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Don’t fight the feelings.

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Don’t fight the feelings.

Don't fight the feelings

Each day, my sons and I drive to see my parents who are “boarding” at my sister’s house about twenty minutes away. This is a beloved new ritual in our new normal.  My parents and sister’s family all congregate on the second-floor deck while we stay on the grass below. We play charades and make up random games. As a fun bonus, each visit they throw something down to us. I’ve gotten toilet paper, some really fine wine, and sanitizing wipes. When we’re hungry they throw us snacks. Because of my poor catching skills, I was forced to eat Tostitos off of the grass. (I was worried about food supplies at the time so don’t judge.)

As we drove to one of these visits, I got a call from a leader of one of the state associations we regularly deal with. “Denise, I was feeling down and thought I’d call you, the most positive person I know,” she began with. Hmmm…the most positive person she knows?! I didn’t have the heart to tell her what I wanted to:

  • I broke down sobbing three times today. (And I don’t want to waste precious tissues that might need to magically transform into toilet paper one day, so I’m a sniffling, snotty mess when I do it.)
  • I am yelling “Go home!” like a crazy lady at random teenagers packed into cars and breaking social distancing rules. (I am currently trying to figure out how to do a citizen’s arrest while keeping 6-ft away.)
  • I got into a fight with someone who commented on a friend’s social media post about nursing home staff doing nothing about spreading germs. (That made me really angry, and I’m glad that it was virtual, or I’d be quarantined in jail!)

Why am I telling you all my deep, dark secrets of how I’m dealing with our world right now?

Because it’s exactly how I should be feeling.

Years ago, when my twin boys, who are now eighteen (and have been in lock down and watched over by the new vigilante me since this began), were just a few months old, I went back to work as a nursing home administrator and was completely overwhelmed. With EVERYTHING. Both my boys had colic and screamed ALL day and ALL night. My greatest joy was getting into the driver’s seat after putting them in their car seats because I would have three seconds of peace when all the car doors were closed. 

I had a stressful job. I got zero sleep. There were mornings I would wish the house would just collapse on me because I couldn’t take it any longer.

And then one day at Weight Watchers (don’t judge, there’s some great leadership lessons to be learned there and the mint bars are fabulous), I was talking to a facilitator who asked how I was doing. I told her the truth. 

I should be happy, but I’m not. But how dare I not be? I have healthy newborns! I have a husband who helps me with them! I can afford to care for my children! I should be overjoyed!

She simply said to me, “You have two newborns that scream all day. You aren’t sleeping. You have a demanding job. You are feeling overwhelmed, and that is exactly how you should be feeling.”

That is exactly how you should be feeling. 

I have never forgotten those words. They are what is getting me through the tough days that we are all experiencing.  

So, now I will ask you to repeat after me…
This is exactly how I should be feeling right now.
This is exactly how I should be feeling right now.
This is exactly how I should be feeling right now.

XO,
Denise

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