What My Neighbors Taught Me During The Blizzard of 2016

I live in Northern Virginia in one of the areas hardest hit by Winter Storm Jonas. My town’s recorded snowfall was 36 inches, but with the snow drifts it was even more.

We were very lucky that we did not experience a power outage in the freezing temperatures, and that our house was stocked with food. My husband is a registered nurse, and we were fortunate that he was off during the storm, because the wonderful emergency and health workers out there have to go to work in any weather condition.

A day after the storm ended, he cleared our front steps and part of our driveway, but the large amount of snow required many breaks be taken. During one of his breaks, a neighbor, who we do not know, proceeded to use his snowblower to clear our entire sidewalk, as well as the sidewalks of many of our neighbors. He did this out of the goodness of his heart. It was a pure act of kindness, and we were all blessed to witness it.

The next day I was so relieved to see that they finally plowed our street. Two of my biggest concerns during the storm was what would we do if the power went out, and what would we do if we had an emergency that required an ambulance, or a trip to the ER?

These thoughts terrified me, and multiplied with each inch of fresh fallen snow. My son suffers from life-threatening food allergies, and I have had to call an ambulance for him recently due to severe croup. I suffer from Chronic Lyme Disease, Asthma, and other chronic conditions, and am often sick or requiring an ER visit. Plus, an accident can happen to anyone, even while at home, and the roads were impassable.

The first day we were barely able to get out the front door, so when that snow was gone, I felt a little less anxious.

The plows had a very difficult time clearing the snow, and worked on our street for what seemed like hours. When they were through a huge pile of heavy snow remained blocking my driveway.

My husband was at work, and I had very few spoons left, but I knew that for our safety, I had to clear the area.

My ten year old daughter offered to help me, but was unable to do it for more than a few minutes. It was hard work removing snow from a huge area of what was now over four feet post plow.

It was a beautiful sunny day, but I wasn’t feeling very sunny inside. I was tired, nauseous from my daily antibiotic, and wishing my husband was home.

Then like a ray of sunshine two of the young high school/college age girls from two houses down came over and said that they were going to help me. I couldn’t believe it, it was incredibly kind of them. When I was their age, I was nice, but in a complacent sort of way. I was wrapped up in my own world and problems, and I don’t think I ever went out of my way to help a neighbor shovel. I was very impressed with these girls and glad that my kids saw them helping me.

snowmaggedon 2016 girl neighbors helping

After a few minutes of shoveling and chatting, another neighbor came over with the kind gentleman’s snowblower (which cleared our sidewalk the day before.) This was a great sight to see, and our mound of snow would be cleared in no time! He removed all of the remaining snow quickly, efficiently, and benevolently.

snowmaggedon 2016 mike & snowblower guy

The street was filled with neighbors helping neighbors, and was as it should be. They all helped each other clear their driveways, and rescue their buried cars. This lasted for hours, and continued after I went inside to rest.

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I’m incredibly grateful to all of them, and appreciate their kindness. They didn’t have to help me, but they wanted to. They represent the good in this world. They are an example of the kind of positive stories/acts that should continue to go viral, to drown out the negative ones.

I will never forget the Blizzard of 2016, and I will never forget what my neighbors taught me:

  • When you don’t have many spoons left, there is always someone to lend a helping hand.
  • We are surrounded by good people, we just have to take the time to realize it.
  • If you have a snowblower, shovel or a smile, you can make help make someone’s day.
  • We should all be considerate, and try to help our neighbors more.
  • For every unkind person, there are many more kind people to make up for it.
  • If you are the recipient of an act of kindness, point it out to your kids, then maybe they will realize its value and strive to give back someday.
  • Heroes are all around us, and are born from everyday acts of grace.

All of us face many storms or difficulties in our lives, some more than others. But if we learn to open our eyes and see the acts of kindness that are born from such storms, we can help each other get through.

We can help this world become a much warmer, brighter place. We can help each other melt any hearts that may have become icy, or burdened by piles of snow.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie/Nuts About My Son

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To All The Siblings of Those Who Have Food Allergies

When my son was diagnosed with food allergies in December 2014, it changed all of our lives, including our 9 year old daughter. For over a year now, I have been amazed at the way she has handled her brother’s diagnosis. She never complains about all of the sacrifices she must make, and she takes such good care of him.

I wanted to write a letter to her and to all of the siblings of those with food allergies, to thank them for all they do, and to let them know how special they are.

To All The Siblings of Those Who Have Food Allergies:

You must have been a little worried when your siblings were diagnosed with food allergies. You may have wondered what that diagnosis meant, or how it would affect you. You may have been scared for your brother or sister because you love them, and don’t want anything bad to happen to them.

You may have had to stop eating out at restaurants, or going away on vacations until things were sorted out. You may have had to give up favorite foods, snacks or desserts until your parents figured out what they could feed your sibling safely.

You may have missed a party or two, a ballgame, or some play-dates that included your brother or sister.

You may have had to start using weird new toothpaste, shampoo, lotion and art supplies. You probably wondered what on earth they had to do with food allergies.

Your holidays and certain traditions may have been altered.

You may have had to tag along to many emergency room or doctor’s office visits.

You may have wanted to cry, and have things go back to the way they were before food allergies.

But, you didn’t.

Because you are amazing.

You have a sibling with a life-threatening allergy and you know it. You do all that you can to help them, to protect them, and to comfort them.

You make sure their EpiPens are always taken on all trips outside of the home.

You hold their hand every time they have to get a scratch test or a blood test.

You help them put on their buttons, shirts or bracelets that identify their allergy.

You learn the names of their allergens, and make sure everyone else knows them too.

You can spot their allergen a mile away, and you can identify them on food labels.

You sit with them in another section when they are separated from everyone else, you eat whatever dessert they must eat at a party so they don’t feel different.

You comfort them when they are afraid, you are their best friend when other kids don’t understand or bully them.

You defend them when you need to, you teach them how to stand up for themselves.

You are compassionate, trustworthy and kind.

You care about others, you love your sibling who has food allergies with all of your heart.

Never forget how special you are. Never forget how loved you are.

You are the best brother or sister in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter to All Those Who Have Ever Been Kind to Me

The passing of David Bowie to cancer, my friend’s young husband to ALS/Lyme, and my father in law to pancreatic cancer, have really been weighing heavily on me. I am 46 years old now, battling Lyme Disease and 5 other chronic conditions, and I feel like it’s the end of an era.

I am no longer in my twenties or thirties, and life is passing by very quickly. It seems the older I get, the faster the time flies.

I constantly read about the untimely death of so many, due to illness, violence, or accidents.

We never know when our time will come.

We shouldn’t spend our days contemplating this, however, we should spend our days being thankful and giving thanks. Planning for the future, but living in the moment. Enjoying and spending time with our loved ones. Helping others.

In case I have fewer moments left than expected, I wanted to write this letter. Please feel free to share it if you like it, or if you can relate to it.

To All Those Who Have Ever Been Kind to Me:

I have lived many years. I have seen many things. But, what I remember the most are the encounters with those who have been kind to me.

Some were friends, some were family, many were complete strangers.

You gave me a sweet smile, a pat on the back, you opened many doors for me.

You helped me grow, you helped me relocate, you helped me move on.

When I was down, you helped pick me up. When I was happy, you shared my joy.

You served me many meals, you sold me many items that I needed to survive, you drove me where I needed to go.

You helped me when I dropped my groceries, you helped me when I dropped the ball, you carried my luggage to the airport.

You provided my medicine, you provided me with shelter on a cold night, you provided me with companionship.

You taught me literature, you taught me how to sew, you taught me how to live.

You paid the bill when I was low on cash, you held my hand through the hardest times, you never let go.

You walk by me everyday, you see me at family gatherings, you are a pleasant memory.

I am thankful for every single one of you who were kind to me, and who showed me how to be kind. I am glad that I met you.

I am forever grateful, and I will never forget you in this life or the next.

I will take you with me wherever I go.

For you are in my heart, my soul and my mind.

I hope that you have a blessed life. I hope that you live a life filled with love and happiness.

For you brought happiness into my life, you deserve my eternal gratitude and the best that life has to offer.

You are my poetry.

Thank you for showing me how beautiful life is, and for providing me with the subject for all of my poems.

 

Love Kathy

Poetologie ❤

 

 

 

 

Why The Series Finale Of My Daughter’s Favorite Show is So Upsetting

The series finale of my daughter’s favorite show “Austin and Ally” is Sunday, January 10th. I keep hearing the announcement as we have the Disney channel on most of the day. Each time I hear the commercial, I get a little verklempt.

I’ve been trying to figure out why.

Why am I so upset that this show is ending? I mean it’s not exactly Game of Thrones where I sit on the edge of my seat, and freak out waiting a whole week for the next episode. I go through seven hells while I await a new season. That is certainly not the case with Austin and Ally.

But, it is a special show that I share with my daughter. It is a way for us to bond and to spend time together. Just like we did with iCarly and Good Luck Charlie.

It is marking the rapid passage of time. It has been on for four years. Years filled with happiness, tears, and love. My daughter was 6 when the show started, and is now 10 and getting ready to graduate elementary school.

Where has the time gone?

I feel like a chapter has ended, and a new one is beginning.

I’m not sure I’m ready for it to end yet.

I can remember watching the Wiggles with her as a baby and toddler.  I can still envision finding her face frozen in fear as she watched a creepy Wiggles puppet video, and the pure joy on her face as Murray shouted out her name that was written on a sign for their concert.

I will always hold those memories dear, and I will look forward to creating new ones.

But for now I will hope this week goes by slowly. I will take more time to gaze at my daughter so I can remember how she is exactly at this moment in time. I will take a few more minutes to talk to her, to hug her, to show her how much I love her.

I will take time to deal with the realization that she is not a baby anymore, she is not yet a teen. She is in an in between stage. A stage where she is not as easy to please. A stage where her iPad is more exciting than me. A stage I must get used to, and learn to enjoy.

She is growing up, and I must grow with her as a mom.

I must face the facts that though these four years have gone by so swiftly, there are many wonderful years ahead.

I will sit with her next Sunday, and enjoy the moment. Images of my own childhood will flash by, like when I watched the last episode of Little House on the Prairie, or MASH.

Time stopped back then for these events.  Everyone was watching those shows at the same time. Everyone talked about them the next day. They were big moments in history.

Times have changed and media has changed. There are still big moments, but they are different, and they are fleeting.

The Austin and Ally series finale may not make history, but it will forever be a part of me. It will forever be a special memory that I shared with my daughter.

I’m sure that we will shed a few tears when it’s over. I’m sure that we will want a quick hug.

What I’m not sure of is what the future holds.

What will the next chapter in our lives be like?

I’m so thankful to my daughter for all the wiggles, random dances and belly swirls. I’ve enjoyed every single one.

I can’t wait to see what’s next, and as I prepare for it, I hope she knows that she’s one in a million, and that I’ve always got her back.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie