Well, I should have written this sooner, but days get filled with chores, responsibilities, and a 3 year old demanding my time; constantly with games to be played and food to be catered. My limits were tested Saturday morning and, for the most part, I proved my ability to stay calm has highly improved from what it once was. One regret, other than the damage done, is that I didn’t take more pictures.
Saturday mornings my son has gymnastic’s lessons from 10-10:30 at the YMCA. As usual I was finishing up some tasks right up until we needed to leave. We walked down the path to the garage and everyone got situated and buckled into the car. The garage door went up, I waited a minute while the car warmed, we are experiencing highs in the 20 degree Fahrenheit range, and then slowly started to pull out of the garage into our alley.
There are many drawbacks of having an alley as the only outlet/inlet to come and go from our house. The biggest one is the foot traffic. There are many people: littering teenagers, homeless people, alcoholics, drug dealers, and wanderers just lollygagging through on a daily basis; especially since there is also a gas station at the one end. That morning I was faced with a neighborhood regular, a homeless woman who wanders slowly and aimlessly around during the day (my husband has spoken to her before and she has, like most of the regular homeless people in the neighborhood, mental health issues).
As I inched out of the garage with the car, she decided to freeze the minute she saw the car pulling out, and looked straight down at the ground. My first instinct was to pull out quickly to get out of her way, and make it to class on time with the 7 minutes we had to spare. That urgency was soon interrupted by a horrible screeching, tearing apart, ripping sound; I thought I had scraped the car on the side of the garage.
To give a clearer picture, we pull the car into the garage closer on one side than the other due to the many things stored in the one stall we have. My husband does resale and with his odds and ends, our tools, bikes, landscaping appliances, and other miscellaneous oddities, there is minimal room. This means if, when coming out, the turn is too sharp there is a chance the car may rub the side of the garage. I forgot about the poles with the metal hooks sticking out.
Continuing to pull-out, even with hearing the horrible noises (I was still oddly focused on just getting out of her way), I stopped suddenly the minute the car was fully out, and proceeded to run around to the back to see what had happened.🤷 It was terrible!
The bumper was halfway off the back of the car and the woman, who was still standing and observing this now irreversible, horrible situation simply said, “Well, there goes your bumper.” All I could mutter was, “oh my god” a few times all while thinking, “what can I do to lessen the shock and disaster that just happened in a matter of a few seconds?” Noticing a lot of notches underneath where the bumper had been attached, I decided that I could probably reattach it by lifting and shimmying it back to its original position. Luckily, my instincts were right, and I was able to get the bumper back on; yet, a bit altered.
There were some cracks and it did not look perfect, but looked much better than when it was hanging halfway off the car. It wasn’t until later that I would notice the rest of the damage and feel so much worse about what I had done. The amazing part was the lack of freak out, panic, horrible anxiety, or just outright losing it that took place. We drove to the Y, I got my son ready to go to class, went to wash the dirt off my hands, and sat down to talk with another mother; with my daughter beside me. Then it happened, as a mother already trying to keep her cool and not “lose it,” my daughter did that naive, childhood, unnecessary commentary that proceeded to humiliate me just a little more. Yet, I still kept my cool; somehow.
She, at the age of 10–4’6″ and 68 pounds–decided she wanted to sit on my lap. Since I had been running around and internally dealing with unexpected stress, I had worked up a bit of a sweat. It’s also winter, and even though I hadn’t been wearing a jacket, I was wearing layers including a sweater which made me warm. This is where my daughter comes in. While she is sitting on me, making me warmer and a bit claustrophobic, she decides to tell me, in front of this other mother, that my back is warm and sweaty; I smell sweaty; and to top it off; my breath smells.
Instead of causing a scene and letting her know right then and there how inappropriate this is to say in front of someone, especially when she is obviously sitting somewhere she does not have to be, and right after I just had something very stressful happen; I simply tell her to get up and I go in my purse, pull out my tin of Altoids, and pop a couple in; offering her some as well. I saved the lecture for afterwards. One of those lessons I’m sure we all have to learn over and over before we realize there are times to say things, and there are times to just keep it to ourselves. This was definitely of the latter!
Well, if not feeling critical enough of myself for doing a dumb thing that I felt could have been avoided and knowing there was nothing I could do about it; no income, no easy fix, no going back, her comments made it worse for my mental stability. My negative self-talk was on the rise. “It was too sharp of a turn,” is all I kept thinking, “Well, due to proximity to the cement poles, at least.” These cement poles, with metal screw hooks sticking out towards the garage door on the top and bottom, were installed to deter vehicles that go in and out of the backyard neighbor’s driveway from hitting our garage. It happened a few times, and after the whole bottom side of our garage got smashed in and my husband had to repair it with a friend one day last summer, he decided to create a barrier rather than having to fix the garage every few years. A preventative technique. Since the day they were installed I had a feeling I would be the one to hit them, and “now I’m the idiot who did,” is all I could think. That hook really got me good 😩.
This is also the result of what happens when, instead of calling to the woman and gesturing for her to continue on her way because I’m a bit standoffish & uncomfortable socially, I opted to turn sharply to avoid hitting her or making her feel like I might; hence tearing off half the bumper and putting a 3 inch wide divot into the back passenger door. Peeling the paint and all🤦.
By the afternoon, oh and just to mention PMS had seriously set-in by now so my nerves were iffy anyway, I lost it at my daughter. She came running in the house for a minute to hide on some friends who she was playing tag with outside. Hearing her I asked what she was doing, and the response I got was, “Nothing.” Then as the door slammed shut, I started coming up the stairs from the basement and noticed her “nothing” meant tracking muddy boots into the house where I had spent cleaning up this morning. Add this to the rude comments earlier in the day and the fact that I had been beating myself up over the car, especially after seeing the extra indent/scrape on the side, and now it was time to lose it. With a stern face and much irritation in my voice, I opened the door and told her that she “was doing something” and she needed to think about her actions and her words more; slamming the door as soon as the lecture was complete.
Most of the day was calm and a bit sullen; with me shedding some tears here and there. One angry outburst and no more serious accidents or mishaps meant I didn’t totally lose my cool, and when my husband came home and I was finally able to vent my feelings of regret, stupidity, and apologies it was responded to with a hug and a “don’t worry about it,” as well as, “why do I care what the car looks like; it could have been so much worse.” Due to my dramatic start to the conversation he was actually just relieved it still worked because he thought I may have blown the engine up. What a caring, understanding, loving husband who just brushes it off and rationalizes it for me!💞😍
This is definitely a testament to how my focus on health and wellness is helping my mental stability. A year ago at this time–mid January when it’s cold, dismal, dirty, and icy outside–I would have had an angry, frustrated, out of control freak-out the minute it happened and consistently throughout the rest of the day. I really surprised myself with how well I managed to keep my cool, especially at this time of the month! Thank goodness for my herbs (Skullcap, Lemon Balm, Shepard’s Purse, and Yarrow tinctures especially), exercise, and the wisdom/mindfulness to breath in moments like this.
Just one of those life lessons and realities of how a few seconds can really alter someone’s well-being. Luckily, if we pay attention and make a conscious effort to keep ourselves healthy while being mindful of our bodies and what they need for balance; the difference is apparent. At least it really is for me.
Thank you for reading!