I found myself in the grocery store early this morning. I know this is simply crazy. Let me explain- for all of you who do not live in New England, there is a kind of grocery shopping frenzy that envelopes us when there is news that a snow storm is rolling in. This particular storm is predicted to dump a healthy pile of the white stuff on us over the next 24 hours, pretty much canceling all our previous plans.
I am not a person who tends to stock pile food before a storm. I reason that have soup, peanut butter and oatmeal and so I won’t starve; besides after the whopper Halloween storm of two years ago, when I lost power for 11 days, stockpiling food simply seems risky. NO, I am simply planning to use the day to make Christmas goodies. How lovely my plan; snow falling, Christmas Carols playing, cookies baking.
At 8 am, the store is mobbed. People‘s carts are overflowing and negotiating the aisles is reminiscent of the bumper cars at the amusement park. I left the house without first having coffee. This was a mistake. I also left my list at home. Another mistake. I am bleary-eyes and cotton brained and in traffic jam of shopping carts, so stopping for a minute to gather my thoughts seems perilous. I navigate pass the meat department and notice the section is empty with the exception of one small package of chopped sirloin which looks suspicious. The shelves in every aisle are looking very sparse.
I find some of the items I need; give up on trying to remember everything and head to the check-out which has long winding lines. I have 16 items; the express line which is empty, sets the limit at 15. I hesitate for a moment-I have three packages of Rollos and rationalize they count at one item. I garner no nasty looks and the check-out people are nonjudgmental but for 8 am very, very weary looking.
We are all racing around, getting ready to hunker down. It is a wild scene.
As I pull back into my driveway, NPR reminds me that today commemorates the Newtown Tragedy. I sit in the car for a minute and listen to an interview with the mother of one of those small victims, as she shared her last day with her daughter; how she decided to put aside all she had to do and take the family to the Cheesecake Factory. They took lots of silly pictures and shared a pile of desserts. It was the last thing they would do as a family of four. She now finds great comfort in this memory and her decision to stop what “needed” doing and focus on simply being-with her family- laughing and loving life.
Funny how this universe works- This storm, Ashford, which is making travel difficult, is requiring us all to do exactly what that family did-slow down and focus more on being with those we love instead checking off items on a to-do list.
It seems to always happen this way- if we allow ourselves to be open to possibilities. This storm is Connecticut’s gift -it is even shares its name with a Connecticut town. Storm Ashford isn’t wrecking our plans-on the contrary, on this sad day, it requires us to make a new plan-maybe we play a board game, bake cookies, or make angels in the snow. We make memories. Whatever you do today, it is not a day that is wasted; it is a gift. Enjoy it.
© 2013 Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Farmington, CT since 1986. She is the author of the award winning From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Woman’s Journey through Divorce now available in Kindle format for $9.99 as well as in paperback.