This summer was the perfect storm for old Megan. You see, old Megan loved to have everything in her life planned out. She hated financial stress, she hated not knowing what was going to happen, and she ESPECIALLY hated it when plans fell through or things didn't go smoothly.
Welp, all of the above happened this summer and there was nothing to do but deal with it. I'll just share a little bit. I've been wanting to do a vent post for a long time, and boy have I had some doozies you would have laughed about, but I knew that wouldn't do me any good to complain or call others out. I wanted to wait until I'd made peace with it so that it could be an uplifting post. Ranting used to be my release (see old blog posts--I should probably delete those), but I'm trying to keep things in until I have wrapped my head around them more. There's enough anger and people upset in the world, not enough that internalize and ponder before they speak. Hopefully this will accomplish that. I'll try to just give you a brief glimpse into a few things that rocked my world this summer:
We thought Claudy was going to graduate in August, only to find out he had classes left we hadn't counted on. We had planned our entire lives around that. It was why I had quit my job because we had saved and saved and thought surely, by the time Claudy graduates our savings will get us through until he can find a full-time job.
Welp, everything went up in smoke because he couldn't start working full time having classes smack-dab in the middle of the day for FOUR MORE months (best case scenario). And, to top it all off--he couldn't even find a part-time job. He was applying everywhere. Come to find out, it's kinda hard to get a job mid-summer in a town with two large universities full of eager, young workers like Claudy. Even more so, if you don't have a degree. He was humble and applying everywhere. I'm talking groundskeeper, grocer...everything. And, we weren't hearing back on a thing.
Meanwhile, our savings was draining faster than an hourglass with a hole in the bottom.
Nothing was going to plan.
Had I imaged the answer to my prayers that I should stay at home? Should I go back to work, since I had the ability to make good money? Had we made the wrong choice? If we had made the right choice, why was nothing working out?
Then, to top it off our apartment flooded for the THIRD time. We woke up one fine Saturday morning and rain water had come in under our front door (like the two times before) and gotten our living room, kitchen and down our hallway. I wanted to throw up.
Because it had sat for a few hours until we woke up (normally it's happened when we're awake, so we're able to bail and mop it up right away) it had soaked up the walls. The restoration company had to tear holes in our walls to get the wet sheetrock out. We had 5 large industrial fans and a dehumidifier that were so loud they were terrifying Carter.
In our small, two bedroom apartment, our living room furniture was shoved everywhere, so that the only space we had was our small bedroom...with two small children.
We asked if the landlord would get us a hotel since it was clearly unliveable. We were told no, and that's what our renter's insurance was for. But, our deductible is $500. I'm not paying the deductible for something the landlord should have fixed a long time ago. Nor, did we have it, seeing as we had no job.
This was one of the most stressful things I've dealt with in a long while. I felt so stuck. I felt inadequate as a parent to provide a healthy, safe, clean environment for my children to live in. I walked around feeling like I was sucker punched in the gut.
To make matters worse--where in the world was I supposed to feed my child? With 29 food allergies you can't just eat out while you don't have a liveable kitchen/apartment. Nor, did we have money to just eat out for three meals a day.
I should have written it down, but I believe it took 5 days for our apartment to dry out/to not be full of machines. The restoration company packed up and left and we had no word from the landlords what they were going to do. The carpet pad had been thrown away, so we had a dirty piece of carpet sitting on cement. That went on for several days. Finally, they had a carpet guy come and put in new pad and stretch the carpet back out. He put in the wrong size of pad, so the carpet is uneven where the old and new pad matches up, and you can tell he didn't cut it right because there's a hole where there's no pad at all by our bedroom door. Classy.
But, still the carpets were not cleaned (even though everyone who worked on it mentioned it was imperative that we get it cleaned since it had been outside/rain water that had come in) and we had gapping holes in our walls. While drying out the carpets, the fans were pointed under the carpets, so that they were flapping as they dried. It shook out any dirt that was in them and everything was covered in dust. We were left to clean up everything. Even though you think you vacuum a lot (I do at least several times a week) there was layers of dust on EVERYTHING. Nasty.
We had packed up (a lot to pack by the way with two small kids and medical stuff and safe foods to take for Carter) and slept at my sweet, generous friend's house. Well, tried to sleep. Carter's not a fan of the pack-n-play, I'm not a huge fan of blow up mattresses, and having a new baby was rough. She's single though, so I felt terrible imposing on not just her, but her three roommates. We did that for three nights, and finally felt like we had to come home.
I was worried about Carter's sever asthma since insulation was left exposed and who knows what dirt and crap was stirred up and out in the open from the walls being cut open. Sure enough, after being home for two days Carter had a sever asthma attack. Claudy was at school with our one car (another trial) and so I had to race to borrow a friend's and get him to the doctor. He had to be put on a systemic steroid for seven days to get his lungs to calm down.
I felt so low at this point. Truly vulnerable, and felt at the mercy of others--and I don't like feeling dependent or having to rely on others.
It was at this point we gave our 30 days notice to our landlords. I didn't know where or how we'd find a place, but I knew we couldn't stay here any longer. I'm sure many will think, flood me once, shame on them. Flood me twice, shame on me. Flood me three times and you're an idiot. You have to understand that we felt like we were doing what was right--not getting into more debt while my husband was in school. The rent was so cheap and we kept thinking he'd graduate soon, so we thought we'd just stick it out. But, we finally saw that our time had come and gone here.
Did I mention what a pain it is to try and find housing when you don't have income to list, and school has already started so that everything is already taken? That was a fun way to spend my "extra" time. Not to mention, Carter spilled bubbles on our reliable laptop and it completely died, so I was trying to do all of this from my super slow, old, mini laptop. I truly wanted to pull my hair out sometimes.
But, you know what the funny thing is?
It was such a wonderful summer too.
Isn't that weird?
Instead of fretting, "Why isn't Claudy able to be at work right now?" I would force myself to think "Enjoy this time where you can spend it as a family and have your husband home to help. Isn't it great that we can go to the park in the middle of the day?"
I had to chase away negative thoughts and worry.
Instead of "What in the world will we do when our savings runs out?" I would think "Money is not what matters. Look how blessed I am to have two wonderful boys."
Instead of "I live in a hell hole of an apartment." I would tell myself "There are so many people in the world who do not have heat, let alone air conditioning and a roof over their head."
I will not say that I am perfect, but by having a shit storm of problems all happen this summer and so many things "seemingly" not work out...something in me changed. I learned to let go.
I learned to be happy DAILY, despite my "I-would-have-never-chosen-these-how-in-the-world-did-I-end-up-here" circumstances. I listened to Elder Uchdorf's talk on gratitude on repeat.
I found the positive. I reached out to friends and family and was uplifted when I was down.
And, there were so many happy moments. There are silver linings if you look for them. Things like: both my boys slept at the same time so I was able to get a nap! Or, we found the best patch of shade so I could sit with Calvin in my lap while Carter played in our little wade pool. Or, otter pop popsicles are the tastiest way to cool down after a great day at the park--especially when I can share them with my toddler who couldn't eat hardly anything last summer. Or, my toddler finally beat his fear of going down the slide by himself. Little things, all around me, that I had taken for granted suddenly got me through the days. And, the best part is, I feel like I'm a different Megan at the end of it.
Sure, I was frustrated many times--but I didn't hold onto the frustration and become bitter. I didn't wonder "why". I knew why. I knew that I was supposed to grow, to rise above my current and often negative/freak out thinking. So, I just tried to have patience and pray through it.
At the beginning of the summer I had prayed, "Let Claudy graduate in August and find a full-time job with great benefits and that we can move to North Carolina and get the heck outta Utah."
When we found out he wouldn't be able to graduate our prayers slowly shifted.
We prayed, "Let Claudy find a job before school starts in September so he can know what time/schedule to make his classes."
When that didn't happen we then prayed, "Let Claudy find a job before our savings run out."
When that didn't happen, we didn't give up, we still continued to pray "Let Claudy find a job that he will be happy in and that we can have our needs met." But, we finally understood what "needs" truly were. We had been humbled.
Now, here we sit. It's fall. We found a place that is bigger and well taken care of. We are moving in 8 glorious-can't-come-fast-enough-days. Claudy found a job that he really enjoys--working with troubled teens. Is it a full-time job? No. Is he still in school? Yes. Do we know what we're doing once he graduates? No. Do we have any sort of a plan? Not really. Do we have a savings? No.
But I am happy! I am grateful. I don't need those things to be content. I am looking through a new lens and learning to let the Lord guide my life. There is no point in worrying when the Lord is in charge. I'm going to end up where I need to. I can either enjoy the detours, or kick and scream the entire way. I don't like screaming, it makes my throat hurt.
I truly hope I have learned my lesson, but I have a feeling the old Megan is a stubborn one and will creep up from time to time. I'm sure I'll have to endure similar things again, because, well, it's life. I hope I will be more prepared next time.
I always wondered what people meant when they said they were grateful for their trials. I never got that.
I finally understand. I am grateful for the hard, but still so many good moments, summer that we had. I am grateful for growth and the chance to be better because of difficulty.
If you're going through a hard time know that it will end and that you will be better afterwards if you allow the Lord to be with you during your trial.
Thank you Fall for coming, but thank you Summer for your lessons.