True Story #1: We bought a used car a couple years ago. This car came with Sirius radio already running. We had no idea how long we would have this service. Would it be a year? Two days? A lifetime? So we just went on our merry little way waiting for the ball to drop. But day after day I would get in my car and my beautiful Sirius radio still played for me. Until the day I needed it most. My husband had already deployed and I had flown back to Texas to move my household goods into storage and pick up our car. The drive from Texas to Utah is about twenty-two hours. And I was completely alone. I was one hour into the trip when the radio stopped and told me that I needed to subscribe. Seriously. One hour into a twenty-two hour trip. Through parts of the country that have zero radio stations. Fortunately I have a smartphone and I pulled over to a gas station and subscribed right then and there.
True Story #2: About three years ago my husband was deployed (do you see a trend here?). It was December 18 and I was living in Utah. He was supposed to be getting home on December 21. But home was Fort Hood, Texas. The kids and I were going to move back down to Texas on the 19th and hope to beat him there. We already had a house down there because I had gone down a month before to make sure we had a place to live. My sister-in-law, Ruth, was going to take me to lunch. She came to get me and I went out to meet here. As I walked across the yard I realized that I forgot teacher gifts in the house. So I turned around to get them out. I slipped in the mud, slid into the concrete step, tore my pants apart, cut my knee up and felt excruciating pain in my ankle. I had sprained the same ankle about six months earlier so I thought I had just done the same thing.
Ruth offered to take me to the hospital but I was hungry. I wanted lunch. So I went inside and changed and then went out to the car. During this whole time I could not put any weight on my right leg without feeling like blurting out a million swear words. About halfway into town (we have to drive to "town" to go out to eat) the pain got so bad that I told her just to take me to the hospital. She obliged and I found out I had broken my ankle in two places requiring surgery. I cried and pled to please let me go to Texas and have the surgery there because my husband was coming home and I couldn't let him come home to an empty house. They explained that because of the type of break I could not wait. One wrong move and my leg would completely pop out of the socket.
So I had surgery on December 19. I have a heart condition so they wanted to keep me overnight. But they overdosed me on my heart medicine while I was in the hospital. Instead of my usual 25mg they gave me 250mg. so I had to stay in the hospital two nights for an outpatient procedure. So it was now December 21 and I was supposed to be in Texas that day. But my husband called and his flight had been delayed until December 24. Yay! I could still make it. The doctors were worried about the risk of blood clots from me traveling so far so soon. I cried and I pled to please let me go to Texas so they gave me shots that I had to inject into my stomach. I hate needles. But I did it.
I went back and watched everybody else pack up my house and do all the work for me and then my parents, my kids and I started the journey. And we made it about two hours before I got so sick I thought I was going to die. There was an ambulance ride. And dehydration. And C. diff (which I won't detail because it is gross). And doctors telling me I shouldn't be in a car for that long. But I cried and pled to please let me go to Texas. We compromised by staying in a hotel that night to make sure I got better. My husband was delayed too and wouldn't be there until the 25th.
Then we hit Texas, which had been hit by a huge ice storm. We were driving on solid sheets of ice. It was awful. We woke up Christmas morning in a motel in Lubbock, Texas with no gifts, not stocking, no tree. I felt like the worst mother ever. But my kids were going to get their dad for Christmas so we continued on. We eventually made it to my house at about 6pm and my husband made it home at about 1am. We made it before he did. And it was wonderful (at least I think it was - I was pretty heavily medicated).
What is the point of these two stories? Sometimes when I'm reading a book so much crap is getting thrown at a character that I get fed up and just want to scream, "That much bad stuff doesn't happen to one person!" I feel like the author, in an effort to create conflict, just throws every bad scenario at a character and hopes we will go along for the ride. Yes, there is conflict in life. Yes, sometimes it comes down heavy. But if there is too much it becomes ridiculous instead of believable. I would not believe my two true stories if I had not lived them.
So, how do we balance creating conflict without creating an unbelievable level of conflict? Any ideas?
Also, to go along with the title of my post, you should totally check this out: 17 Things the Princess Bride Taught Me About Autism Parenting