Mom Life

Apple Picking and an Anxiety Attack

A few days ago, I posted a nice blog about our trip to Bryson City and how we went apple picking on the way home. It was all hearts and rainbows and happy times. Well here’s what really went down as soon as we stepped into the orchard, which was shortly followed by a massive panic attack.

I grew up around citrus trees in Florida, but had never even seen an apple tree in person so I was little obsessed with actually seeing an apple growing on a tree. I imagined these big trees like in every kid’s storybook that has an illustration of a giant apple tree with kids climbing in it. I made a big deal out of going apple picking and made it clear it was the ONE THING I wanted to do on this trip.

So we got to Bryson City and found out the closest orchard where you could pick apples was actually in Hendersonville, which we passed on the way there. My husband Sean said we could leave early on Monday and stop there on the way home. Monday came and we got out the door late and he poo-pooed the whole apple picking stop. So I made a big deal out of it. I pointed out it was my ONE THING and he promised we could do it. So off to the orchard we went.

We arrived in the late morning when the air was still crisp and cool. The smell of apple cider donuts greeted us when we walked through the gates. We hopped in line and ordered some delicious warm sugary goodness. All was right in the world. We paid our $20 and got our basket and headed off to the orchard.

Of course I started snapping picks before even scouting out the apples. I was planning on getting some great photos. We started wandering the trails between the apple trees, searching for apples. The trees were smaller than the ones in my imagination, but it was still cool to see something other than an orange or grapefruit growing on a tree branch. The row we were in was a little over-picked, so I stopped to take some photos of Keelan. This is the last photo I took before disaster struck:

apple picking

Moments after I snapped this pic, Keelan turned around and started waddling toward me. I asked him if he needed to go potty. He had been doing really good with his potty training and I left the diaper bag in the car because I didn’t think we’d need it and I didn’t want to lug it around while apple picking. Big mistake. He burst out crying and that’s when I realized he’d pooped his pants.

We were already a good bit into the orchard so it was going to take a while to get all the way back to the car. Sean knew apple picking was a big thing for me, so he decided to take Keelan back to the car and let me continue with the apple hunt. I thought that sounded like a great idea and off they went.

I continued wandering the trails, seeing a lot of rotten apples on the ground, but none that I could get to in the trees. Every one that I could reach had a bad spot on it. I started to wonder if we were near the end of apple picking season. I kept going deeper into the orchard and popped out of the row of trees into a large field on the edge of the picking area. I was actually enjoying a moment of quiet and solitude. I checked my map to see where the Fuji apples were and continued on, thinking how empty it was, like I was the only person out that far, and was glad I had my phone with me.

And then I reached into my purse to check my phone.

And my purse was empty.

My heart started thumping and I thought “Oh I must have left it in the baby bag.” Then I realized that wasn’t possible because Sean had left to go get that same bag. I tried to think of the last time I’d seen my phone. I recalled hearing a “thump” earlier when I was checking my map. I had been keeping my phone in an outside pocket so it was easy to grab. It had to have fallen out when I went to check the map.

I started retracing my steps frantically. Suddenly I felt completely alone and not in a good way. My heart was racing, I started getting shaky, I couldn’t think straight, I couldn’t think anything but “phone, phone, phone.” I paced back and forth in the field and back to the trails between the trees, trying to see a glint of the phone in the grass. I tried my Apple watch but there was no Wi-Fi so I couldn’t ping my phone. I was freaking out and thinking I didn’t want my apple picking trip to end up costing $1000 by losing my fairly new iPhone X.

I ran back to the main trail hoping to find someone with a phone so I could call Sean and let him know I was in the same spot. I tried not to freak out too much, figuring Sean could call my phone when he got back and it was be easy to find. Thankfully there was a family coming down the trail and one of them was nice enough to let a frantic sweaty stranger use their phone. But of course Sean didn’t answer the strange number. So I tried texting. He messaged back he was on his way, and I went back to my pacing and searching. The sun was getting really intense and I was getting sweatier, a headache was setting in and I still hadn’t put one damn apple in my basket.

When Sean and Keelan arrived I was already a hot mess. He started calling my phone and then I got a slow sinking feeling as the realization set in that MY PHONE WAS ON SILENT. There was no way I was going to hear the buzzing over the noise of the orchard. It had seemed so quiet when I was alone but trying to hear that faint buzzing it seemed like the wind and birds were all just too loud. I still walked up and down the aisles calling my phone over and over in a vain attempt to hear something, anything.

I was trying to keep it together and not have a full-on panic attack. I stopped and squatted on the ground, holding my head and just trying to breath my way through it. I probably could have used a hug or some soothing words, but Sean was just like, “What are you doing? Stop freaking out.” Then Keelan came over and asked if I was OK and when I said no, he gave me a kiss and asked “Are you better now?” So of course I smiled and hugged him and told him yes that helped. Thank goodness for sweet little boys.

I pulled myself back together, wanting to set a good example for my son. I stood up and walked the trail one more time, silently praying we could find my phone so I could get past this and not forever ruin apple picking as “that time I lost my phone and freaked out.” I was just rounding the corner and I saw a man and his son, and he was holding a phone. As soon as he said, “Is this your phone? We saw you searching.” I truly wanted to hug him. I told him so and then settled for shaking his hand. It was his son who had found it, up the trail where I had stopped to take the photo of Keelan right before he pooped.

So I got my phone back. And an hour into apple picking had yet to pick one apple. I tried to shake off our initial rocky start, but the surge of adrenaline had left me shaky, sweaty and weird feeling. It took another 30 minutes before I felt better, but it was getting hotter and I still felt like a sweaty mess. So that’s why there were so few pictures from my apple picking adventure. I didn’t feel like posing for pictures or smiling. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry “do over!”

We did eventually find a lot of good apples and left with a full basket. And I learned a valuable lesson: ALWAYS BRING THE BABY BAG. I feel like that’s the moment everything went downhill because that’s when I took the map from Sean and put it my purse next to the phone, which is why it easily fell out. (You may be thinking I should have learned not to put my phone in my front purse pocket, but let’s not kid ourselves. It’s just too handy)

So that’s the true story behind the nice apple picking blog I posted. That’s real life. It’s not always pretty. Sometimes it’s just a hot sweaty frantic mess, and so am I.

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