Big Stresses, Small Joys


I have a bit of a confession: I’ve been a little wallow-y the last few days. I had been doing relatively well at focusing on the positive, but life has gotten stressful and I reverted to old habits. I seem to be particularly bad at just letting things happen when they happen. Instead I focus on them, twirl them around in my mind (over and over and over) until I can’t stand it. I get sad, moppy, worried.

This past weekend my family was here. I worried they weren’t having a good time. I worried they were bored, or that we pushed my Grandmother too hard, or that my house wasn’t up to snuff.

And then the fridge broke. Like, it dead. Seriously, this is what it looks like right now:

When I wrote "clean out fridge" on my to-do list last week, this was not what I had in mind.

When I wrote “clean out fridge” on my to-do list last week, this was not what I had in mind.

As you can imagine if you’ve ever rented from, well, anyone– it’s been a job getting it replaced. The new fridge will be here tomorrow. Probably a few hours after we leave for Utah.

I’m trying to finish up my costume designs for Hamlet a full week ahead of schedule. There is a lot of paperwork to get done and I’m super worried about how much will change over the next week when I’ll be away and preoccupied and will have very little attention to pay to those nightly rehearsal reports.

And last, but not least, we leave for Utah tomorrow for a fun-filled romantic weekend. I’m trying to squeeze 100 million different outfits into a carry-on and trying to not think about next week and all of the fears and scary monsters that await THAT endeavor…

So yeah.

This is where I’ve been mentally. This, in fact, is the cleaned up snippet of where I’ve been mentally. It’s not pretty. It’s not fun. And it’s stealing all of the pretty and the fun from everything else.

And then, this afternoon, I took a break to read the newsletter from the Literacy Center where my Mutti works. They have a little section where their learners, many of them ESL adults, have written little stories.


A Father’s Joy

by AM

I am proud of my daughter. She was the Student of the Month in the second grade at M— Elementary School.

Our family went to a meeting at the school. The principal gave her the certificate and everyone clapped.

The teacher ran into the school yard to stop us. She said, “I am proud of Dulce. She did her homework and then she wrote a prayer on the back. I never had a student do that before.”

Everyone in the family was happy. The little one did so well!


I don’t know exactly why this story affected me, but it did. I love it. I think it’s beautiful and sweet and his pride and joy at his daughter’s accomplishment is so raw and lovely.

And for whatever reason, it flipped a switch in me. I’m not quite so wallow-y. The darker thoughts have made room for some happier ones. My outlook is better. Because guys, seriously, life is hard but there is some really cool stuff happening.

Least important: I’m getting a new fridge. That’s amazing. And I have awesome neighbors who let me put my stuff in their fridge so at least I didn’t lose everything. Biggest perk of getting a new fridge while I’m gone? I don’t have to move all of it back over from the neighbors (that’ll be Kyle’s job). Smaller perk: I don’t have to figure out how to change the water filter in the fridge now for another 9 months or so. That angry little red light was getting annoying.

Other good things:

My family was just here. And from all accounts, had a great time. We got to see the US Mint in Philly which was really cool, and I got to show my Grandma and brother where we live and what it’s like here. That was fun. My Mutti cooked for us a lot, which was delicious.

Hamlet is shaping up to be amazing. I love, love, love the design. I’ve had extra money in the budget to hire a friend to help me out next week while I’m gone (good for her wallet and my lack of time), and I’ve had a volunteer assistant through the whole project. Bonuses: the rest of the team is really great and the high schoolers/actors have been amazing.

And last but not least: I get to spend a whole weekend away from the stress of home with my husband. We get to explore a whole new part of the world that I’ve never been to. We’re going sailing, and to the salt flats and we’ll see the LDS temple. And sure, it’s all part of the US of A, but it’s a completely different geographical area than I’ve ever been in. I. Cannot. Wait. Also– I fit everything I wanted into my carry on. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to LIFT it, but it’s all in.

I am beyond grateful to AM for sharing his joy with me. It’s such a little, simple story, but it’s been a huge gift.

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