Refill, Please

May 23, 2011 at 1:34 am | Posted in Bun, Family, Giggles, Lollipop, Transylvania | 22 Comments
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We're all feeling like this ...

I am done.

I have spent the last several weeks planning and packing and asking questions and waiting for answers and going, always going. At night, I wake up and think I’m trapped somewhere with no doors and windows. I panic and scream, until my eyes tell my brain I’m safe. I listen to the house’s sounds, thankful for the rhythmic distraction of the clacking ceiling fan.

The kids, too, are feeling the stress. They have nightmares. They wake up early and melt down often. They ask when we’re going home. No, not our Romanian home, “our home home,” they say.

I am done. They are done. We’re done waiting and done worrying. But we have 12 days before we leave. 12 days. To wait. And worry.

I’m afraid I don’t have enough patience to last 12 days. Enough composure to settle sibling disputes without raising my voice. Enough energy to handle last-minute shopping and random rapid-fire questions about why geese honk and where ants sleep. I am done.

But I can’t be done. Because what comes next — settling myself and my children into a strange country and learning to call it home (or whatever “home” is in Romanian … my lessons haven’t covered that yet) — will take more patience than I currently have room for in my mental suitcase.

I need a list. That’s how I’ve made it through the last few weeks with my sanity intact. To-do lists. To-pack lists. To-ship lists. To-buy lists. To-clean lists. To-call lists. To-visit lists. To-forward lists. To-notarize lists. To-read lists. To-study lists. To-drop-off-and-pick-up lists. Pages and pages of lists. (And, well, my sanity is mostly intact.) But I need one more. One more list.

I need a way to remind myself what’s important when I’m out of patience. I need words to refill the spaces in my mind when emotion empties them. Heck, I just need some rules, even made-up ones, to put some boundaries on all of this unknown. I need these rules:

1. Laugh and breathe.
2. Take care of yourself so you can take care of them.
3. Let it happen, and let it go.
4. Enjoy everything, even when it’s hard.
5. Write it with a happy ending.

And I need to follow these rules, to hold myself accountable. I owe it to my family to make this a good year. I owe it to myself. But most of all? I want it for my family. And for myself.

Will you help me? Will you hold me (and future posts) to these rules? Do you have a list — and what’s on it?



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  1. My gosh, Stacia, I must have missed this amazing news! A year in Romania! It’s a big move but a wonderful adventure! I’ve been trapped so long in this house, in this twenty-square-mile piece of life that I can’t believe I’m just plain going to die here too (given about thirty more good years, hopefully…) But, it’s depressing. I’d like an adventure and all I get is more of the same. So, hat’s off!

  2. “Write it with a happy ending.” I never thought about it like that. We’re authoring the story; we decided how it ends. It’s clear from following your blog what kind of person you are. You’ll write a happy ending for all involved, including yourself.

  3. That picture is priceless. I cannot imagine how much pressure you must be under, but I’m wishing you your “happy ending,” and I have faith that this will be a grand adventure.

  4. I’m here for you, Stacia! Can I make a suggestion, one that has helped me lately? Try to get away from the kids for an hour or two, once a week, if you can. Or a few times before you go. You’ll have nonstop family time for a period once you get to Romania, so see if you can get a teeny bit of time away. I can’t even begin to imagine the stress on you right now, but hang in there!
    Yes – you did this for a reason. Because you love travel and are an adventurer. And your whole family will gain SO much from this experience together!

  5. This post is similar in one way to my post this morning: it’s seeking support in upholding goals. My goals pertain to eating better for the sake of my reflux, but . . . I definitely need to call on friends to help me with that, because it’s so easy to forget the good that comes in not eating the things that are bad for me. (They’re so tasty, after all.)

    I’m happy to help you to these, which doesn’t mean I won’t wish you–good luck!

  6. Oh man, that’s a lot to tackle. I can only imagine the stress. I’m kind of losing my mind over much, much smaller things.

  7. Like Kitch, I am wishing your adventure has a happy ending. I am a constant to-do list person and honestly it helps me breathe better just to have it written down. Completing the tasks are a different story. I know that tired and anxious feeling, but Stacia, this journey is going to be something you will treasure. Call it a hunch. xoxo

  8. This is my list:
    1. Stop. Just listen for 15 minutes. Follow their lead.
    2. Everything can’t get done. That’s okay. Some things (like my cleaning list) aren’t as necessary as they seem. (Can I ship you something later?)
    3. When all else fails, laugh. Loudly. Or cry. Whichever makes you feel better.

    12 days is a long time. And a short one. You’ll be there soon. In the mean time, find a bit of peace each day. Or make it. You’ll get your happy ending!

  9. Sigh. I wish I was closer and could help. It sounds like such an incredibly monstrous undertaking! I hope you’re able to find some peaceful, quiet moments amongst the chaos.

  10. Oh Stacia, moving a mile away with one kid was hard enough, I can hardly imagine what you must be going through now. It’s going to be tough but like you, I take comfort in to-do lists. And the list you created for yourself seems like a great start to help get you through these difficult days.

    Other than wishing you the happiest of endings and lovely, memorable moments that make everything worth it, please know that I’m here for you should you need to talk/vent/laugh/cry, etc. Always.

  11. You are so brave. I’m not sure I could do it. That picture is perfect for this post. Stay strong!!!

  12. I don’t have a list. I think I’ll use yours. I do have to remind myself “it doesn’t matter.” So what she painted her legs with fingernail polish while I was changing the sheets. So what he is jerking his body across the room because I said no. It doesn’t matter. Let it go.

  13. Reeeelax, hon. Life is for living. Don’t take everything so seriously. The exact same thing happens whether you worry or you don’t!! x

  14. Romania? how exciting (although tiring)! I wish you the best.

  15. A good friend of mine calls me up often and exclaims “I am DONE! DONE!” and she goes on to tell me how she’s told the kids and she’s told her husband she’s “not doing it anymore” cause she’s “DONE DONE DONE!” I smile now to think of those phone calls, knowing that it is her way of telling me she needs some change. Action-change or mental/attitude-change or something.

    We get off the phone and I know she goes right back to it. That’s what we do. We can’t be done. We just can’t be.

    I can’t imagine the lists. I have about a dozen if I’m going away for a week! I can’t imagine a whole year…in a foreign country. Oh, I wish you so much luck, I do.

  16. Write it with a happy ending… Interesting. I liken that to my desire to find that silver lining. It can be rough and sometimes, all I can say is “There are people who have it so much worse than we do” but even that is a silver lining…

  17. That sounds incredibly stressful.
    make sure you are taking breaks. Breaks for just you. Breaks for fun. Breaks for ice cream. It will get done.

  18. If it’s a matter of writing it with a happy ending, you’ve got it nailed. You are such a wonderful writer. You capture the just-right details every time. You choose the right words. Your voice, your sincerity, your sense of humor come through. I have no doubt you’ll be able to craft a wonderful story for your family this coming year. Some pages will be tougher to write than others, but the end and the process will be happy.

  19. You can do it. I’ve only been following your blog a few weeks but there is a tenacity, a drive, a will, and most of all, a passion for your family that permeates your voice in every post. Sorry, I’m waxing very wordy here. Anyways, I just have the feeling that you most certainly can do it and it will be wonderful. Breathe. And know that you can and will. Oh, and if you break down and just need a quart of ice cream to make it all better – – perfectly normal.

    • Ice cream by the quart! How could I have forgotten to add that to the list?? Thanks for the vote of confidence, Michele. I need it! =>

  20. We are here for you. And, I don’t subscribe that you have to write it with a happy ending. Not everything is a happy ending and your friends are those who can share in that.

    I am a firm believer that change it good. It might not appear so at first, but change provides a learning experience and learning means growing. Keep reaching out. Keep your worries and concerns off the kids by unloading it here. Isn’t that what a community is for, even if it is virtual?

  21. This is the best list. The best. I could stop at number 1.

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