This summer has been rough. Part of me feels like a big whiny cry baby for being stressed and short tempered. I mean, we’re all healthy. My husband is still employed. There is a roof over our heads and food (chocolate included) in our cabinets.
But still, my stress level has been soaring. My momma (who I’m incredibly close with) has been going through a really rough patch these last few months and I’ve sort of been her therapist/life coach/enforcer. Combine that with moving and summer vacation (which is usually great but sometimes not so much with a perennially bored and structure hungry seven year old) and I feel like my head’s about to explode.
The funny thing is, the universe seems to deliver you exactly what you need just before your brain spontaneously combusts. For me, it came in the form of a squirrel… in my house.
The girls and I came home after a long day of shuttling our things over to the new place and running errands. Samantha was bored (read: cranky and combative). Ellie was tired and I had pretty much had it.
We opened the front door and there, standing in the middle of our dining room, was a squirrel who looked like it was about to have a nervous breakdown.
Now, I’ve always thought squirrels were cute. Nibbling on nuts and climbing trees and stuff while their big fluffy tails looked like feather dusters swaying in the breeze. I thought of them singing in enchanted forests to princesses who were wandering around aimlessly with empty baskets. I always thought of them as sweet and furry and almost cuddly.
But when there was one in the middle of my house, they suddenly weren’t so cute. It had beady little eyes and talon-like claws and could it possibly be carrying bugs or some nasty disease?
As the thing started scurrying frantically around the dining room and living room, desperately searching for a way out, the screaming began. Sam ran straight for the door while I was frozen watching it and wondering how the hell I was going to get it out.
As its scurrying became more and more intense, so did my panic. It ran in circles, breaking vases and slamming itself into things in an attempt to launch itself back out into nature and away from the screaming giants who were trying to force it towards the door.
When the squirrel started leaping into windows, the screaming got louder. I envisioned it landing on one of the girls’ faces all claws and teeth and zoonotic diseases. I saw a future of facial surgery and IV antibiotics and therapy sessions.
Somehow I stopped screaming and being dramatic long enough to prop open the back door and step away from the crazed rodent. It found its way out spazzily and by accident, but when it did I ran for the door to close it (you know, before any other woodland creatures decided to invade).
The second the door closed, the laughter started. Had that really happened? And had I really shreiked like a scantily clad horror movie victim? Yes and yes. And it was exactly what I needed: a small but strong kick to the gut to tell me to stop taking everything so seriously.