When Home Depot is your last hope.


Last week I hurt my knee. Pretty bad. I haven't had it checked yet as I was waiting till January 1st when my new Insurance kicked in so the money would go towards the deductible. I sense it is something major.

I've been resting it and icing it and wearing a brace and going out of my mind with the exhaustion of not being able to be a full participant in my life.

I've been rolling over and over the phrase, there is always something wrong with me. I have so much evidence for that statement.

I drove past this Christmas tree place that had the perfect trees. I've put off the tree because of my knee, all the decorations up two flights of stairs, boxes filled with Christmas memories that require my sorting because last year I threw it all up there with the promise of getting organized this year.

This year.

I drive past this Christmas tree place and my desire for cutting down our own tree surfaces. There were a couple of years when we did this and then the farm closed. My desire for a fake tree surfaces. My desire to not be so unorganized every year surfaces.

Last year we ended up at Home Depot. They had free hot chocolate. The kids (well, the teens) fought over which tree to get. We were freezing. The tree was huge, totally not my aesthetic but in the end, perfect.

I found myself looping into being the mother that ends up at Home Depot for the tree and Home Depot on Halloween day for pumpkins that we never ended up carving because I just couldn't.

It felt like the pain from my knee was driving these thoughts of how utterly ridiculous I am dealing with this kind of stuff. I love having so many kids and it is really really hard for someone who struggles with focus.

Yesterday the pain was so intense I couldn't climb the stairs to bed, I just stayed on the couch. My teen wanted to stay with me, I eventually coaxed him to go to bed. I felt lonelier on that couch than I've felt in a long time.

Pain is lonely. No one can do it for you.

I asked myself what was true.

What is true?

My knee is injured.
I am in pain.
The kids want a tree.
A doctor visit is in order to deal with the pain.
The decorations are in the attic.
My range of doing is limited.
I am safe.

When I stepped out of the loop that something is always wrong with me and I'm a flake that ends up at Home Depot for last minute Holiday shit, and that I am so unorganized and unable to let go of things, I fell into this weird thought loop.

Thank you knee. (This was a bit of a stretch.) Thank you for the ability to be present. Thank you for leading me to this primal fear that I think was this next level of feeling post not drinking. I've been searching for validation that not drinking was the best choice, that kindness was right about that. Somehow behind the anger and frustration that this knee is bringing me to, behind it is a level of feeling my stuff that I couldn't have done with alcohol pulsing through me.

And like, thank you Home Depot. Thank you for having those damn pumpkins for me. And thank you for the hot chocolate and the last 5 trees in your lot to choose from. Thank you Home Depot. You are always there for me.

Last night I was crying on the couch and my ten year old caught me. His instinct was to call out for someone to come help. I asked him not to. I told him I was OK, that I was having trouble finding a spot for my knee and that the pain was frustrating me, but that I was OK.

This was true. No story. Nothing beyond it. I needed to be with my tears so that they could pass. A feeling I could be in and then let go. He stayed with me and held my hand. What was true? I was not alone. 

Is there always something wrong with me? 

Maybe. Maybe that is true, though the word always is pretty intense. 

Maybe it isn't true.

And maybe if it isn't true I can just be in the now. In what is, right now. Maybe I can stop thinking about the shoes I can't wear and the things I want to do and the decorations in the attic.

Pain taps into some crazy primal fears. I want to fight and flight all at once. Instead I'm remembering every Christmas tree adventure and how unique each one was. All of the stories that I have, the memories, the chaos.

The moment I give Chloe the go ahead to decorate the house and go through the Christmas stuff the kids will have so much fun. There is eggnog in the fridge. 

What is true is that all of this is happening within me and Home Depot will always be there, waiting for me, when I need it. And that is true.