Earlier this week I made some chicken broth with the intention of making soup.
This is something I do weekly. Coming back from two vacations, it seemed extra important to jump back into routine and do something normal.
It has been seven days now and still the broth sits.
Seems that normal was not to be this week.
It wasn’t until after a few hours that I started to lose hope and a little bit of my sanity. It was around this time that I decided to write a song that included an awesome drum solo (by which I mean me hitting the steering wheel with two pens I found under the seat).
The cars scream past and nobody sees you
Their music is loud and they cannot hear you
The screams in your head do nothing to calm you
The danger you feel is real only to you
You are all alone
You are all alone
Nobody sees you, sees you
You are all alone
You are all alone
Nobody is going to save you, save you
You might say that I lost some perspective.
No. This was not a zombie apocalypse, my friends.
Not even close.
My car broke down.
Everything started blinking, all power shut-off and I just barely made it to the side of the road.
At first I was all business. I called my husband.
“Call the tow truck,” he said.
OK. So I called the towing number on my insurance card.
“Stay with your vehicle and someone will be there shortly,” the woman said.
Then my cell phone screen went black and it refused to turn back on.
It was as dead as my car.
No biggie. Help is on the way. I will just get a loaner car and be at school in time to pick up the kids.
I rummage the car looking for something to read.
I find nothing.
Two geese fly by honking loudly.
A drug deal takes place.
Maybe nobody is coming? What if they are trying to call me? How long should I wait?
Several lizards sunning themselves next to my car are startled when I stage an impromptu rock concert.
Another drug deal takes place.
Hope lost, I climb into the back of the car and cry like a 5-year-old. Who am I kidding? It was way more like that end-of-the-world cry that darling 2-year-olds make.
A homeless man opens the car door and asks if I need help.
I start considering walking for it, but the woman said to stay with my car. What if they come the second I start walking?
I count 30 trucks carrying dead trees before that makes me sad and I stop.
Finally a CHP officer drives by and I flag him down.
It was noon.
I’d been sitting in my car for almost 4 hours.
He calls me a new tow truck and tells me it will be $210.
“Sorry,” he says. “You can’t stay on the road.”
He lets me call my husband and I find out he is on route to pick up our boy. Apparently he got something in his eye while gardening and they had been trying to call me all morning to pick him up.
“Pick up the girl too,” I say.
The CHP officer leaves and I fear that the new tow truck will never show either.
Luckily, this one comes in 15 minutes. $210 is a strong motivator.
Family reunites at the car dealership.
The day ends with double karate lessons, a fixed car and a massive bill.
It was to be a perfect day. The sun was warm, there was a light breeze and I felt optimistic and happy.
May Day Festival.
I had a new white dress that my mom bought me. The children looked angelic in their white clothes. We cut clippings from our yard and made beautiful crowns to wear.
My phone is still broke, so I took the big camera to document the day.
I took tons of pictures of this most photogenic of days – the colorful ribbons, the blur of dancers, sibling hugs, grandma and the kids with big smiles, our annual sitting in the May Queen’s chair photo and a darling shot of my son with his beautiful teacher.
The pictures were gorgeous.
I could not wait to download them and see them in all their splendid detail.
These are pictures that will be used for our annual calendar and the kids’ birthday books. These are always some of my favorite pictures of the year.
But something happened.
I messed up the download.
The program crashed.
All the pictures are gone.
I tried to brush it off.
They are just pictures.
It’s not the end of the world.
Then I collapsed on the bed and sobbed. The kind of cry that leaves your pillow wet, your eyes red and puffy and snot smeared across your face.
I was mad, angry and regretful.
It brought up all the disappointment I feel about everything in my life right now: my home, my parenting, my writing and my weight.
This week it hit me that summer is almost here. Only a month left.
That terrifies me.
I love the freedom, flexibility and opportunity that summer offers. Swimming, play dates, camping, late dinners with friends, cherries, sleeping in, cuddles, movies, peaches and day trips.
There is so much to look forward to.
Yet, last summer that freedom provided me too much time to get lost in the chaos of my thoughts.
I don’t want that again.
I’m also very sad that I’m not better. I thought I’d enter this summer healthy, both in mind and body. Not heavier and with less ability to cope with daily stress.
I’m scared of the madness of my depression swallowing me again.
The chicken broth is still in that bowl in the fridge.
The family is waiting for me to stop letting little things like a broke car, changed plans or deleted photos end in my inability to move forward.
Tonight I will boil the broth on the stove and fill the pot with squash, onion, sweet potato, carrots, celery and quinoa.
I will let that task anchor me and bring me back from this sense of oblivion and “nothing matters.”
Soup does matter.
My family matters.
Time to stop thinking so much and just move forward.
Some days suck. That will always be true.
But the soup needs to get cooked.