It’s the End of World as We Know It . . . Not!

When it comes to the end of the world, I’m generally a pretty optimistic person. I don’t believe there’s going to be a Zombie Apocalypse, and although talk of nuclear war or diseases like Ebola frighten me, I don’t think that the human race is going to be wiped out within my lifetime. Perhaps I’m burying my head in the sand, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen in the next few decades or even the next century.

On the other hand, I sometimes have weeks like the one that’s wrapping up right now, and I start to harbor all kinds of secret hopes that the end of the world would just hurry up and get here.

Yeah, it’s been a bad week.

Money is tight and things are getting shut off and I’ve had to start asking for help. My pride is at an all-time low, but the positive twist on that is that I’m getting really good at groveling. And begging. I’m also arguing with my daughter, something I’ve never really done before. She’s always been my “easy” child; apparently, the first sixteen years of her life were just part of an elaborate scheme to soften me up for her seventeenth year.

I feel like I’m running, scrambling, spinning in circles with no time left to just sit down and breathe. My house is such a mess that I’m thinking about stringing some yellow tape across the kitchen and telling everyone it’s a crime scene. Then maybe I won’t have to go in there and do anything about the dirty dishes or –God forbid—have to cook for anyone for a while.

It dawned on me this morning that my last social outing was the hour I spent on the bleachers with other moms while our sons had baseball practice. Before that, my only recent social interaction was the two hours spent wrangling seven year-olds at my son’s birthday party.

I need to spend time with someone I did not give birth to. I need a social life. Come to think of it, I need a life, period.  I’m a mom, yes, but aren’t I also something more? When do I get to be A.J.?

Life can be pretty funny, though.

This morning was terrible. Awful. As I said, it’s been a bad week, and it just sort of built up to an even worse morning, made almost unbearable by the fact that today just happens to be one of those random days when my pain levels shoot skyward for no real reason. I’ve been in so much pain that it’s all I can do to keep from just lying down on the floor and giving up on trying to move at all.

I dropped my kids at school, came home, and hit my breaking point. I sat in my car in the driveway, bawling. I’m talking major tears here. The kind that actually dripped off the chin and got the front of my shirt wet. I did some big time ugly crying. I did the whole sniffle-sob-whuffle-whimper thing up the steps and into my house and headed for the mirror to see if there was any way I could make myself presentable for work.

And then . . .

Photo courtesy of Debby Steinman
Photo courtesy of Debby Steinman

My co-workers had the giggles today, particularly while crawling upside-down under the tables with gloves and putty knives in search of dried gum. Later, one co-worker showed off pictures of her beautiful new grandbaby while another had pictures of her own very happy little baby boy. One woman was fretting about some scary medical procedures she is facing, and the other women all made time to give her smiles and hugs all day long to let her know she is not alone.

Later, when I went to the Elementary school to pick up my youngest child, I fought back tears again while talking to another mom. She hugged me, offered to take my son to the school dance with the carload of boys she was taking, and even brought over a special occasion dress for my daughter to borrow.

And now . . . I have two hours alone to catch up on my blog, write my next chapter. Two hours to breathe and remind myself that there are some truly beautiful people in this world who are always going to reach out to others.

Life can be pretty funny. Seems like every time things are at their worst and I’m feeling lost and alone, someone comes along to make me smile or even laugh out loud.  Someone shares a bit of kindness when I least expect it. Smiling isn’t going to give me more money or make it possible for me to make my bills; laughing isn’t going to take away my neck pain or heal the crushing loneliness that hits me from time to time.  And all of the adorable baby pictures in the world aren’t going to magically grant me the time and energy to clean my house. Nothing that happened today is going to take away the problems that had me in tears.

But you know what all of that smiling and laughing and adorable baby pictures can do? Give me the strength to face all of the other stuff.  Strength and hope, and a firm belief that the world isn’t going to end any time soon.  It can’t, because there is still too much good that would go to waste if the world ended tomorrow. It can’t, because right now the good in this world outweighs the bad. Some days, it’s not by very much, but it’s still enough.

Relax, folks, the world can’t end as long as there are moments like this:

Seriously, could this kid be any cuter?
Seriously, could this kid be any cuter?

***

This is a Finish The Sentence Friday post: “When it comes to the end of the world . . . ” hosted by Kristi from Finding Ninee, Nikki from Redboots, and Jena Schwartz. Please take a few minutes to check out what some of the other bloggers did with this sentence!

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19 thoughts on “It’s the End of World as We Know It . . . Not!

  1. I’m so sorry that you’ve had such a bad week. 😦 I can relate to pulling up in front of the house and burst into tears. I hate that. It can also be the first day and babies always remind us of that. I thank you for writing tonight in spite of your crap week and hope the next weeks are better. Also? 17yo girls SUCK. Sending wishes for peace and strength and love to you tonight!

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  2. Oh AJ you had me all the way through. I am sorry you are going through such a tough time. I commend your spirit though. You act like I think. There IShumor everywhere. Hang in there! I’m here in western Canada pulling for you!!!!

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  3. Sweets, I’m sorry the world feels like it’s closing in and suffocating you, but I love that you would come and share your story. People sometimes hide their pain, feeling that if they expose it they will be discounted. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Talking about our worries and our concerns diminishes some of the strong hold, easing a bit of our struggle thus helping us to breath a little bit deeper.
    You’re in my thoughts. I’m pulling for you. Every challenge comes to us for a reason…it comes to lead us to growth, molding us into stronger and more resilient people. Sure, it’s hell to walk that lonely, desolate path, but none of this is in vain.

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      • Each of us will find ourselves in challenging circumstances, it’s the people who walk with us that help keep us on our feet. I must admit, I don’t think I simply ‘happened upon your post,’ I believe He nudged me. “What goes around, comes around.” I was offered the blessing of being able to play it forward.

        At my darkest hour there were people who came to let me know I was not alone.

        Giving is receiving. Thank you for sharing.

        Hugs, Sweetie.

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    • Thank you for the hugs! Unfortunately, the pain issues can’t be resolved. I broke my neck a few years ago, and I’m lucky to be alive and mobile at all; This is as good as it will ever get. I have good days and I have bad days — it’s all a matter of coping on the bad ones and being thankful on the good ones. There are a lot of folks out there worse off than I am, so I get really angry at myself when I have those days of self-pity and whining. Guess I should surround myself with smiling babies more often. 🙂

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  4. There is always hope! So grateful you could find bits of it even though you’ve had a rough week. I particularly enjoyed this part of your post: Two hours to breathe and remind myself that there are some truly beautiful people in this world who are always going to reach out to others.

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    • Thank you. Some more beautiful people stepped up to help today, too, and it almost feels like things are going to get on the right track soon. Just have to keep hoping, right? Where there’s hope . . .

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  5. I am sorry AJ. I wish I knew the words to say, or something to offer about the light at the end of the tunnel. I am glad you could find something good, two hours and wonderful people even when it all feels as if it is going to hades.

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    • Val, I feel like a real schmuck getting words of sympathy from you, of all people. My petty issues are so small compared to some of the things you deal with every day, and it seems so ridiculous for me to whine about them. Thank you, though, for the kind words and thoughts.

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      • AJ, each of us work with the world in which we live. Our hurt, is what we feel when our world isn’t where we need it to be. We are not human or humane if we don’t feel empathy and compassion for the people around us, be they friends or strangers. I hope I am dead the day I don’t feel empathy and compassion.

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  6. Oh A.J. sending you a big hug. Over and over and over again. My heart broke when I read how you sat in the car bawling… I’ve done that too. What is it about the car? And drop-off?! “I need to spend time with someone I did not give birth to.” This sentence… I get it. Thank you for allowing me to spend time with you here, today. Wishing you a week of ease and strength, love and kindness.

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    • Ah, it’s not about the car or the drop-off … it’s about the this great 17 year-old kid of mine who deserves better from me in her final year of high school, but we just can’t come up with the money for any of the things she needs this year. It’s about needing a second job but not being physically able to do that. And it’s about needing some time to myself –Next week is my week without kids, but every single evening is already spoken for. Every second of every minute of every day is committed to someone or something. It’s overwhelming, and there’s no relief in sight.

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  7. Thanks for writing! I am still praying for you and yours… So glad you found something to be grateful for – laughing co-workers and a baby’s smile today, and you will find something again tomorrow. 🙂

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