Every New Coping Skill I Practice, I Learned from My Two-Year Old Daughter

So, today…Okay, I already need to start over.  So, this past month my emotions have been a little on the hairy side.  For all of you kind Team Mac Howard supporters who have told me how strong I am and how courageous I have been…well, let’s just say that  I have you completely snowed.  What can I say?  I must be channeling my inner “she’s still got it” fuel tank which is running with a big, fat, flashing “E” (“empty” for those of you who could not get the reference–it’s okay, I love ya anyway).

To make a long story short (which coming from a southern girl is an accomplishment within itself), the little Howards and myself were suppose to be in Boston by now.  Well, we got a little sidetracked.  And by “a little” I mean an 18-wheeler of our household goods went MIA for a couple of days and our delivery date of 7/2 quickly turned into a delivery date of 7/18.  I mean really, what’s a 16-day delay when your youngest child is going through chemotherapy, you are displaced and squatting in your parents house, while your husband sleeps on an air mattress 954 miles away?  No big deal.  We have the instruction guide for this.  We cope.

With Mac’s final treatment of his second six-week cycle of chemotherapy, tentatively scheduled for 7/22, we (the family collective) decided it would just be best for us to finish this round of treatment before making the move.  So basically, I, a 33-year old woman with my two-year old daughter and 13-month old son are rambunctiously interrupting the schedule(s) of my loving, so-defined-by-their-routine-I-fear-for-my-future, golden-age+ parents.  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Let me preface this verbal rant (or, is it already too late?) by saying my parents are some of the best, if not THE best parents that can be found.  Okay, okay, so I’m a little biased (plus, I know they will read this and regardless of my age, I’m still a little scared of them–daD, at least).  The door to my parents house is always open–just ask my daD, as he has expressed his annoyance with me locking the door to the garage. Locked garage doors ≠ “doors open at all times.”  I understand.  Truly, I do:  my daD works hard.  Very hard.  He is one of the hardest working men I know.  As the saying goes, “grass doesn’t grow under his feet.”  So when he gets home, he wants to open the door and be home.  Instead, since the wrath of the Howards has washed up on his shore, he is greeted by a child-safety device, coupled with a locked deadbolt.  Which, I think he bears mentioning that my little Houdini of a toddler can still manage to open…it merely slows her down from chugging the oil and eating the kitty-litter that reside on the garage floor.

Let’s get down to “brass-tacks,” as my husband would say.  Everyone around me, including myself, knows my parents are saints and that it is my momentary (hopefully, it’s just momentary) lapse of rational Amanda / emotional Amanda that tend to throw a monkey-wrench into things.  Everything my parents say, I internalize.  E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.  My mom saying, “I’m tired,” results in a semi-teenage-reminiscent rant of, “We will be gone soon enough.  And then what?  You will miss us but then it will be too late.”  Ugh…I’m embarrassed to even type those words, much less admit that I felt them and then verbalized them.  “I’m going out with your aunt” does not mean, “you guys are driving me bat-$h!t crazy and I want to get away from you.”  Well, that’s mom’s story and she’s sticking to it.  So, this is where I am.  I’ve always considered myself a well-balanced, never-been-the-crazy girl, girl.  However, I’m starting to feel a little “abby-normal.”

All these rambling thoughts and emotions have come to a head twice in just our three week stay…Just three more to go!  I have a feeling my shenanigans can give any teenage girl in this county a run for their money.  I’m embarrassed, ashamed, and self-destructing. But it’s what I feel.  I know logically things are not as I see them, but try telling that to my ever-breaking heart.

Speaking to my mom with a red face and tears running down my face, I told her, maybe I’m going about it all wrong.  Maybe I don’t need to cope with a glass of wine (or two, or three) or blog, or stay up late watching mindless television*…maybe I should follow Bleiler’s lead.  That sweet  2-year old went to bed crying, crying, crying.  Do you know what made her stop?  A tutu.  A tutu and four plastic bracelets.  Her manic, tear-soaked, red-face, was instantly cured and topped with a sweet giggle thanks to a life-altering tutu and $1 bracelets from Target.  “I’m a good girl, momma and Mac is a good boy.” <biggest heart-melt EVER>  So, with that being said, if you ever find me lying / sleeping in a tutu with four bracelets, don’t judge me, it’s just how I cope.

*Television – The Howard family has not had “real” tv in our home for over 2 years.  So, whenver I am in the presence of television (especially cable television), I resemble a deer in headlights.


6 thoughts on “Every New Coping Skill I Practice, I Learned from My Two-Year Old Daughter

  1. Love it! By the way, just say the word and I can make you a tutu any day. 😉 Made one for M for Halloween! I wouldn’t blame you.

  2. I want a pic of you in your tutu. Your parents don’t mind you being there. It is just a big adjustment after there being just the two of them. It is hard on everyone. Just be thankful that soon you will have a home to go to. So many people don’t in this day and age.

  3. One of my favorite phrases found all over in the Bible is, “It came to pass.” For some reason, it has really resonated with me, especially in the last 4 months. No matter what it is in front of us that has come our way, it is bound to pass. The days (and weeks and months) may be long and probably feel unbearable, but they will undoubtedly pass, as sure as seasons change. Take it in stride, and if the tutu and dollar bracelets make it tolerable, please let me know. You won’t be the only momma trying it on for size! 🙂 ❤

  4. Dress uP!!! Even at 33, you should rock some dress up. Sometimes, you gotta blow off the “I CAN bend the world to my will” Atlas complex, and just put on a tutu and spin around. Get your Mom one too, and spin around together. Much love, LL

  5. I recall during my chemotherapy grasping at anything that would take my mind away from reality and put it into another state, so I retrieved every BBC miniseries I could grab from amazon and zoned into oblivion. The reality was still there…. The move, the wait, the crowding, the hurt, the loss of possessions into lala-land is still there for you,too. The going about everything and trying to find normal in the “abby-normal” is still there. In all of that, I finally realized that I wasn’t being still and knowing that He is God. With all of the things that were still there, I forgot to count God in the mix. With all of the horror, He was still there. Then I made sure that I didn’t waste too much time-I still needed to fall in love with God everyday. When He became my reality, truly my reality, then I realized that getting to know Him, our God, is the best coping skill ever. Amanda, I love you, as B copes in her little tutu way with bracelets in tow, do the same but realize that your mind will never be at rest if you do not dance with the Father……Phyl.

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