The “Shining” Situation


Oh my God, if I have to hear that Fisher Price talking radio one more time, I swear, it or I is going out the window.

I can even picture my little son peering down at me through the shards of broken glass and saying, “Mama broke the window, what a mess.”

This was me last winter. The saddest part of the whole story is that our apartment was on one floor. If I had barreled out the window, the worst that would happen would be me picking tiny pieces of broken glass out of my arms for a week. There was no escape!

I had done this to myself. Like Cast of Monte Cristo, I had brick by brick walled myself into what I now refer to as “The Shining Situation”. But unlike “The Shining” I didn’t have a fun hedge maze to chase my son through. Boy, I would have given anything for a hedge maze or even a dead decaying body that comes alive and tries to strangle me, at least that would be exciting. But no, nothing, just my one year old son, the snow and me.

My husband and I grew up in the country and so, when we found out we were expecting, thought that the best thing for our child was to move back to it. We found a great apartment in Underhill with some truly amazing landlords and moved right in.

We moved in the spring, when there was hope and flowers.

My son was born in September and it started in January. The birth of a baby and the holidays had blurred me to the fact that the big giant of mental instability was waiting in line outside our door, right behind Santa. He was standing there looking at his watch and saying,

Right about now, yeah, this seems like a good time. The ball has dropped, all of the Halloween candy has been eaten. Looks like I’m the last one standing.So in he came and out went my sanity.

Big snowstorms, subzero temperatures and the fact that my husband took the car into Burlington every day meant that my son and I were homebound. Andy and I had decided that we were going to really try to limit TV until our son was two…so no adult interaction, even fake ones.

Henry, my son, and I did everything we could do. Paced the floor, listened to endless James Taylor (he seemed like the right choice at the time), and baking… non stop baking. Andy even bought me a 25 pound bag of flour which I blew through in two weeks.

I would instantly log onto facebook in the morning and keep the screen open on the counter in the hopes that someone, ANYONE would private message me.

For months, it was like this. Then spring came and a weight began to lift. I had barely made it through the winter. But the entire time, I kept saying,

This is for his benefit. The trees, the rivers, the owls in the backyard, this is how a child should grow up.

The spring was a bit better, we could get out and walk… up the road and back down again. Underhill is beautiful, the views are spectacular, but from where I was, it was a good 2.5 miles to get to anything and that anything, was a gas station. But, this was good, this is what he needed, lots of fresh air and pine trees.

Then before I knew it, snow was flying again and I was preparing myself mentally for not losing it… mentally.

The last winter we were there was the hardest. Henry was one and now experiencing life more. This meant that he would get bored with his surroundings and wanted to see new things, new things I couldn’t give him without a car and negative temperatures.

So you know what we did? We moved.

We moved to Shelburne, right into the village. I can see people, real living people walking and hear them. I hear cars and see cars and it feels wonderful. We are within walking distance of Henry’s playgroup! He can actually go to a playgroup now! We’re even on the bus route which Henry loves to take and gets us downtown at least once a week.

When we have these little human beings, we have these things in our minds that we feel they “need”. Yes, sometimes those needs are real, like food and warmth. But other times they’re some ideal that we came up with that creates unhappiness for all involved. Really, when it comes right down to it, all our kids really need, besides the bare essentials, is sane, happy parents and a roof over their heads. It doesn’t matter where the roof happens to be.theshiningsituation


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