Wednesday, July 24, 2013


In my adult life, I've been moved by the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, so much so that I've given one of my children his surname. I wanted my beloved child to have that powerful yet reserved strength as a piece of their identity, and feel as confident and sure as the writer himself did. (Of course this American Literature teacher also had a moment of remorse when I looked at the six-pound wee babe to whom I'd bequeathed this singular, yet daunting name. Said child has certainly lived up to it. But I digress.) Emerson is a master of words, and one of his most famous and impressive writings is his essay Self-Reliance, which I love, and which I'll circle back to in a moment. 

Anyway, my husband and I returned from an idyllic vacation a few weeks ago to a small host of craziness, including, but not limited to the following: 

  • a failed central air system most likely caused by the external compressor being hit by lightening
  • a failing set of appliances, including the dishwasher and stove
  • a painstakingly-researched big screen tv that not only flickered and died for seemingly no reason, but which will also take six to eight weeks to repair

Did I mention that all of this happened during a six-day heatwave
No AC. No TV. No patience.

We had just come back from this decadent vacation where so much was wonderful and fun, and the re-entry to regular life seemed cruel, not to mention financially dreadful. Though my husband's suggestion of attempting the remainder of the summer AC-free was appealing to my wallet, it was tough on my psyche. I don't fare well in the heat, and while I may have waved a delicately embroidered handkerchief while I glistened in the sun under a parasol in a past life, in this one, the heat makes me feel faint, sleepy and triggers my asthma. In a word: Unfun.

I felt so helpless and upset. I complained about it to my friends, family, and anyone who would listen. What I came to realize was that it was time to take a page from my favorite writer (in every sense) and step up. Yes, the above things were certainly annoying and undeserved. But at the end of the day, there are two little people who rely on me. And as much as I can rant and snark about what's going on, my daughter still needs a clean soccer shirt for her lesson tomorrow, my son still needs his jelly sandwich cut up into little squares, and I still need to kiss and hug them to get back to where I need to be. 

"Nothing can bring you peace but yourself." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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