Not All Bad

Yesterday I came home to a letter informing me that my therapist is resigning. Today I forgot to take my nausea medication. My To Do lists (both personal and professional) are a million miles long, and I don’t even know where to begin. It has been a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day around here for what feels like every day since ever.

It’s really tempting to wallow in my misery at this point. I could tell you about how yesterday I somehow had cat shit encrusted on the bottom of my shoe and couldn’t get it off no matter what I tried, so I spent the entire day slinking around the office smelling like cat shit. I could tell you about how putting together a baby registry is the most daunting, exhausting thing on the face of the Earth, which I did not at all anticipate. What about the fact that my husband is devoting himself fervently to his job, working 12 to 14 hour days and beyond, and is still so dedicated to getting his program off the ground that every setback cuts him to the core. And it kills me to see him so exhausted and stressed out, and yet be too exhausted and stressed out myself to be able to be the kind of supportive wife I really want to be.

Basically, things are discouraging at Chez Van Sant right now. And we are drowning in our guilt. The baby room is still full of unpacked stuff and laundry and random furniture and zero actual baby stuff. Guilt. We abandoned our household budget for the summer and are now dreading the thought of updating our spreadsheets because we let it go so long. Guilt. We are severely out of touch with friends and family, both local and long distance. Guilt. Chores, healthy meals, and running errands are just not really happening. Guilt, guilt, guilt.

We are in survival mode, and only just barely surviving.

And yet, I want to force myself to see past that. In high school I was a bit of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl (in a persona that was both authentic and cultivated in equal measure. A lot of it wore off in college) and kept a lot of journals, different books for different things. One that carried on in different formats throughout the years was some sort of gratitude journal, or list of things that made me happy. I used to ask people to swap stories of the three best and three worst things that happened to us that day. Often times the “best” things are small. On extraordinarily shitty days you need to really dig deep to find something positive to say amidst all the, well, shit. Sometimes the positive thing is literally, “I made it through the day without stabbing everyone,” but at least that’s something.

It would be easy to tell myself that NOTHING GOOD EVER HAPPENS ANYMORE and a lot of the time, lately, I feel like that’s the truth. But it isn’t. Good things continue to happen, even now, and here’s the proof:

Good Things, Lately

  • David and I are reading the Harry Potter series aloud to each other again and there are no words to describe how gleeful this makes me.
  • My nails have been really long and strong and awesome since I got knocked up.
  • When she’s not being a total bitch our cat is really cute and hilarious.
  • This morning I left the house without eating breakfast and there were bagels and cream cheese waiting for me in the office!
  • I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen last night and I am ridiculously proud of that fact.
  • It really feels like fall, now, and fall is my very favorite season.
  • We have cookie butter and coconut cookie thins.
  • Baby Van Sant is healthy and active.
  • My husband comes to kiss me goodbye every morning when he leaves for work, even though I am still mostly asleep.
  • Our new couch was delivered, so now I get to sit next to David and snuggle him for a few minutes in the evening, instead of sitting in folding chairs apart from him.
  • I have cooked twice in the last two weeks: baked peach halves with almond crumble, and baked ziti with homemade sauce.
  • On Saturday night David and I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch When Harry Met Sally and laughed and cried and held hands. The best line of that whole move is, “I want you to know… that I will never want that wagon wheel coffee table.”
  • I got a surprise letter from an old friend recently. A real letter. In the mail.

Seeing them all written out like that makes me feel a bit better about things. Even though all of that was spread out across weeks and weeks and interspersed with lots of terrible stuff, at least I can still muster up a collection of things that make me happy.


About Kelly

Kelly grew up in the suburbs of Boston, mere minutes from the Atlantic ocean. For several years she lived in New York City where she found the two loves of her life: Publishing and David. She moved to the Twin Cities for her husband, and eventually managed to pick up the pieces of her career as well. Although she’s learning to appreciate lakes, she misses the ocean ferociously.

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