When life stabs you with a fork | Travelling Storyteller Photographer
No matter what your day has been like, it has been tougher for someone else.
Especially when that involved a fork in the back.
On those days where you are running behind, forgot your one and only pair of sunglasses on the last train you just left and watch it pull out of the station while you struggle to remember what you are supposed to pick up from the one and only grocery store that is going to close in 5 minutes for the next 2 days, reading the notes sent to us by others who for some reason think we are so wonderfully brave, those words of support are incredibly reassuring. Sadly they don’t keep the grocery store open any longer, but I mean when I say that those words are the wind under my wings as I sprint to the bread and cheese aisle before the lights are shut off.
When in doubt…its rather funny. period
In my minds eye, I am hilarious. In my head I weave stories into intricate webs of intrigue that delight everyone I meet. I am convinced that the time spent researching storytelling back in my camp counsellor days is paying off and I am ready to charge admission! In reality, according to anyone listening and the awkward laughing, I am making waves..mostly the scary crashy ones. My children who lack the ability to see the profound joy in my admission of my frequent French missteps and misspoken Swiss German tell me I am lame. Tony just squints at me despite my being convinced that I am regaling him with my latest chapter of “Swiss/Canadian Family Drama” of which he is a prominent character. I figure I need a broader audience. I am, however, getting ahead of myself - let me take you back.
I had a meltdown in the Manor
Exactly 6 months ago my phone stopped working. All blinky and flashy my contacts were no where, Facebook was in a state of constant stutter and no matter what I touched on the screen, I was consistently reminded that train was leaving…NOW….NOW…NOW…NOW…. Off I trudged with my flickering mess of a communication life line and despite a rather simple exchange of too much money and new iPhone gadget, I found myself in the middle of the department store restaurant with a friend and my 7 year old where…I. Had. The. Meltdown. to end all meltdowns. The ugly cry that despite my prolific use of paper napkins only managed to smudge my European mascara efforts into one big ugly mess, making the scene that much more dramatic. Graciously a dear friend recognized the signs and managed to not only quell the storm, help navigate the youngster to a waiting playground and me to a chair with a cup of coffee we both noted what I was up against. It wasn’t the loss of a phone and the need to get another despite no job…
Nothing can make a person shiver harder than the need to self reflect. At that point, we had all of life’s basics sorted out. Roof over our head and despite my nightmares it wasn’t a tent. Check. Food in the shoebox fridge. Check. Kids registered in school, albeit we had no idea what was expected of us and we were all suffering from the daily worried tummy aches. Check. Scooters to get around and a bicycles that worked. So far so good. Supportive husband…wait a second…he was still doing the forth and back from Canada…not quite then. The phone was not the problem, but the realization that with us having realized our dream, setting roots in a country that we had pined for and for things to seemingly fall into place, I saw that the inevitable was now coming my way at warp speed. Me. With the kids in school, husband on his way over and daily life sorted out…the time had now come for me to turn the mirror on myself and undo the ostrich move I had been perfecting for so long.
holy shirt-balls scary!
Growing up life was always measured by pros and cons. Good ideas and bad ones measured with one algorithm or another, people typically taunting us one way or another. But feelings…? Nah..! That was for the over feeling hippie types that I certainly wasn’t a part of. Wait a second….I took a course in basket weaving in University. I have no leg to stand on. Obviously.
my kids were right. this is hard
Despite my feeling European all of my life. Despite my knowing the languages and being welcomed by friends old and new, the change and realization of what we had just done came crashing down in the most violent of emotional rainstorms. Right there in front of our whole village. How embarrassing.
Elation, joy, sadness, frustration, the rainbow of emotions barfed all over me in that moment and in its cornucopia of bodily ticks made it impossible to talk. Thankfully I had a friend who was able to do all the conversing, manoeuvred me back onto safe ground all while being careful to keep my child from climbing onto the roof of the establishment because what better moment to do what you aren’t supposed to than when your mom is having a public meltdown?
The voices in my head
The story I was telling myself, despite my unicorn rose coloured glasses tendencies, was becoming skewed. The skies were literally grey and the drab of the day was making it hard to see the proverbial light. One brand new iPhone in my hand and I knew that making a change was going to be up to me, and so I started with what I knew how to do given that our favourite therapist was over a 10 hour plane ride away and wasn’t going to oblige my FaceTime tendencies. I told myself to see the silly in wherever I went (mostly about me)…talk about it with others (anyone who would listen) and most importantly…laugh about it (despite my looking awkward while in fits of giggles by myself). I figured it was as good a plan as ever.
It isn’t anything miraculous, I haven’t sprouted a unicorn horn though I think that would be rather cool, but it starts with being kind to my inner gremlin and seeing the positive of the day. It all seemed so obvious. Yoga is a practice…I hear. Despite my wishing that my yoga pants miraculously make me flexible, it didn’t just fall from the sky. It is something I have to work on. Slowly, with much effort, persistence and grace I started to feel the effects work - that and sunlight. Oh, and people who can tell jokes better than I can. Actually, people in general (I decided that practicing happiness by myself under the covers at home wasn’t working so getting out into the world was a must). People in general who like to laugh and experience new things while laughing at themselves was the elixir that fuels me, I realized, and I started to feel lighter. The yodelling started to sound even more melodic than before and despite the waist band of my pants continuing to resent my need for carbs I felt less need for bread and more time spent observing for the next giggle worthy moment to appear. Truly, my storytelling skills have improved immensely. I now manage to keep people enraptured and find that the ratio to laughs and time spent chatting is directly related to any story that is both about myself and embarrassing (it must be true…Tony tells me to keep telling that to myself!). Currently my bucket overfloweth.
and so I kept practicing
If there could be a medal for living in the future, I would have it locked down and hold the world title. Want to revel in the past - got that award too. 5 shelves worth thank you very much. Moment driven living…still working on that. Optimistic, would like to think that it is a word that describes my personality…being able to see the absurd and laugh about it = a personal crucial life skill. “If it doesn’t kill me, it will make a great story over a beer…when I can laugh about it!” is my new mantra.
This all then came to a head (and the beginnings of the best new chapter of my someday ‘gotta write about that’ book) when coming home from work one day and got a frantic phone call from Tony.
“Where are you? When will you be here? It’s an emergency!”
Anyone knowing my family could assume that the afore mentioned phone message could range in subject from missing bread for breakfast to a major medical emergency. Crossing my fingers for the former, I leaned into the conversation.
“Can I help you..?”
“I need to know when you are going to be here.
Avaia has a fork stuck in her back!
I figured it was safe so I pulled it out. It was really jammed in there! It’s all good for now though, I have her in shock recovery position. with lots of pressure over the wound. But get here quick!”
…WHA..!?! (dear reader, I promised you I would get back to the fork didn’t I?).
Now you know what I am going to say aren’t you? No matter how hard your day was, know that someone always has it tougher. Like when you leave work and find our your 7 year old has accidentally impaled herself in the back with a fork after falling over the dishwasher. (remember she is my gymnastic worthy roof climbing babe). It’s all good though, dear reader, my husband’s wilderness first aide rescue techniques came into play (another benefit to a basket weaving degree), and frantically asked our blood averse 10 year old to get band aids…and TOWELS! I was then called on the phone to provide verbal support and to start the emergency protocol of begging my current ride for a potential lift to the hospital.
I came home 3 minutes later to them on the kitchen floor with Avaia propped up on Tony’s foot (it’s STINKY mama!), kitchen paper (albeit clean) shoved onto her back and when I leaned in rrrreeeeeealllly closely and kind of squinted, there they were, two teeny tiny little marks on where the offending eating implement had left its mark. The 10 year old was cowering in the corner and I am pretty sure everyone was sweating. A smidge of polysporin and a bandaid later and despite having done a good job of creating an extra hole where there shouldn’t be we then hoped her good Swiss, Canadian European genes would ward off the dinner microbes so that we could move on with our evening.
The best part to all this you see, as positivity is the name of the game, was the next day when we had to send a text to her very wonderful and understanding teacher explaining to her that the school yard talk she was about to hear today was in fact true and despite our younger child’s penchant for the dramatic (wonder who she gets it from), Avaia was safe and that there was in fact absolutely no need to call the authorities. Happy face Emoji. ..send…
It’s all good if you can laugh about it
Our winter skies are still grey, the snow is here to stay…at least for a little bit…and practice is something we have all come to realize is a way of life. Things, despite my wish for so much of it to just land in my lap, doesn’t happen and I have to decide on what I want and go for it. Like in photography, there is always another perspective and when I can find the one that makes me smile, it makes most every situation that much more bearable.
If this all sounds preachy, you’re totally right. Imagine it if you will, me in front of the mirror in the morning sprouting off daily affirmations to the tune of “Even if it’s a fork in the back…we’re ok. Actually it is kind of funny…a fork in the back…”.
oh…and Avaia’s back? Totally fine.