If you are an introvert and you went to school, you know that our education system is not designed around you. Indeed, much of the world is not designed for you.
I am not going to say this is a male trait, because between me and my husband, I am the one who doesn’t like to ask for directions. Maybe it is an introverted thing. I’d rather wander aimlessly through the hardware store aisles than ask for help, because then I might have to make conversation. Worse, I might get an overly helpful employee who wants to hand-deliver me to the correct place. Both instances strike fear and awkwardness in my heart.
2 p.m. pre-storm: The school department cancels school 18 hours before the first bell would ring. This almost never happens. The kids haven’t even had a chance to go to bed with their pajamas on inside out. It’s like someone has spilled the beans about a surprise birthday party.
My husband, Dustin, is one of the most competitive people I know. We’ve known each other since I was first born, but I only really came to understand Dustin’s competitive nature when we were newlyweds. We were living in a small, one-bedroom apartment, and because we did not have children yet, we spent our evenings doing whatever we wanted.
A year ago I was struggling with a major episode of anxiety and depression. I’ve dealt with both my whole my life, and I’ve used various things, some healthier than others, to cope. Last year, however, when my despair seemingly came out of nowhere, I felt like I had drained all my coping skills. What could I possibly do to help this time?
I’ll begin at the end: By the time the boys returned to school after the holiday break, Dustin told them, “If your teachers ask you to draw what you did over vacation, draw a silver bowl and tell them, ‘Take from this what you will’.”
1. Men really do age.
Flip through any family photo album in our house, and I’m willing to bet money you’d find my husband, Dustin, looking exactly the same: khaki pants, striped shirt, same haircut, unintentional 5 o’clock shadow. He does not change.
My youngest son, Lindell, doesn’t know what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary school on Dec. 14, 2012. He had just started kindergarten and was nearly the age of the victims, so I shielded him from the news. Call it maternal editing. Call it over-protection. But even I couldn’t wrap my head around what had happened, how would he?
This time two weeks ago, Old Man Winter made an unexpected arrival and pummeled much of Maine with a foot of snow. In his wake: downed power lines, crippled trees and heaters that came to an abrupt stop.
In 2012, my three sons and I hosted 52 weekly dinners to fill Dustin’s empty seat at the dinner table while he was on a yearlong deployment. In 2013, our story came out as the book “Dinner with the Smileys” (SITE: www.dinnerwiththesmileys.com). Last week, it was released in paperback.