Sunday, June 5, 2011

The words we say versus words we hear...

Some days I think, YES, it is all working! No problems! Happy! Good! What else could I want out of this life? Other days, I just wonder about the point of even getting out of bed. I could just shuck off my responsibilities, say FORGET it! Either way, life goes on. 

Our new and improved farm market booth!
I think it does. I watch people, a lot. When I was younger I would watch people in restaurants and turn to my friends and "tell" them what the people were saying. Most conversations were ridiculous, some very serious and sad, others a come on. I started to figure out body language and how we all interact as humans. I was a pretty naive person for an incredibly long time. Maybe that is why reading people is so much more important to me now. I hear the words, but listen to the body. I became quite adept in my old job at reading people and seeing what they were trying to hide, sometimes for the good but often for a dishonest purpose. Now when people talk to me, I listen to their movements, watch their eyes, are they defensive in their movements or words. I reach past what they are saying and try to discover why they are saying it. No, I am not a human lie detector like Robert de Niro in "Meet the Parents" but I do see more than some people want me to see. So beware, next time we talk!

I used to feel alone in my church as well as in my junior and senior high schools. I was always an outsider, lingering on the edge. I was the last person picked for the sports team, the one who sat on the sideline at the dance or was asked by the geekiest guy there to hit the floor. I was incredibly literal, never knew a line or got a joke and thought that I had absolutely NO sense of humour. (Of course about 3 years AFTER highschool I realized that people thought everything was funny in homeroom because they were stoned! I was clueless! My brain thought they had Visine in their bag and Listerine spray because they were really hygienic!)

Gullible and unsophisticated described me to a T. Innocent and shy. I guess that made me an easy mark. The upside is that when an adult in power was molesting half the girls in my youth group, I was left out. I was actually upset that he liked them all better and not me. I am not sure if he stopped when he asked me an inappropriate question because I was so clueless to what he was talking about or whether he was deathly afraid of my dad. At the time Dad was 6'2", about 240lbs. had a gruff voice and always looked like he was frowning. All of my friends were afraid of him, until they got to know him. He protected me unknowingly, so thank you Dad! (Speaking of my dad, until recently I was cautious of what I wrote because my parents might read it. My Mom isn't on the computer and my Dad JUST told me he deletes everything I send, so I can be more forthright in the future!)

I am also not quite sure if my husband reads much of what I write, I suppose after this post I will know. I think he does, often, but not sure if always. Let's test that today! A few weeks ago Len's brother came to visit. They were busy, working and playing. It was good for them both, I had no issues with it. Larry left, Len got sick. After a week of being sick we realized this was probably NOT a cold but allergies. Len is a man, he does not take any medication very often whether it is prescription or over the counter. I on the other hand, believe that medicine was discovered to help combat disease, pain and irritating ailments. I am also a mother and am legally responsible to make every effort to ensure that I tend to my children's health to the best of my ability - love, hugs, good food, medicine and over the counter medication. I have to watch the body language of everyone who surrounds us. New friends, old friends, strangers, my husband, my children - always reading to determine what I should do next. In the past I have not made all the right moves, now I try each day to mediate and keep the world going in the best direction I can - as much as possible - for all those I love.

As many people agree, I have been rather busy myself. Working part time, baking and selling for the farm market, opening a coffee shop, carting children to medical appointments, dance classes and school events, shopping for our family, cooking, cleaning - well to some extent, trying to get more website business, keeping in touch with my family, planning our trip to BC, advocating for my girls, dealing with lawyers, doctors and whatever else may come up from time to time in my off hours (between 12am and 6:00 am - otherwise known as sleeping hours - sorry my lazy time.) Yes, during the winter I did go back to bed, life was slower, less to do, I don't nap during the day, and it was dark and cold out. Now it is spring, almost summer, light by 5am or earlier and more to do. I am not going back to bed often, in fact it is less than once a week and only until about 8am or so most days. 

Of course on Thursday, Len had to go up Green Mountain which is a hell of a hill. Long, steep, arduous, heart thumping, breath catching and with the bugs these days, fly swatting. Len as I said has been sick. He is congested, sniffling, sneezing, puffy from bug bites and kind of grumpy from not sleeping well. I told him do NOT walk up the hill, let me drive you. I can come get you again too or you can walk home, but the hill is TOO much as you have been suffering from fever too. Thursday morning I went back to bed. Apparently the night before I had several nightmares that Rachel had to wake me from and I was feeling a bit run down myself. When I start to think of all I have to do, I get overwhelmed and my energy was underwhelming. I went back to bed. I set the clock for 8:45 am and got up. I puttered, wrote my last blog, had coffee, decided what to bake that day and at 11am when I hadn't heard from Len, I messaged him on MSN (yes that is how we connect from the house to his studio) "Hi honey! How are you feeling? I should drive you up soon so you can work in the raspberry patch because I have to start my yeast/bread soon. Come in when you are ready! - a little heart and happy face attached to the note. " No answer. 

OK, I am staying inside. Yes, it is nice out but the bugs are wicked. The little black flies are voracious and get through my hair and chew on my scalp (apparently I have tasty shampoo!) As it was I was swatting mosquitoes all day and that was enough for me. Around 1:30 or 2pm Len wandered in. Now my husband is a pretty easy going guy. Not much really pisses him off and he doesn't have a bad temper - much. Having said that, a week of little to no sleep, a face that was swollen from bites, earlobes that looked like they should have lobster claws attached and a wheezy chest, made him a bit, dare I say, belligerent? I looked at him and said, "Len! I told you I would drive you up the road! You shouldn't have walked!" At that moment I was a caring wife who was very concerned about the state of his health, that is until he turned to me and said, "Well, I can't wait for you. If I want to get something done I can't sit around all day waiting for you to crawl out of bed at 11am!" OK I heard the words and watched the body language, neither very comforting at that moment in time. I had watched his frustration building up the past few days with being sick, being held back from what he needs to do and was sympathetic to what he was going through.

My empathy waned, quickly, my back rose up and I turned around to cook, seething the whole while. 11am? What the hell was he talking about? Just because I wrote my note at 11am doesn't mean that I was in bed until then! Yes, sure, I have done that before, but can't remember the last time! How come my friends and family can see that I am busy and have lots on my plate? How come even when I am sick I still have to function as much as possible to keep the house running? How come! How come??? I shook my head and hoped it was the fever talking, the man was sweating like he had done a marathon and the bites were getting bigger and his face was starting to glow. I recommended STRONGLY that he go take a bath, get his fever down, have a beer and maybe take a nap. I really did not want him near me at that moment. I am pretty caring and attentive but I too can get p'od! Not sure if he read my body language very accurately at that moment, but if he did he was smart to leave the room. It would have completely ruined my bread dough if I had thrown it in his face, no doubt the multigrain and flax would have been soothing to his ailments.

After his bath he was still owly but not as noticeably so I steered clear of him while trying to contain my inner monster. The kids came home, I got them fed, ate with Len and by then he was finally recognizing he might be fighting allergies. I convinced him against his better judgement to take some 24 hour Allegra to fight the venom of the evil creatures that have been harassing him. He relented. He took a couple and in the morning still sounded awful. He decided NOT to go to the farm market - his one day a week out and to stay home, not move much, try to get the fever down and rest. It seemed like a good plan. I did tell him if he did not improve we would have to go to a doctor even if that meant another trip to town.

I drove the girls to school and hit the market. Made my weekly trip to market, errands in town, banking, across the border for fuel, groceries and then back across the border again. When I came home Jessica met me outside and I unloaded everything, put it all away, sat down for ten minutes then went to check on my husband. Oh my! My first words were, "You are looking better!" this was my thought since the bug bites no longer looked swollen and his face was all the same colour of red, not multiple hues. He said, "Really? I am all swollen up." Jess and I looked closer, noticed that Len didn't have any facial wrinkles, his eyes were slanted and his ears were, to quote Jessica "the size of Dumbo the elephant". I made Len remove his glasses and hat and there were indentations in his head from where the pressure had been - he was completely swollen up, like Will Smith in the movie "Hitch"!

I couldn't believe it, I laughed. How awful! I laughed at his swollen face - he looked like an Asian who had undergone Botox treatments! Scary! The good thing was, his humour had returned and grumpy guy must have evaporated! Poor Lenny! It was pretty funny and it was enough to convince him again, to try Benadryl. I knew this would help somewhat with the itching, inflammation and make him drowsy so if miserable again I wouldn't notice. Yup, doped him up! Thankfully his face is calming down, his ears almost normal again and he just has a few small welts on his face.

Returning to my first thoughts in order to wrap this up, I do sense his annoyance at times with is current affliction as well as with how things run around the house. Yes, I do too much - for everyone. No - I don't always do enough of what needs to be done. Yes, my girls are spoiled and not incredibly helpful without threats of bodily harm or not being allowed to do something they really want. No, they are not nearly as spoiled as many kids when it comes to material goods - just love and too much done for them from mom. Yes, the girls will be away for the summer and that will be a good break for everyone. No, that won't resolve the problems or perception of complaints from anyone around here but hopefully it will give us all time to reflect and remember how much we do care for each other. Yes, the world has changed and parenting and expectations are radically different than they were ten years ago, 30 years ago when I was young or 60 years ago when he was young. No, I wouldn't change it, I love them all desperately and I am going to miss my children enormously.

They were my babies then, 8 years ago and they are still my babies... until the day I die.
My saving grace is to hear that I am not alone. As much as I have felt that way in the past, as much as we can internalize and hold in our grief, pain, worries and anxieties, many people have many of the same concerns. A mother wants nothing more than to raise a child that will be happy, healthy, secure and know what her true values are. A mother also wants to model a positive relationship. These are my life, this is what is important to me. 

As Scarlett O'Hara said, "Tomorrow is another day."

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