When I look back on 2017 I realize that there are some really big things that I have kept to myself. Some of it I was just too ashamed to share at the time. Then there were other things happening that seemed really great but I didn’t want to get my hopes up if it all fell apart. So I have a ton to catch you all up on but I’ll break it up into two parts.
First the bad news.
January started out with Elle getting hearing aids. I feel like I have failed her in my consistency with keeping her hearing aids on. She likes to pull them off and it is really stressful. So that was the first thing on my plate in 2017. Moving right along to February we found a realtor, a loan officer, and a house in no time at all! I wrote out all the fun details in “Our New House“. What I didn’t share was how March (the month that we closed) was beyond stressful and I had an all-out nervous breakdown. I was truly ready to check myself into a mental health facility. It’s been almost a year since then and I feel like I can finally open up about what happened.
I already mentioned the hearing aids. Elle had two therapists and an IFSP. Meanwhile, Ezie was also diagnosed with a speech delay. No big deal, but he had his own therapy and IEP. Obviously, SJ is also on a special education plan and Z has commitments like Cub Scouts, science night, and wax museum presentation (which he did great in by the way until he threw up. True story.)
So anyway I’m spinning my usual plates while trying to get into a new house and have a yard sale to sell all the things we don’t want to move. While all this was happening our landlord wants to rent out our rental house immediately which means she has to show it while we live there. And she showed it A LOT! So I had to clean up the house, try to make it look like we aren’t in the middle of big upheaval and get myself, and the kids out every other day. She often gave us very little notice and one time showed up while we were at church and didn’t even tell us.
One day the landlord shows up with some people to show the house and in my haste to get out I back out of my own driveway where they were parked TERRIBLY crooked and I bumped into the potential tenant’s vehicle. It was just paint, but still, I had to go in and explain. I apologized. We exchanged insurance. I wanted to die.
The NEXT DAY I went to Kentucky for a photo shoot and on my way back I get back to back urgent calls from J and the loan officer explaining why we need to deposit some money in a certain account a certain way and I need to go to a certain city in Ohio immediately. The kids were about to be out of school so I actually had to pick up SJ early in order to make this all happen. I know I am being vague here, but the details don’t matter other than
1. It was urgent and stressful.
2. It was a city I was unfamiliar with.
3. I had to drive to several places in a short amount of time.
And I did it. Mission accomplished. I texted everybody. I even sent a picture of the important documents that I now had. Then on my way out while in traffic, I am yelling at the kids in the back who want me to look at something and I thought traffic was moving and it wasn’t. That’s when I rear-ended the person in front of me.
It doesn’t look that bad, but I couldn’t even open my door to get out. The van was towed and J was too far away to pick me up. So I had to ride in a police car to be taken to the sheriff’s station. There was only room for two people so Ezie and SJ had to ride in a different patrol car. Talk about a nightmare!
A couple days later we closed on the house. I couldn’t even go to the final walk-through because I still didn’t have a rental car. Once I did get the rental we tried to move our stuff into the new house without help because my family was out of town and we were too proud to ask anyone else. It was all a crazy mess.
I don’t even know what we were thinking, but at least we were in our new house.
We were happy for one day. Then athree out of the four kids got a stomach bug and started puking.
That’s how we found out the washer that came with the house didn’t work. I tried to do laundry and it started smoking. At least we still had access to our old washer and dryer just ten minutes away. Not ideal, but better than nothing.
There I was in a house I didn’t know yet, with hardly any furniture and driving a car that I wasn’t familiar with. As a mother of four, I can go with the flow, but I function best on rhythm and routine. You move one thing in my house of cards and it could cause everything to collapse. In this case everything was out of place but I had to keep the routine going.
Almost a week from wrecking my van I went to pick up Z from a friend’s apartment. She used to drop him off at our house after school, but then we moved! So I am at this apartment complex and the rental car scrapes this decorative boulder when I backed out. Keep in mind I was driving SUPER cautiously at this time after all I had been through. I was terrified of getting in another wreck. Despite all of that the car was lower to the ground than I am used to and I just COULD NOT SEE this dang boulder. At least we had renters insurance if there were any cosmetic damages. The real problem came when I pulled into my driveway and the car started beeping. It was overheating! The rock that I hit caused it to leak anti freeze!
That meter on the bottom of this photo should not be pointed to the red line! So there I was. I had just had my third wreck in less than 10 days. What was I going to do now? My whole world was unraveling and I couldn’t even trust myself anymore. What was wrong with me!? J came home and tried to get me to calm down. I felt sick. I was having muscle spasms. At that point, the tow truck was almost there. The rental car was in my name and I was expected to ride in the tow truck to get the replacement rental car. Thankfully J made a call to the rental company to see if he could ride with the tow truck driver instead of me. It was complicated but they agreed to it and off he went. After he left I literally collapsed on the floor of my empty living room and was sobbing.
My kids surrounded me wanting to know what was wrong and I told them that I was sick. Then the doorbell rang.
You have to be kidding me. I was in the middle of an actual panic attack and we had company!? Z went and answered the door. I didn’t have the energy to stop him. Then our realtor came in and saw me on the ground. She immediately went into rescue mode. She asked where J was and what was going on. After a few moments I was able to regain my composure and told her everything and how I had wrecked my third car in a row. In that moment she was like an angel sent from the Lord. She started comforting me and working on a game plan. She asked what I needed and I said “I don’t know. Bananas and diapers?” So she went to the store and came back with all that and then some, including a big tub of ice cream. J took the next two days off work to be there for me and help out. Our realtor checked up on me a lot after that and encouraged me to get help. I never sought any kind of professional help. I’m sure I should have. It takes money though and it just never happened. I did confide in friends and a spiritual advisor.
Eventually I got my van back and we had our washer replaced thanks to the home warranty. Things started to calm down as we got settled. What was supposed to be one of the happiest milestones of my life turned out to be a dark and confusing time that I hope to never relive.
There was a light at the end of the tunnel though. I’ll share the happy part of the story next!