Weekend Report: The Family Visit, Flexibility, and Coping Mechanisms

I had a sewing machine and all my quilting stuff but no clean underwear.

Jun 21, 2014 at 9:00am | Leave a comment

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What am I even doing? When my routine has been disrupted, I don't even know.

This past weekend, instead of triumphing over the ufyh weekend challenge the way I had intended, I spent three days with visiting family. Surprise! 

It was a surprise to me at least -- I'd planned to drive out to the house they were renting on Friday night and then come home to spend the night. Instead, I slept on the couch of a rented vacation home, without even a toothbrush. 

It was so tragic. I had a swimsuit but no clean underwear, y'all.

Actually, plot twist: I had a sewing machine and all my quilting stuff but no clean underwear. 

It was that kind of weekend.

But getting trapped (my car was blocked into the garage so I was literally trapped at more than one point) a hour away from my clean laundry wasn't all bad because I got to hang out with a couple different generations of family. And I got to do it outside of our usual setting (the party barn behind my grandparents' house). 

Sure, my plans were all disrupted, but I learned that my grandfather doesn't like to eat bone-in chicken because he used to have to wring the necks of the chickens on the farm where he grew up. I learned that my aunts really are following my Facebook. I learned that my cousin, who is freshly graduated from nursing school, has a heck of a Voice of Authority when the situation calls for it. (Seriously, she made someone unlock a door by telling them it was a fire hazard. So great.)

My living room was still kind of a mess at the end of the weekend, but the reminder of how much fun it can be to sit in a hot tub and talk about who all has married who else was a good one. I don't always have the most in common with my family -- our politics tend to be really different -- but I love them and talking to all of them can actually be a pretty awesome thing.

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Got all of these suckers ironed and trimmed and started sewing them together over the weekend with my mom. Also, they're gradiated in contrast -- it's not a black and white picture.

Sometimes the aftermath of a change in plans (even a good one) isn't so great. A large part of managing my mental health is very much about keeping to routines -- I have to be a creature of habit in order to get things done, you know? So going with the flow can be a big challenge.

Even if I have a good time and can weather upheaval in good spirits, the re-entry back into my routine is almost always hard. It's like everything I've built completely collapses if I have to step out of my normal day for a little while.

Hey, I don't make the rules of mental health -- I just try to work my coping mechanisms and be productive, you know?

But I was all ready to get back into the usual procedure this weekend -- oh, grocery shopping, I didn't realize I missed you until I ran out of salsa on Tuesday -- but instead I'm road tripping up for more family gathering fun.

The default state of life is change, right? 

Once I get back home, I'll have to feel my way around getting through the week until I can have a normal weekend. And maybe some things (like acquiring more salsa) will slide until then. I've resigned myself to that over the years.

Do you think this sort of thing is just a symptom of having too much packed into our lives that we feel obligated to handle? I mean, it seems absurd that I couldn't work a trip to the green grocer into my Monday night schedule -- but when I stop to think about it, I kind of want to weep.

What do you do when your plans -- and your routines! -- fall victim to events, both positive and negative? How do you get back to all of the things you need to do?

And -- as always -- welcome to your weekend! What are you planning?

(Also as always: if you've got a pitch for a weekend post, I'm still totally interested; pitch me at Marianne@xoJane.com.)