Thursday, June 2, 2016

Throwback Thursday: The Year Halloween Was Cancelled

For a few days, my husband and I went house hunting for a place to live in Saudi Arabia. After a lot of fruitless searching, we finally found a place that would accept us, had enough room for our large family, and had some great pool features.

In the evening, after a funny and late dinner at Tony Romas, my husband said goodbye as I flew back to New York and our children. He stayed behind to work.

I landed in New York and then was picked up by a friend who drove me home. I was so happy to see my children. We snuggled and caught up. I was ready to step back into my mom role.

The next morning, disaster struck. I noticed that my kids were itching their heads and found lice crawling around. I cut the boys hair and did a lice treatment. Then I tackled my daughter's hair, which was hard because her hair is long and hard to comb through thoroughly. It was yucky, but I knew the protocol and kept moving forward.

And then, the storm hit New York. It was an early fall storm that hit us with a lot of heavy snow which knocked out power lines all over the area. We lost power and school was canceled. Our little house seemed to be faring okay. I put all the kids in one room and we had a little heater I could turn on to get things warmed up for a bit.

But I confess, I wasn't handling the disruption well. I was tired and stressed. I wanted my husband home to help us cope with the emergency and he was thousands of miles and oceans away. Our conversations deteriorated as he tried to help me over the phone and I told him the only help I wanted was for him to come home. (Yes, I was being a baby, but it had been a hard couple of years and I was just about at the end of my rope.)

I desperately wanted to find a hotel to hole up in with the kids but all the hotels were booked. My husband wasn't so keen on me getting a hotel because of the cost, but I was desperate...

The whole area was hit hard and Halloween was cancelled in most towns because the power lines were down and the lights were out. I felt terrible telling my children there would be no trick or treating that year.

The last straw came when I noticed the lice crawling in my daughter's hair. At that point, I knew we were done for.  All of us had been sleeping in the same room and were probably all infected by that point.

I lost it. My sister called and I just cried and cried. My husband called and I cried (and yelled) some more. Finally, one brave friend called and listened to my plight. Without hesitation, she asked us to come and stay in her house. Just as she made her offer, our power came back on and I realized we would be okay. I started laundry and de-licing again.

As I look back on that event, I feel like laughing and crying. I think if the same thing were to happen to me now, I would probably handle it much better. BUT I am in a much different place. I am healthier, less stressed, well-rested, and not living with uncertainty. At the time, our family had been under a period of sustained stress. While we were mostly managing, we weren't emotionally prepared to cope with the disaster. I hope I would be less proud and reach out to friends for help sooner. I also think I would go  north to find a hotel if I really wanted one.

Have you ever had a disaster or emergency that knocked you flat and with which you were unable to cope?


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