Monday, April 23, 2012

First Rule of Sales.....

I'm not a salesperson by any means. I couldn't sell snow to a snowman. But I do know that the first rule of sales is "Know Your Customer."

I attended "Camp Widow" this past weekend, which, by the way, was a really awesome experience (but that's another blog post). I flew into Myrtle Beach on a sinfully early flight on Friday morning, so I was in the lobby by 8:30 in the morning. I got a cup of coffee, then approached a woman sitting at a desk in the lobby, thinking she was the concierge, and asked her where I would find the registration table for Camp Widow.

She answered me that she was not the concierge, but the representative who sold the time-shares for the Marriott. She pointed to the gentleman at the other desk, indicating that he was the concierge.

I thanked her and attemped to walk away when she stopped me and asked me if I would like a free travel mug and a coupon for a free cup of coffee from Starbucks. I said, "Sure." Never hurts to have an extra travel mug, especially since they are easily lost. She gave me the mug and the coupon, and I attempted to walk away again, and she asked me if I would like to fill out a form to enter a drawing for a free vacation to Aruba. I asked her "For how many people?" I wouldn't want to win a vacation for two since I would have to choose which of my kids to take, which is simply unrealistic. Besides, I didn't really want my name on a mailing list for the solicitation of time-shares.

She said, "It's a trip for two."

"No, thank you," I answered.

"Are you sure? Is your spouse here with you?"

I looked at her incredulously. Hadn't I just asked her, not less than sixty seconds ago, where the registration table for Camp Widow was? I reminded her, "No, he's not. I'm here for Camp Widow." Emphasis on widow.

Her answer? "Oh, yes, you did say that." That's it. No "sorry", no "my condolences", nothing.

Luckily, I was in a good mood and I didn't reach out and slap her upside the back of her head, even though I would have liked to. But I know other widows that would have.


It made a great story at Camp Widow, though!

Monday, April 16, 2012

2nd Anniversary

Yesterday was the second anniversary of Bobby's passing. It was weird...I was actually more sad than I was on the one year anniversary. The boys and I did the same thing that we did last year - we visited him at the cemetery and went to lunch at his favorite pizzeria. However, the rest of the day I was a little cranky...due to the fact that I couldn't get his death off of my mind, not even for a minute. I was not like that last year.

Last year, maybe I was still in shock.

Last year, the anniversary fell on a Friday, which meant school for the kids and activities after school. I rushed from here to there all night long. This year, it was on a quiet Sunday. After lunch at the pizzeria, I was not rushed to do anything or be anywhere.

Last year, I had so many jitters as the one-year anniversary approached, that I was quite surprised that the anticipation of the day was much more unsettling than the day itself. This year, as the day approached, I kept telling myself that the same thing would happen this year - that when the actual day came, I would be fine. But I wasn't fine! I may have underplayed it in my head - who knows?

I remember when everything was new, I thought to myself that one or two years down the road, I'd be "fine". That is another reason that I did not expect to be so depressed yesterday. No matter what the reason, it came as somewhat of a surprise, since I did not feel the same way last year. Feelings of grief tend to ebb and flow, they are stronger one day, and less so the next. Sometimes grief can come over you because you hear a song, or see a photo Sometimes there is no trigger at all. Grief has no rules, and no explanations. Grief is two people grieve the same way in the same time frame.

With that thought in mind, I will approach the next significant day with no expectations, in order to avoid the feelings of disappointment I had to deal with yesterday. I hope I'm successful!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Kid Power

Since the incident at the Festival of Arts Band Concert last week, I've been thinking about how my kids were able to make me feel better the other night without even knowing what they were doing.

My kids have powers. Not the kind of power you see on TV or in the movies - they can't move things with
their minds or fly around on a magic carpet. As a matter of fact, they don't even know they have these powers, and I don't have to worry about them reading about it on this blog because these two wonderful boys think this blog is "girl stuff", so they wouldn't be caught dead reading it. (No pun intended).

Every so often I think about those first few days after Bobby passed away and the pile of mess that I had turned into. I was completely helpless, and I didn't want to be anything else. Three days after he passed away, I was lying in bed, in the house all alone, crying really really hard, and wishing for the first time in my whole life that I would die. And I'd been through some hard times...problems at school when I was little, divorced from my first husband, losing my dad, laid off from a job, wondering where my next rent payment was coming from. And let me tell you, all of these scenarios SUCKED, but none of them ever made me want to die! It was a scary, scary place to be.

So I was lying there, feeling like death would be better than this, yet not contemplating suicide simply because I couldn't go that far. But I can tell you that if Tony Soprano and his goons has showed up at my house "packing heat", I probably would have let them in and offered them a cup of coffee instead of running in the other direction.

Then I thought of something...the kids!! If I died, they would find me here!! That would traumatize them for life! I could not do that to them!! They just lost their dad - losing me, too, would ruin them! That thought scared me more than anything else that was going on with what I considered at the time my wretched life without Bobby. So I remember dragging myself out of that bed, into the shower so I'd be clean, dressed and ready for them when they got home.

Was I still a mess? Of course! But I had two other very important people to worry about, who held me together without even realizing it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I Matter

Thursday night I attended the Festival of Arts Band Concert in our school district. All the school bands, 6th Grade through High School were playing in one concert - which was good for me because my kids are in two different schools, so this was only one trip to see both kids play.

The festival takes place in the High School Gym, so I found a spot in the bleachers where I'd be able to see my kid playing his clarinet. I arrived early in order to get a good spot, so I was sitting there for quite a while. I watched as the bleachers filled up with more and more parents.

It's times like this when I am really self-conscious of myself, though, and it makes me really uncomfortable. I looked around and the place was full of couples. Moms and Dads sitting together. And for some reason, on Thursday night, all the Moms and Dads seemed to be all over each other...holding hands, arms around each other, you get the picture. In the meantime, I felt like there was a neon sign over my head that said SINGLE MOM with a flashing arrow pointing at me. I felt like people were staring at me with a mixture of pity and contempt, while in reality, I'm sure nobody even gave me a second thought. But that is how I felt. I even scanned the bleachers to find any other single parents, and surprisingly, could not find one other single parent in those bleachers...not one.

Then something occurred to me...there wasn't anyone in this room to whom I mattered. I became involuntarily sad - and boy do I hate when that happens. There wasn't one person in that room to whom I was important, and if I got up and left, nobody would even notice, let alone care. I get really annoyed with myself when these thoughts enter my head, but I just cannot stop them sometimes.

Soon the concert started, and I listened to the first three bands play, which was somewhat uneventful for me personally because neither of my kids were in the first wave of bands. Then the second wave of kids took their seats, and I prepared to tape the first band. I re-situated myself to make sure I was able to see my kid, and propped my hand with the camera up on my knee, ready to hit record. As I scanned the band again, to make sure my kid would be in the picture, he looked up, caught my eye and smiled. I smiled back. Then, for some reason, I looked over at the other band, and ironically, my other kid was looking at me, and he smiled at me, too. And at that moment, I thought of something.

I did matter to someone in that room...two people, in fact. And my feelings of worthlessness immediately melted away. It's amazing what our kids can do for us without realizing it.