safe, so I did what any mom would do… I took a nap. And it was such a good one. I slept hard and woke up to a beautiful snow falling out the windows by the sofa. What did I do next? I mixed a little drink and took a long hot shower… and then painted my toenails. We cooked a nice dinner and ate together as a family (minus two).
Unless you are a mother, you cannot possibly understand the realm of emotions I have felt today – fear, hope, worry, love, relief, peace. I have hugged all four of my kids a little harder today. I have snuggled with my husband while watching the weather. I talked to my kids earlier at their dad’s house and was relieved to hear their voices (again). I’m so thankful that they enjoy talking to me and telling me all about their day because I just can’t get enough of them. I hung up with an “I love you so very much” and a smile… My cup has runneth over with love today as I have dealt with my fears and seen God take over and keep everyone safe. It was one of those days where if I could actually hear God speak, then I am pretty sure he said, “Val, chill out… I got this.”
And then just to ease my stress even more, I got the call from work that our office is closed tomorrow. That means when I climb into bed with my handsome husband in a few minutes, I can sleep well knowing that even if the power goes out or if the ice storm really does cause damage, we are safe at home… together.
The house is quiet right now, but I am not lonely. My husband may be asleep in his recliner and two of our kids may be snoozing away already upstairs, but my heart is happy just because being a mom has to be the scariest but most rewarding job I have ever had in my life. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.