Sometimes we need reminders. We need subtle or not so subtle taps on the shoulder or better yet, slaps in the face. Those things that wake us up in our selfish world and highlight our blessings. This era in which we live encourages selfish pity parties. You’re ENTITLED to whine. You’re entitled to a rotten disposition. It is an EASY thing to be a negative person. It is an EASY thing to find something to complain about. It’s easy to go to that place, but once you’re there it drains so much life out of you and everyone around you!!! Don’t let yourself go there. It’s such a waste of precious time and energy.

A couple of weeks ago, I had my first “selfish pity party” up here in the woods. It was Evan’s day off and he had been out all morning hunting. It had been a pretty stressful day with the boys. My oldest boy is a three year old yet still adjusting to his needy teething (all four two year molars at the same time) little brother. With no one to visit and no one to invite over and an absent husband in the middle of hunting season…there was no one to help alleviate some of the stress.

My husband loves to be outside. Loves to trap, hunt, fish. Soooo when you enjoy something, you like to spend your time doing that on days off and in your free time. When animals are trapped…they need to be cleaned, skinned, and stretched. The process is very time consuming. Much more time consuming than I would like. This was not the first time in our 7 years of being together that I felt jealousy toward his time with animals. Dead or alive.

Every stay at home Mom knows…that after a full day spent with the kiddos, an hour of alone time at the end of the day can feel like a spa day and a shopping spree and a gourmet meal all in one! That is, if you don’t fall asleep in the first five minutes of being alone. Sometimes I miss reading. I love to read. Some days I miss being able to sit down for hours on end to just read and then read some more. For my 25th birthday Evan bought me some very Warden wife appropriate books. My Life in the Maine Woods by Annette Jackson, Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup, Massacre Pond by Paul Doiron, and Nine Mile Bridge by Helen Hamlin. I’ve started reading them all, but have only finished one.

After having my little diva moment, my husband packed up our oldest to go check traps. My littlest guy went down for a long nap and I sat down on the couch and opened up Here If You Need Me for the first time. Let me tell you, I haven’t cried so hard in a long, long time. What an emotional roller coaster it is!!! I’m not sure any book has ever made me bawl hysterically on one page and laugh hysterically on the next. Being a wife and a mom and a fairly new member to this law enforcement life….this book hit home. It captured some of my biggest fears and some of my loudest thoughts. This book was my slap in the face. It was the interruption of my little pity party.

I sat on that couch and bawled like a baby for a full 90 minutes or so. When Evan got home and opened the door, he stopped mid step with his eyes wide and said, “What happened??? What is wrong??”

I am well aware that at this point in time, I was a wreck!! I held up the book and said,”It’s this damn book you bought me!!!”

I ran to him and gave him a huge hug and a sloppy sad faced kiss and told him he could hunt and trap and live in the woods…he could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted!!!

After you read the book, you’ll know why I had such a reaction. Any sense of entitlement I felt that day flew out the window. I felt guilty for some of the negative thoughts that had crept into my head that day. Guess what??? I’m not entitled!!! I have two beautiful, healthy, growing little boys. I have an amazing, patient, loving, and supportive spouse whom I’m lucky enough to call my best friend. I am thankful.

Kate Braestrup is the chaplain for the Maine Warden Service. I look forward to meeting her one day.


Order it. It’s amazing.
Rianne Ackley

About Rianne Ackley

I grew up in Downeast Maine but have recently relocated to the North Woods. I live in Clayton Lake where I am a stay at home Mom to two beautifully wild little boys and wife to a Maine State Game Warden. I am a lover of the simple things in life...a good book, a song, a rainy day, a bowl of white popcorn, etc. I have a slight obsession with all things food. Love cooking it, eating it, looking at it, smelling it, reading about it, etc. I am a firm believer that life is what you make it.