A blizzard hit Northern Ireland on Friday. Shoot me. Maybe that seems a bit dramatic? Maybe they told me it never snows here. Maybe you didn’t slip and skid across five feet of snow, slush, and mud on your bum. Maybe I just really hate snow.
Waking up to snow on the ground seemed bad enough, but when the stroller practically blew over on my way out my door and my eyeballs hurt from particles of ice slamming into them during the short intervals I had to walk outside, life really seemed dire.
Then we lost electricity. This doesn’t just mean “the lack of television and all-day movie marathons.” For us it means no heat, no hot water, no telephone, and no way to cook food, and no fireplace to generate any sort of heat. In this rare instance, it also meant, no cell phone service.
These discoveries, coupled with some unfortunate interactions with a handful of people, immediately sent me into a state of extreme grumpiness. I was argumentative. I shouted at my children over nothing. I stomped around with the scowl I inherited from my beloved grandmother. It was lovely.
Then I went home to feed my youngest son. I’ve never read about this anywhere, but in my case there is some sort of surge of hormones that happen when I sit down to breastfeed my son. The first 30 seconds of a feeding makes my heart race, and a flood of unacknowledged anxiety surfaces. I can’t name it, or describe it, and it only happens in the daytime feedings. It also usually results in me examining what I’m truly anxious about. In this case I realized I was anxious about our situation.
No electricity or heat is fine for my husband and I. I grew up in the middle of nowhere, and we were guaranteed at least a few power-outages a winter – some of which could last days. As an adult we lost power, but I was always guaranteed to have power restored within just a few hours, but also had family close by to rely on if things got dire. Dustin and I can cuddle under some duvets and read by candlelight, while sipping glasses of red wine to keep warm. It actually sounds luxurious. When you have three small bodies to take care of, a lot changes. I realized I had no idea how I was going to keep Oliver warm if the power stayed off for more than 24 hours. My mind raced through the bare fridge inhabiting our home, and searched for non-existent ways to feed out kids since the weather was so bad we couldn’t even take them out of the house to walk across the property. Then add on this feeling imposed on me to “take care” of the "twenty-somethings" on-site. I didn’t think I could take it.
But it went deeper. What about the homeless mothers who are out in this right now, searching desperately for shelter for their tiny baby? Life seemed dire, but the sadness I felt at that moment for those women sent me into a state of mourning. There are moments I feel so angry. So self-pittying. That life is so unfair.
Then I remember this beautiful life I have. This fortune I don’t deserve.
I’m happy to report that the electricity was restored, and then lost again, then restored, and then lost again…and as I write this I’m waiting for it to turn off at any moment as the snow continues to whiz past our window in a horizontal fashion. There is still no internet access, and I can’t find our car, although I’m pretty sure it’s out there somewhere. But our house is warm, our friends are near, and there is light by which to read. Life is lovely after all.