How I became This Happy Mom (part 4)

how i became this happy momHow I became This Happy Mom, part four.  So far, I’ve told you how God drug me out of my pit, about the disco Christmas tree, about snow angels and laughter and silly pranks on my contractor.  I shared with you about my obsession with crochet as therapy.

After our Christmas trip, we returned to the same hotel we were using as home base during our remodel.  It was pretty ironic when, in the first week of January, the hotel began a major remodel project.  New flooring, new kitchen countertops, new appliances, new furniture… pretty much the works.  That would have been great at my home, but not what I wanted at the hotel.   We were at least on the top floor, so I could finally keep the curtains open during the day.  It felt like a tree-house.  I coped.


Until the day they cut the water supply to our building.  It was a Saturday, and we had already planned a full day away from the room.  We were assured that the problem would be fixed before we returned.  It wasn’t.  By the following morning, our hotel room was… um… gross.  Four people without running water in a small space is not a pretty picture.

It was Sunday, and I really really needed a shower before church.   I went to the front desk to inquire about using a room in the other building of the hotel to take a shower and get ready for church.  With little ceremony, I was presented a key to room 112.

I put the key into the door and opened it.  THERE WAS A STRANGE MAN IN THE ROOM AND HE WASN’T DRESSED!  I pulled the door (mostly) closed and apologized profusely.  I was blushing like anything, all I could think of was that I had somehow invalidated my marriage vows because I’d seen some strange man, and I was babbling apologies.  The man assured me it was OK.  He even offered to let me come in and start showering while he finished getting ready.  (um, no… i think not).

When I complained to the front desk, the clerk suggested I wait a few minutes and then go back to room 112.  She was helpful enough to suggest that I “lock the door to assure privacy.”  She was unphased by my outrage… didn’t plan on giving me fresh towels… didn’t see a problem.  (yuck.  just… yuck.)

I called my mom in hysterics (she lives close by) and arranged to shower at her house.  My mom was horrified at my story, and offered to fix me a yummy brunch and give me time to myself to heal from the trauma of seeing *it.*  It was a sweet offer, but what I really needed was my church family.  I needed girlfriends to share the shock and horror of my morning with.  I needed people who could help me see the humor of my morning.

I went to church with wet hair, no makeup, mis-matched socks, two balls of yarn, and a crochet hook.  I didn’t care about the socks.  It would have been three balls of yarn, but I could only cram two into my purse without removing something.

I crocheted like a mad-woman and made two entire cotton toques during church.  I was so rattled and upset, it was literally the only thing that kept me from losing it.

Part-way through service, my hair dried.  It was awful.  If you’ve ever touched sheep in-the-wild, that would come close.  If you’ve ever felted something, you might understand my first thought… “Holy snot, I’ve felted my hair.”  My husband said I looked like a mad-woman witch.  He was being kind.  If you took a cheap witch wig from a halloween costume, spray painted it green and orange, and then drug it through the mud and some baby poo… that’s what my hair looked like.  Small chunks of it came off in my hand.  They had the texture of cheap fake fur coated in toddler drool.

OK, just to finish the hair thing (because I know it would be cruel not to)… the best my hairdresser and I can figure is that my normal henna based shampoo didn’t play well with my mom’s shampoo for mature hair.   Something about henna and bluing not playing well together.  My hairdresser said it felt like my hair had tiny metal spikes in it (kind of like rusty steel wool).  It took six months to grow enough hair to chop off all the dead stuff.  For six months, my hair stayed in a pony tail.  I washed it only twice a week and didn’t use any heat on it.  That’s six months straight of bad hair days.  When I got it cut off, there was over 18 inches of hair on the ground.  It felt great.   If you ever got a “break up haircut” to help you feel like you were cutting off an old boyfriend, this was kind of similar… only it was about cutting off my “pit” and everything that went with it.

My husband rocks.  He got the kids dressed, fed, and to church while I was busy felting my hair without me even saying a word.  He knows a woman on the edge is not something to mess with.  He didn’t tell me my hair looked bad until AFTER we got out of the church parking lot.  It was a gentle “I think you should look in the mirror” and not anything ugly.  But best of all, he had made reservations at a new hotel.  I never had to go back to the other one.  He packed everything and moved it from point A to point B without my help.  He even took the kids.  He left me alone to mourn my hair.

So how does this fit into me becoming This Happy Mom?

  1. If this had happened while I was still in my pit (only 5 weeks prior), this would have pushed me over the edge.  It would have been full-on thumb sucking and blanket holding time for me.  I’m struck by God’s perfect sense of timing.  He protected me from *it* when I couldn’t handle the trauma.  He pulled me from the pit in time to face the trauma.  Lesson?  God’s timing is perfect.  Trust Him.
  2. Crochet is really, really therapeutic. No, seriously.  I believe every mom needs something she can cling to in times of great stress.  Something portable is ideal.  Having something that calms me and centers me enough to be still is invaluable.  Over the course of my adult life, I’ve learned the value of crochet over and over again as I sat and waited… in hospital rooms, in a darkened house with the hurricane winds roaring by, by the bedside of a fevered child.   My mom works crossword puzzles.  My aunt does needlework.  Lesson? Have a way to get still, no matter the circumstances.
  3. When I was really really really upset, I ran to my church and into the arms of my friends.  I knew it didn’t matter what I looked like even on Sunday morning.  All I knew was that I needed  them, and that they would catch me and keep me from falling back into that pit.  They did. Lesson?  Supportive friends are more valuable than you know.

Random housekeeping stuff:

  • We did submit complaints about “the incident” to the hotel management.  While I wasn’t entirely satisfied with their response, it was more than a simple “we’re sorry.”
  • No, I won’t tell you what hotel chain.
  • My contractor really isn’t to blame for the fact that our remodel took so long. Don’t hate on him.  He’s a good man and a good friend.
  • Why yes, I did try every known solution for damaged hair.  Some of them temporarily reduced the frizziness, but nothing worked.  Ultimately, the best solution for me was dirty hair.  Gross, but true.

It’s OK if my story made you laugh today.  I can laugh about it now.

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. This post reminded me sooo much of my mom and I sent it straight to her. It’s funny how those defining moments come when we least expect them.

  2. emily, that’s really sweet. thank you!

  3. Holly Jahangiri says:

    Holy cats!!! Teach me to crochet… wait, my friend Kathy has patiently tried. I think I crocheted myself to my thermal blanket, once.

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