You know… LIFE.
I blogged the day before my birthday last week and was all like, “man… things have been wild… I’ll blog more soon.”
Then everything hit a very big, very messy life fan.
Napkin decided to stay home from work for my birthday (which was wonderful, because we never get to spend time with each other) and we just lulled around doing nothing before deciding to go out for “breakfast” at 2:30 in the afternoon. It was a chilly day and I had a perfect latte and a weird omelette in this neat little diner across town. Then we took a walk at the nearby arboretum. Later that afternoon, we decided to meet up with a few friends and hit up the North Carolina State Fair– which is a very big deal when you live in North Carolina– and an ESPECIALLY big deal when you live in the state capital, where the fair takes place. We have gone to the fair every year since we started dating. I don’t think either of us really enjoy it anymore… but it’s one of those habits that has become a sweet joke so we keep going.
This year’s fair visit started out well… we decided to do something other than ride scary rides and eat a ton of weird, fried foods. Napkin had read about some of the more Carolina-centric things that go on at the State Fair so we piled into a tiny little area and watched one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen: Pig Racing.
(Sorry for the weirdo Iphone camera angle thing.)
It was super adorable. We were on cold metal seats next to tiny babies and people who were legitimately stoked about the fair and life just seemed really funny and simple. I had a great time.
Shortly afterwards, things got weird. Apparently, people were thrown from a ride at the fair and the night just became ominous and strange. The weather was dropping fast and so was everyone’s energy level and things just felt strange, you know?
Jammer was there with me. We basically ditched our dudes to go ride some pretty lack luster rides before deciding to call it a night. On the way home, my Mom called Napkin. I could tell that something was wrong pretty quickly just by watching his face. After he got off the phone with her he wouldn’t tell me why she had called him so things got super awkward for all of us in the car. We got home and all said quick goodbyes. Once we were alone, Napkin told me that my grandfather had died. It was sudden.
My instinctual thoughts were immediately about my sister– who was really close with him. Something about events like these; loss, disaster, that sort of thing… I just blank out. I am a pretty emotional person but I’ve come to realize that my being emotional doesn’t necessarily mean that I am in touch with what I’m feeling. Does that make sense? Like, I’ll get mad when I’m actually sad about something totally unrelated. I’m doing a lot of feeling… but I don’t necessarily know why. In this case, I didn’t feel anything. Or maybe– I felt too much and I just shut down. I don’t know.
I talked to my mom shortly after getting the news… and then things just started spiraling out of control. It took me almost twelve hours to get in touch with my sister. There wasn’t a lot of sleeping– and there wasn’t a lot of planning– but once we spoke I knew I needed to drop everything and be with her. Napkin was incredible during this entire process– he took another day off and helped me get everything in order to take the trip to Charlotte and be with my family. It was a sad few days… but I think ultimately it helped solidify my relationship with my siblings. I was there for them and they were there for me in ways that we hadn’t really been recently and it was just a solemn reminder of how important family actually is.
After my grandfather was laid to rest, it was hard for me to get back in the swing of things. Napkin and I drove back to our house and our life together but I was just distracted and removed from everything. I would have these moments where I just needed to be around him, or I needed to hear my sister’s voice… but otherwise I was just distant from my own brain. October had been a tough month. Our bathroom remodeling process is a huge job that neither of us were prepared for, my car broke down, we had all sorts of out-of-the-blue problems, and at some point during the weekend of my grandfather’s funeral, someone hit Napkin’s car in a parking deck.
So when my dryer stopped working a few days ago, I allowed myself a few minutes to sob on the laundry room floor. It wasn’t really about the dryer. It was just everything. It took the dryer breaking for me to finally break a little bit and feel all of the things that October had thrown at me. For a minute, I was just a mess.
I didn’t tell Napkin that I had experienced a full-on breakdown that afternoon, but when we talked about October and all of its problems over dinner, we took a second to sigh and wish on the Universe for a break. I could see in Napkin’s face that he was just as overwhelmed.
As the last week of October barreled on, I took some really good advice from my Mom-In-Law and let myself make mental lists of the good in my life. Whenever I would get down about things, I would think up something that made me feel better, or remind myself to be thankful for a positive thing in my life. It helped me balance out my brain a little bit- and by the time October was over, I had reconnected with family, cleaned up some of the messes in my house, found myself with new business opportunities and my sweet husband had fixed the dryer all by himself. Just for me.
So maybe, in an extreme way, all of this served a purpose. Don’t forget to love the people who are close to you. Be thankful for what you have. Don’t miss out on opportunities to see the good in your day to day life. Don’t waste precious time.
I’ll miss you Papaw.