I went to six post offices yesterday. I know that sounds crazy, but bear with me. I simply needed to mail a package, but it turned into something much bigger.
It was one of those days, those tough, slumpy, bad days when you don’t want to get out of bed, let alone leave your house to run mundane errands. But the package was for my daughter, and it was time-sensitive, so I hauled myself into the car, turned on my favorite podcast (Tig and Cheryl: True Story), and headed out to the closest post office.
I walked into post office #1. It was closed. Whoops – it was a federal holiday. So, I used the self-serve kiosk. Explained to several people who came in after me why the P.O. was closed. I went to put the package in the rolling dropbox – it had a broken handle and wouldn’t budge.
Ok, fine. There’s a better post office just around the corner. So, I drove over, walked in, had a bonding moment with a woman struggling with rolling dropbox #2 – it was full. I helped a man who needed to find a self-serve kiosk since this one was broken.
At this point, my ennui was taking over, and I really wanted to go home. But, surely this was a fluke, right? I’ll try just one more. It took 15 minutes but I found yet another P.O. I walked in to see a man staring at rolling dropbox #3. My stomach turned. He walked out, I walked up, and, yep, it was broken too.
Now I had a decision to make. I’m halfway through my podcast, so I’m invested in the ending. However, I’m pushing the limits of what I thought I could handle for the day. And I’m very angry with the US Postal System, already constructing my “feedback” survey in my head. I consulted Waze for the next P.O. Another 15 minutes wouldn’t kill me. So I headed to #4.
This one looked promising – not busy, and in a quiet area. Surely, THEIR rolling dropbox wouldn’t be full. And I bet it wouldn’t have been if they actually had one. But instead, I was met with a desolate hallway and a darkened, locked lobby. Plus, I had yet another conversation with a man about why the P.O. is closed.
It was now game on. I was determined. This package, which would absolutely sit ignored in the bin until the next day when the P.O. reopened, and which I could have, by now, hand-delivered to my daughter at her apartment downtown, was GOING IN A ROLLING DROPBOX TODAY. Something about this wild goose chase had given me a little push, a spark of fire in my belly to set aside my troubles and see this mission through.
It was another 15 minutes to #5, and it was hopping. People were walking in, then immediately walking back out. I felt dread but forged ahead. I opened the door, walked to the bin, pulled the handle, and it moved just enough so I could see inside. Full to the gills. I tucked tail, slinked back to my car, and Googled #6.
At this point, my podcast was over, so I switched to my backup (Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend.) I am now headed to the outer reaches of my county, fully committed to driving over the state lines if that’s what it takes. Finally, I found my destination, crawling with highway construction, and maneuvered my way in. There, inside this glorious building, was a shiny, intact, rolling drop bin. I pulled the handle, the mouth of it opened hungrily, I dropped my package in, and sighed deeply at the sound of a satisfying “thud.” Eureka!
As I drove home, I vowed to never tell anyone about this embarrassing burst of mania. But then I thought about it “big picture.” I was having a terrible day, wanting to completely shut down. I made one small step, seemingly simple, but for me, herculean, to start the ascent out of that valley. It helped distract me, have some human interaction, and begin to reset.
Did this quest solve my problems and make me a new woman? No. Did I come home and clean out my closet and go run 3 miles? No. Did I abandon the planned salmon and brussels sprouts dinner and serve frozen pizza and bagged salad instead? You betcha.
My post office tour, while not life-changing, reminded me that bad days happen, but they are temporary, and there is always a little bit of steam left inside of me to trudge on.
I believe as moms we all have days like this, so I share this story to say that you are not alone. We all deserve to discover a little light on a dark day. I hope you give yourself the grace and space to find that “something” inside of you when you need it most.