Keep Calm and Carry On

If you are a parent, you surely remember the very first poopy diaper. Even though the nurses warned me, nothing on earth can prepare you for that experience. There’s not much point in preparation really…you just have to get through it on your own.

When we moved into our home in North Carolina, I left an empty box in the corner of the kitchen. I had unpacked as much as I could and then left to spend the summer in Newport, Rhode Island with my husband. When I returned and picked up the box to throw it out, what seemed like hundreds of baby snakes fell out of the box.

I screamed in horror as they squirmed and scooted all over the kitchen floor. It was my worst nightmare. But it was very real and I had to face the unimaginable – that I alone would have to get these snakes out of my kitchen.

I wanted to cry, but there was no time. I thought about slamming the door and leaving them. But in the end, with no other obvious option available, I pulled myself together and figured it out.

I found the broom and began dragging each one of the little creeps to the door, sweeping them onto the porch and off the edge. It was one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever had to make myself deal with.

Everyone has these moments.  Maybe you can’t imagine how you’ll make it to the end of a run, or finish that race, or the dogs come out chasing you, or you need a porta potty NOW.

I’ve been 8 or 9 miles down the road and stopped in despair because I did not want to keep going. But what are you to do? You pull yourself together and figure out how to just keep moving.

Those snakes were  ringneck snakes – a nice little black snake that wouldn’t hurt a soul but eats up all the things you don’t want around the house. The really bad news is that their mommy has made our house her delivery room of sorts – since forever. The previous owner says he dealt with them too (although this was never disclosed before closing!).

So every year we wait on the baby snakes to arrive and one by one we usher them out to the unknown of our yard. I dread them all the same but it’s one of those things I’ve come to live with – as unbelievable as that may sound to most folks.

The same is true of the bats that sleep under the eaves every summer and the little bird that builds a nest for her babies on the porch – every year the same cycle of life.

The moral of this story is that sometimes we must do things we absolutely don’t think we can do. It happens in life, it happens in running, it happens when you get old… just happens. Pulling ourselves together and figuring it out is what makes it easier to get through next time.

My son bought a poster years ago. It was one of those times that you see something and know it was meant to be yours. He framed it and hung it by the front door of his apartment. His buddies laughed at it. Years later the words or derivatives of those words were everywhere.

I think of his poster sometimes and say the words to myself out loud:



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