Reset: Slice of Life 7/31 #sol16

slice of life

I make the drive to Rapid City once or twice a week. Usually I’m on my way to an appointment–here are therapists, doctors, tutors, hairstylists–or I’m running errands–here’s the Walmart, the Safeway, the library, the UPS store.

But today’s trip is just for me. I’m driving 120 miles round-trip to get a cup of coffee, to sit for an hour with my notebook. The coffee shop closes at 3, and I should be home by 4 anyway. I didn’t tell my son I’d be away this afternoon. He’s expecting me to be home after school, and I know what will happen if I’m not where he expects me to be. He can’t help it, I remind myself. He can’t help it.

I fought this trip all morning. There are so many other things I should be doing with my afternoon besides driving 120 miles for a cup of coffee and an hour’s getaway. Cleaning the house. Finishing a final round of edits on a book project that’s due. Revising some picture book manuscripts I owe. Working out. Having a conversation with my husband that doesn’t focus on parenting, that isn’t full of complaint. Blogging. Grading. Oh yes, lots of grading.

But this afternoon, I need to push the reset button. My patience is running dangerously thin. I am reacting to my son rather than responding. I feel angry, irritable, resentful. I am spending a lot of time muttering under my breath about how people shouldn’t have to live like this. And it’s true. People shouldn’t. But this is what trauma is. This is what trauma does. He is doing the best he can do right now.

I have to do the best I can do too.


even more sky

I drive the 60 miles to Rapid catching up on my favorite bookish podcasts and marveling at the stark beauty of this landscape. The Black Hills to one side. Rolling grasslands and a scattering of badlands to the other. I do something I always think about doing but never actually do: I stop to take some photos. I can’t see the screen of my phone at all so I’m aiming and clicking blind, hoping something will turn out. When I get to the coffee shop and look at the photos, I realize I can barely see the abandoned house I was trying to photograph, but the sky is amazing.

I nurse a cup of coffee until it’s cold, and I people watch and eavesdrop and write and notice and wonder, and here I am again. Refreshed. Replenished. I don’t know how long it will last, but for today, it’s enough.








23 responses to “Reset: Slice of Life 7/31 #sol16”

  1. Tara Smith Avatar

    That scenery was just incredible – and good for you that you did what you did:reset.

  2. Katy Collins Avatar

    I used this phrase just today, “I need a reset button!” I’m so glad you had such a wonderful afternoon full of soul-feeding, quiet moments. Your pictures were beautiful. I hope your reset lasts for a good long while!

  3. elsie Avatar

    Sometimes that’s just what you have to do. Your landscape is beautiful!

  4. Shari Daniels Avatar

    Elisabeth, you are sitting right where I am today. Cranky, unsettled, angst filled. My post today is more of this. . Thank you for showing me I am not alone.

  5. maribethbatcho Avatar

    Thank you for some lovely writing. I enjoyed your descriptions, and how you were able to weave in the Reset button. The first image is just beautiful, a nice surprise. I didn’t see that house until you mentioned it, and went back to look again. The coffee is delicious looking. I always wonder why mine doesn’t look like that in the morning. Thanks again. I really enjoyed your piece.

  6. margaretsmn Avatar

    Taking this opportunity to relax and have me time is so important. Glad you did it for yourself and for us. Because we enjoyed it too.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks, Margaret! Amazing that something so simple–a fancy cup of coffee and an hour writing in my notebook–can be so rejuvenating.

  7. carriegelson Avatar

    The sky is amazing. Amazing, amazing. And these words: “But this is what trauma is. This is what trauma does.” have a whole big pile of truth to them. That coffee was a necessity I believe.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I do love this place I live. I stood in one spot and took pictures in every direction and the sky is totally different in each picture, even though I didn’t move! Have a post cooking about that too, though I don’t know what to say. That sky doesn’t really need words! So grateful I live in such a beautiful place–and that I learned how to see its beauties.

  8. Michelle Nero Avatar
    Michelle Nero

    Good for you! I’m glad you took the day for you to reset. We don’t do it often enough. My Mom tells me all the time that I need to take care of myself in order to take care of everyone else. Amazing photo without being able to see the screen! Hugs to you!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I hear the same thing from my mom–“Put your own oxygen mask on first”! Very hard to give in to the need and take that time. But wow, do I feel better now that I did!

  9. jarhartz Avatar

    That sky is amazing as is the cup of coffee. While it might seem crazy to drive that far, it seems that it’s worth it. To reset and replenish.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It was exactly what I needed! And it was a very pretty cup of coffee too!

  10. Clare Avatar

    I think we all need to take a moment to even consider the idea of hitting the reset button — that fact that you took the time is amazing! When you are dealing with difficult stages/issues in life it is critical to refuel yourself and realize you need to take care of you so you can take care of everyone else. I love that you know just how to hit the reset button. I think that is brilliant. I am still working on that – I often feel guilty or try to think what I am doing is for me, but it really is still for someone else. Thank you for sharing – I will be thinking about the reset button.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I feel guilty too, Clare. Wish I could let it go and take the time and space that I know I need. The quickest reset for me is a drive across this amazing landscape and a little time ALONE. This introvert never quite gets enough alone time! Curious what the quick resets are for others!

  11. Mindi Rench Avatar

    Hitting that reset button is so important, and I know I don’t hit it as often as I probably should. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about self-care and how I really need to be better about making sure my needs are met as well as those of my family. Thank you for sharing your vulnerable moments with us this month.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’ve got a post about self-care brewing but still thinking it through. So challenging to prioritize ourselves when for most of us that means time away from family, work, or other priorities.

  12. Akilah Avatar

    Ugh, grading. I am there RIGHT NOW. It does not help me deal with other things—like an ornery teenager. So, yes. Good on you for the reset.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I was telling my husband today that I really love teenagers–when they belong to someone else! I loved teaching teenagers, but parenting them is another matter entirely. Sheesh!

  13. KristinMc Avatar

    This is such a lovely post. Your imagery with your words, support but your photography. Your choice of language about reacting instead of responding really resonates with where I am right now. I was just telling a friend she needs to take a day to reset. At the end I promised her that if she did it this week (her university is on break) than I would do the same next week when my university is on break. Your post is another sign affirming that choice!

  14. Ricki Ginsberg Avatar

    Your writing always takes me away. This is so beautifully written. You should consider writing a book. I love the way you write, and you have so much knowledge. Thanks for sharing this, and I am glad you were able to hit the reset button. We’re allowed to hit it often, so don’t feel any guilt when you decide to hit it again.

  15. Carol Avatar

    Pushing the reset button sounds like a perfect thing to do. A little coffee, a little time, a lot of sky and beauty to fill your soul…

  16. […] slice about what it takes to reset when I’m worn […]

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