It Builds Character

November 12, 2012

Well, these past two weeks were interesting! I feel like I have been hit by a truck. I am ending these last two weeks with a nasty cold that has knocked me on my behind…hard.  I’m also mentally and physically exhausted. When it rains it pours (no pun intended) and when it snows it creates a huge mess out here. Sandy met Athena in New Jersey and they both checked Betty really well.

Our world was definitely rocked and displaced and we were left in the dark and cold but thankfully we were one of the lucky ones. We had no damage to the house (a tree collapsed on a house about four doors down, taking electrical wires down with it. Image above). You probably saw a lot of it on TV-it was bad out here.

After two nights in the dark and cold we decided our fireplace wasn’t doing the trick. The boys, especially Baby Jordi, didn’t seem to stay very warm so we packed a suitcase and  took off to Brooklyn.  We were blown back to NYC to a little spot where my childhood friend lives and where Sandy seemed to have barely touched. We crashed there for four nights and although there were toys for the boys, food in the fridge and heat in the house, when BFF went back to work and Jose did too, I was left feeling really sorry for myself. That gas station is closed? What is the wait time at the other one down the block? How about upstate NY? Do they have fuel? They are saying 7-10 days to get our power back?!?! No school for how long???? They are sending you all the way THERE for work????!!! Yup, “positive Betty” and “glass half-full Betty” was complaining, mopey, and sat stunned. I browsed my iPhone for tweets and news (BFF has no TV!!!) completely stunned. When Jose and I decided that if the power did not come back to our place by Sunday, we would drive up to a hotel in Connecticut to be closer to him and to save fuel as well, I lost it. Was it the unknown? The inconveniences that Mother Nature had thrown at us? I was really upset about this? I did know that I was acting like a toddler, throwing a tantrum because you took the lollipop away ONLY to unwrap it.

So I called my dad. My poor dad. It’s always, “Hi dad. How are you? Good. Can I speak to Mami?” This time I picked up the phone and dialed the person who will not sugar-coat anything, who will not feel sorry for me, who would basically let me have it. And he did. You have place to stay! With one of your best friends! Your house has no damage!! Jose is making it to work!! The kids are safe and happy!!! Your world will be normal again! Then he really let me have it. There are people who have lost everything. People who have lost their homes and their cars and do you know there are houses burning in Queens??? No dad. I don’t have a TV, sob sob sob. He keeps going. There are towns that are wiped away!!! There are people that have lost their children!!!! Okay, you can stop now. I get it.

This is why I called him. My dad who is a survivor with too many stories to even keep track of what happened where. He put things in perspective for me. I needed that. This wasn’t me. Sure I love to complain in the gossipy way I do with my BFFs about the little shits in life, but this, this I had already experienced on a smaller scale before (Eight years ago during the East Coast blackout Jose and I walked, ran and hitchhiked from Manhattan to Queens and once we made it, we packed our bags and took off to Philly). Jose also experienced 9/11-talk about perspective.

So I had a good cry and lied to my dad that I was just tired. I was tired because I waited and prepped for Sandy for three days, then I endured her wrath once she arrived. I tensed up every time I heard the howling wind. It’s true when they say that wind that strong sounds like a passing train. I was so sure one of the many trees in the back yard would come crashing down at us. I stayed up most of the night watching my family sleep in the den. I’m just exhausted Dad. I’ll be OK. Gracias Papi.

Four days after the storm it was Saturday and I was just so happy to have Jose to ourselves. No Blackberry to coordinate this or the other.  We went out in sunny Williamsburg- one of the few bubbles of normalcy in a huge devastated region. We ate. We shopped. We played. Life was good again. It was going to be good again. We were happy and we were going to stay happy. We had a plan for the following week and plans are always good.

Thankfully we didn’t have to go to Plan B. Week two brought more unexpected circumstances but we had power. Although we had electricity, our poor neighbors did not and we offered our home to them. Jose decided to rent a car and has been commuting up to two hours each way every day to his offsite location. Snow storm Athena arrived and I decided to make “I’m from Chicago” my mantra for two days and thought about fellow neighbors who still had no power. Now snow? Geez. How much more?? Just a few days more.

I recently read a quote, “Even the darkest hour only has 60 minutes”. I kept thinking about the other phrase, “This too shall pass”. You have to stay on the bright side. You have to count your blessings. Sure it stung to read FB statuses that week that read, “Ugh. I don’t want to get out of bed today!” or “Bad hair day!” or “I really want to go shopping! Like, now!!”. Although that stung bad, especially after a week or so and you start to feel forgotten, I thought, it’s on me and me only. The media moved on to the election, friends tweeted about other important things, but when you are on the other end, you just have to do it for yourself.

I also kept thinking about what I tell you all the time. I love to advise people to find the positives and seek the benefits. In this case, I don’t know if I saw any benefits, but I learned a lot about my husband, my boys and myself. That has to be a benefit, right? All in all, you yourself must get out of the rut. Be conscious about your feelings. It’s okay to be upset about whatever happened. Jose always tells me, “Feel what you need to feel”. After a few days though…get on with it. Chin up. I got the one-two to the stomach (and the head!) but it didn’t knock me down. I knew I had the right to be sad but I also knew that I had to find a way to feel well again. I had to ask for help, to find someone who would tell me to focus and see what was happening around me.  In retrospect, this was minor and an inconvenience for me, but not the end of the world.

A long time ago, during my candy girl days at Old Fashioned Candies, Mom, my boss, saw minor bumps on the road as “flat tire problems”, simply some action that “builds character”.  No kidding. I think I’ve built enough to last me for the next round. Now, THAT is definitely a benefit.

P.S. The BALL made it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hurray!!!

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  • Reply Maritza November 12, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Tears, tears..of joy! Life is always easier said than done. Thank God for good family and friends. Job well done my friend :). I’ll be in touch with you this week in regards to the package. I have report card tomorrow then I can shift to my next priority. Tons of love and xox

    • Betty
      Reply Betty November 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      Easier said than done…but let us not forget what we say, right? Thanks for your support-ALWAYS!! xoxo
      Betty recently posted..Supermom!My Profile

  • Reply Liz M. November 12, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Oh no!! I cant even image what it would we like to experience something like that and I can understand how even a positive person can break down becasue sometime its just too much. I think I’m pretty positive myself and I do brealkdown sometimes but its important to have someone give you a different perspective that sometimes we forget about. I’m glad to hear you and your family are all safe and sound. I kept thinking of you guys and would ask your aunt if she had talked to you or your mom to see how you were doing. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. 🙂 Let us know if there is anything you guys need.


    • Betty
      Reply Betty November 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      Liz, Thank you for the messages and positive energy, I really do appreciate it. I know you get it, with 2 kids in tow and work and sports and everything! We just want normalcy and when disaster strikes, it’s not just OUR lives. xoxo Thank you!
      Betty recently posted..Supermom!My Profile

  • Reply Caro Monroy November 12, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Myfriendbettysays oh how I’ve missed you! 😉 I am glad you are all safe and back at home with power. You have every right to have been sad/mad about the situation your little family was enduring, its tough with 3 little ones and without your family near by. But like your Dad said just count your blessings that you are back at home safe and sound. kisses

    • Betty
      Reply Betty November 14, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      I missed you too my regular readers! What would I do without you?? Thank you for everything dear. xoxo
      Betty recently posted..Supermom!My Profile

  • Reply Yvette S November 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Good thing that he was able to talk to you and was there when you needed him. It’s ok to cry, vent, complain and just let it out. If you didn’t you would have just kept it inside and you don’t want to do that either. It is frustrating having all the “lemons’ thrown at you. Being enclosed in a house with 3 boys and left alone can take it’s toll. It’s not like it was for a day or 2. It was several. Another benefit was that you and the rest of the family over came it. You can tell your grandchildren everything that you have gone through. Just like the saying ” when I was younger I had to walk a mile to school”! Lol!! Take it one day at time. As much as we love to take charge and do things ourselves we just can’t. We are not Superwoman. We don’t have those kind of powers. That is something that I am still learning. 🙂 Sending you tons of hugs and kisses!! Stay positive.

    • Betty
      Reply Betty November 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      Thank you Yvette! So funny you said “Superwoman” because when you were writing this comment, I was writing my latest post! Let’s celebrate the days WE ARE Supermoms!! Muah!! Thank you thank you thank you!! xxo
      Betty recently posted..Supermom!My Profile

      • Betty
        Reply Betty November 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        Oh and Thank you Yvette for the play by play text messages when my power went out. I felt I was in a hole and you were my light back into the world!!!!! Love you!!!!! xoxo
        Betty recently posted..Supermom!My Profile

  • Reply Nancy November 12, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Hay Betty… I could imaging your frustration, but most than anything the thought of the unexpected. I hate storms hurricanes and tornadoes, I get very nervous every time I heard of a warning of a tornado specially if my kids are aware of them because they get very scared and I hate seeing fear in their beautiful faces, I can’t change nature so there is not much I can say to them and so it’s frustrating. You were very strong and did what you had to do. Thank God you all are safe and that is what really matters. Take care and I hope you come visit soon, we miss you !!!

    • Betty
      Reply Betty November 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      Two hurricanes, an earthquake and two winter storms in 13 months and THANK GOD my babies didn’t blink!! When it happens at night, it’s super scary for me but fortunately they all slept peacefully and didn’t witness a thing! THank you for your constant support Nancy. xoxo
      Betty recently posted..Supermom!My Profile

  • Reply Nina November 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I love this post, Betty. Honestly I would have reacted the same as you. When things go sour for me, however miniscule they may be, it’s so easy for me to lose hindsight and perspective until I actually seek it out, e.g. someone else has it worse; I’m blessed with ABC, etc. My life is so normal that any little bump or hassle is so noticeable, so I can just imagine how it would be if we were ever struck with such a huge disaster.

    I remember back when my little guy was about 2 months old, and I was miserable because he wouldn’t nap. Then I read online a story of a mom who lost her same-aged 2mo baby, and that just hit me smack in the face. I cried to my husband about how fortunate we are that we have a healthy baby, even if he doesn’t want to nap.

    Not to say that we should relish in others’ demise, nor should we always push aside our frustrations and paint a happy face 24/7, but yeah, we really do have blessings after all, even if a storm or another disaster takes away a bunch of them. For me, I think the thing that no one or no disaster can take from me is my choice to keep going, so that no matter how dark it can be, I still have the personal choice to decide, “Let’s keep going, let’s push on…”

    Good luck to you hon. I’m sure in a few weeks’ or months’ time a new normal will establish itself, and you’ll fall back into your routine. Hope all goes well for you and your littles.
    Nina recently posted..3 ways we disrespect our kids without meaning toMy Profile

    • Betty
      Reply Betty November 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      Nina, you are an amazing writer and you summarized my blog with your sentence stating, “Not to say that we should relish in others’ demise, nor should we always push aside our frustrations and paint a happy face 24/7…” I won’t forget that and I’ll now quote you in the future too! Thank you!!
      Betty recently posted..Supermom!My Profile

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