October 14, 2011


Yesterday was a fabulously momentous day. Okay, it won't see momentous to you, but to me, it was just full of lovely "ahHA!" moments. I think it is because I am slightly sleep deprived. I tend to think things a bit more profound when I am operating on little (and interrupted) sleep. Justin is in NH and I just don't sleep as well when he isn't here. The awesome responsibility of having to fight off any nighttime invaders tends to keep me wakeful. Because Moira is crawling with nighttime invaders.

I have been trying to keep my house neat, part of my self improvement plan. So life has been a lot more calm. Amazing. Yesterday morning, I found out that Gilbert's doctors appointment was 2 hours earlier than I thought it was. And it was no big deal! I just left 2 hours earlier, none of this running around, yelling at the kids, hating my self, my house, and my style of organization.

It was a slightly rainy, foggy morning and the Adirondacks were stunning. Mountains on top of mountains speckled in yellow, orange, yellow, and green draped in wispy clouds. Oh it was lovely. But I didn't bring my camera. So just imagine it.

When we got to the doctors office, we had to wait awhile, since they were removing a dead mouse from the ceiling of the waiting room. Smelly. The doctor was the ears, nose, and throat doctor to check out Gilbert's ears. The conclusion is that he should get tubes. He has a lot of fluid in his ears, that is pretty guaranteed to be interfering with his hearing and therefore, his speech. To examine his ears, they had to swaddle him and then strap him down on the papoose board. The poor boy got a rash from fussing so much. I am a pretty hardened mother, knowing it has to be done and not crying with my child. After 4 EEGs, EKGs and who knows how many shots, I just shut my emotional ears and hold him down. But I was pretty anxious to let him up yesterday. The doctor was super nice and told me Gilbert was adorable--makes it all okay!

After the doctor, we went down to Lake Placid for a bit. We went into the bookstore and looked at books. I LOVE buying books. I know I can get them from the library, but there is a whole other realm of pleasure from going into a bookstore and poking around, unearthing the perfect book to take home with you forever. (Hey, I am operating on poor sleep. Leave me be!) As I was checking out, my debit card was declined. For the second time in two weeks, I had overdrawn the back account. (see above disclaimer about poor sleep!) This disgusted me. I dug around in my purse and found another credit card, paid and left the store. I went to Gap and found the perfect shoes for $15 (on the credit card) and some undershirts for Gilbert for 73 cents each. As I was driving home I was so thoroughly disgusted with myself for not keeping track of things better. Just so you know, I wasn't spending all the money in our account on stuff, I pay bills at the beginning of each week, but then forget how much is in there. In an effort to control spending, I have been trying to use my debit card instead of credit cards. Obviously not working.

On the way home, for some reason I started thinking about birth. Due mostly to my cousins Wayne and Connie having babies in the past few weeks with their respective spouses. One thing led to another and I started thinking about Gilbert in the NICU and West Syndrome. And suddenly I was crying. Remembering walking back from his first EEG knowing he had Wests, the nurse wheeling him in some contraption, so I couldn't hold him--walking past the gift shop and seeing a huge giraffe stuffed animal in all sorts of wild colors and thinking unemotionally "He won't be able to understand what that is." I didn't cry. I only allowed myself a few tears talking to family members and then stopped. I remembered the doctor coming in to talk to me about the diagnosis. How he came in quietly. Seriously. And talking to me about chances, telling me, "This is not a good diagnosis." How I discussed it calmly with him. And then he hugged me and told me I needed to cry. And I cried from the bottom of my toes.

I know it sounds weird, but it was good for me to think about those things again. To remember times when I was maxed out in physical or emotional pain and I was at the end of myself. When I knew without a doubt that there was something so much more beautiful and stronger and more important than me. A God that cared and gave me strength to bear what had to be born, figuratively and literally. Reaching the end of myself and being filled with awe. How could I have forgotten the awe? But I did. And it was so good to remember that.

When I got home, I chopped up all 18 of my credit cards into small, indecipherable bits. Maybe they don't seem connected, but I felt like I had reached the end of myself, financially--if I was strong enough to bear those things, I was strong enough to bear a major financial overhaul. Orianna came and asked if she could hold the pink credit card until it was time to cut it up. And then if felt like an execution. But it is done. I never used all 18 of them, most of them never carried a balance, but they let me spend myself into trouble. And I knew that I didn't want to waste my life and what I have by worrying all the time about how much I spend, worrying about whether I would stop before we reached bankruptcy.

I know some people get uncomfortable talking about finances. If you are, I am sorry. But I feel like I need to say all this. I always think I can do things on my own. I will lose weight, I will pay off my credit cards and no one will ever know how stupid I was. Yet I never actually do it. So by telling people, it is like joining a gym, starting a diet, and buying the right foods--it is a commitment.

After chopping my credit cards into confetti, Olivia, the kids, and I took a fall evening drive to take pictures and then came back to have Owen, Ashley, and Tori over for supper. We had such a nice time talking and eating spaghetti. And after they left, I cleaned my house. I folded all the laundry. I washed two loads of dishes. I picked up.

And I felt free.

I know it is goofy. These are things that most people know or understand intuitively, but somehow the responsible and sensible genes were left out of my genetic makeup. I may be a slow learner, but I hope at least to learn.

And I know I also just put random fall pictures in here. But pictures are nice.


Verity Earl said...

This is a really beautiful post. I loved every word of it. It's amazing what we live through, isn't it? And it's important to remember the bad times. Otherwise we won't appreciate or even recognize the good. Things like chopping up credit cards might seem scary, but when you stop and ask yourself why, you see that there isn't really anything to be afraid of. It's freeing. I'm so glad, Bethaney. This was wonderful. Thank you for the reminder.

The McCoys said...

Thanks for sharing Bethaney...I love your posts :) I can relate to soo much. When we got married Mike made me chop up all my credit cards...I can somewhat relate, although I have regressed in the years we've been married. Sounds like you really have things in control - or heading that way - good for you! Y'all take care. I had thoughts of coming up to Lake Placid sometime this fall and seeing you all - but with Mike's dad not being well we've been using our free weekends to head west. Hope to see you sometime (Before Conv. ;)) Take care!

Evan and Clover and Co. said...

Poor little Orianna, having her pink friend chopped up. :-) Beautiful pictures, and I'm wicked impressed with your financial restraint.

Sheena said...

Yes, I believe it is healthy to be able to cry sometimes. I always remember a friend of a friend who was not able to cry...years and years after she had lost a child and husband. She literally could not cry or grieve for them, and it sounds like it was not a good thing. ANYWAY, 18 credit cards?! Wow, that is a lot, but good job cutting them up and sounds like your self improvement plan is making progress!

laura said...

I loved this post - as I have loved the last several, but not commented! ): The computer at work has been erasing my comments as soon as I hit submit. Maybe it's trying to tell me to get back to work... :-P

I pretty much just have one credit card (besides a shop one I got for the initial "gazillion" percent off and haven't canceled yet...). But! (yes, at 28 years old), my mom has current possession of it. I'd like to think that if she didn't, I would be much better with it, as I AM learning to be more moderate, but I still think it's better that it's there, and not even remotely in my possession... After your post, I thought a lot about chopping it up, and keeping the account - but only having the number available - just for my meds online, or things like that... then I couldn't get swipe-happy! I told a friend of mine about your post and he took his credit card out of his wallet and is leaving it at home now. See, you've started a money-conscious revolution!

And, I heard someone say once - "laughing and crying are the same 'release'" - so I think it's just as good to do either - we need that release!

Hope you and your lovely family are well! (:

Cecil and Amy said...

Okay, Bet- if you had the responsible and sensible gene, you would be perfect and we wouldn't be able to stand being around you. As you are, we're more than glad to take you...as does your wonderful husband and cute-as-anything children.