(not so) Top Secret

My husband and I had a pretty important milestone lately.  We celebrated twenty years of marriage.

In today’s throw-away society, that’s a pretty big deal.  I’m reasonably sure the divorce rate is now well over 50%. (I could research that, but this isn’t one of those serious, research-y blogs.)

Anyway, as an act of benevolence, and in light of the upcoming nuptials of some beloved family members, I have decided to share with you the secret of my marital success.

You read that right.  I am about to share with you, my faithful readers, top-secret, highly confidential information that may change the way we look at marriage, and, in fact, all of our relationships.

Come close now.  A little closer.  Lean in here.

Here is the secret–the secretest of secrets–

There is no secret.

I know, you’re thinking, “Wait–what?”

I’ll say it again: the secret is, there is no secret.

Part of our culture’s collective problem is that we think there is some magical answer to all of our problems.  There has to be some secret to how two people can stay married for twenty years, right? Some formula that makes it easy and does all the work for us. Do this, get that result.  A plus B equals C.

Oh, if only life were that simple.

My husband and I have stayed married for twenty years because we made the choice to stay married for twenty years.  If you think there haven’t been times during these two decades when each of us hasn’t thought about running for the hills, then you’re deluded.  Everyone has those feelings.  Human beings are volatile creatures.  We get angry.  We harbor resentment, and say things without thinking.  We hurt each other again and again.  Truthfully, no one has the power to hurt us more than the people we love.

It would be so simple for people to give up, to say to Hell with it and walk out the door.  Tons of people do.  Matt and I have not.  We have chosen forgiveness, and patience, and compassion.  We talk to God about our problems instead of the neighbors. We talk to each other when we have an argument instead of posting it on Facebook. In short, we make our marriage a priority.

To me, that isn’t a secret. We should treat all of our relationships, and the people in them, with respect.  We should give our best to the people who mean the most to us.  After all, that’s what we expect from them, isn’t it?

It’s so easy to think someone else will be better, someone else will do better, when in reality we are the ones who need to do better. We need to try harder.

That isn’t a secret, my friends.  That is a fact.


 

 

Prozac (not so) Me

Do you ever get the feeling that God is speaking to you? Maybe sending you a sign?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not those kinds of signs, but the kinds that only you see.  I’ll give you two examples.

Wednesday of last week was Ash Wednesday.  My sister was watching an episode of Roseanne.  It was from either the last season or the next to last season.  Roseanne is teaching some rich white folks how to be white trash.  She said, “Women who yell don’t need pills.  Pills were invented by men to stop women from yelling!”

It struck me as funny, but it also lodged itself unknowingly into my brain.

Fast forward a few days, and my best friend makes this casual comment to me over the phone:  “I’ve heard you laugh more in the past few days than I have for a long time.”

This has all been foreshadowing.  (See how literary I am? Don’t you just want to throw money at me for my writing?) Last Tuesday was my last Prozac. Absolutely not on purpose! Don’t be impressed! No indeed–my prescription didn’t have any refills, and we got hit with a massive storm that knocked out power early Wednesday morning.  Power was out not only at the pharmacy, but also at my doctor’s office, so I couldn’t call in for a refill.

Now, if you can follow the Tarantino-ish order of this post so far, here’s what has happened:  I have inadvertently given up Prozac for Lent.

It just so happened my last pill was on Fat Tuesday.  I couldn’t get it refilled on Ash Wednesday.  When the day finally came for me to submit the refill because the doctor was going to be in the next day, I hear that very, very important comment from my friend.

She’s heard me laugh more in the last week then she has in a long time.

The week I haven’t had the Prozac.

If that isn’t food for thought, I don’t know what is.

I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  In old fashioned terms, I’m hyper, nervous, neurotic, etc.  This is not revolutionary news to anyone, I assure you. A few years ago, though, it was moving past the point of comedy routine material into the land of serious issues.  Sleep was nearly impossible.  When I did sleep, I had terrible nightmares.  My first panic attack prompted me to talk to a doctor.  I didn’t even have a regular family doctor up to that point.

The panic attack was a thing I cannot describe. It happened on the way back from a beautiful, stress free vacation.  That was the most upsetting part.  It came from nowhere.  It wasn’t  a “break” or anything like that.  I was just riding along in the car on the way home from the ocean, and bam.  Well, more like BAAAMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!

I started to notice the semi in the lane next to us.  It kept distracting me from the ongoing conversation.  It kept catching my eye.  Suddenly, I started to get afraid.  (Although afraid fails to truly describe the feeling.)  I sweated.  I cried.  I shook.  My mouth tasted like pennies.  I became convinced we were all (me, my husband, my kids, and my sister) were going to die in a horrific accident.  I saw it.  A good imagination is a blessing and a curse, let me tell you.  My throat closed up and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I had to fight the temptation to literally tear open the door of the car and jump out.  Really.

Well, I confess to you now that I took one of my sisters strong narcotic medications to knock myself out.  I slept for a couple hours of the ride home, and when I woke up, I felt a little better.  It’s hard to describe, but somehow, that event made me more aware of the feelings that I guess had always been there,unacknowledged,  hanging like some sort of poisonous snake around my neck.  It was ready to slither up any time to whisper in my ear all of the tragic and terrible things that could happen, that were happening, in the world, and in my life, every day.  I had to do something.

So, to cut this long story slightly shorter, Prozac galloped onto the scene like my White Knight, and I found I could deal with daily stresses without being quite so “hyper” or “nervous” or “neurotic.”  To me, this was a good thing.  To my family, who loves me and worries about me and, to be frank, is a little afraid of me, it was a miracle.

I short, I squashed the bad feelings.

Here’s what scares me: have I squashed all of the feelings?

I am a loud woman.  I am passionate and sometimes overbearing and sometimes overemotional.  My temper has gotten me into more tough spots than I care to recall.  I love to laugh, and laugh loud and hard.  I have a hard time keeping my opinion to myself.  I think all of these things are what makes me Janice.  They make me Mom, and The (not so) Special Mother, and the woman whose husband said, “There’s no one like you, babe.  One’s enough,” and he said it in response to my query as to whether or not he was sure he really wanted to marry me.

So here is the question (the one that is keeping the stars apart): Have I, and other’s like me, medicated ourselves right out of living?

Life is supposed to be hard.  The hard is what makes it good.  It’s scary and tragic and beautiful and funny and horrible and everything. It is anxiety causing!!  Is it possible we are taught to squash feelings rather than deal with them? Are we in a cycle of denial and repression that sucks in not only ourselves, but everyone around us?

I don’t know the answer to these questions.  I’ll be frank–they scare the hell out of me.  The thought that God is trying to tell me something so specific equally scares the hell out of me.  I’m not the best Catholic lately.  Maybe God is telling me to rely on Him, and on my own faith, rather than chemicals from a bottle.  Maybe God is telling me that my life is a gift, warts and all.  My feelings and reactions are a part of that life.  They are a part of me.  I’m going to give them a chance this Lent.  I’m going to try and deal with them instead of trying to squash them.  Not to get too deep, but I’m going to feel them, then I’m going to try to let them go and give them to God.

Pray for me.  I need it.

We all do.


 

 

Disclaimer: In no way am I suggesting that every person who takes some sort of depression or anxiety controlling medication should just toss those pills out the window and embrace the agony.  It’s a story about my own life, and if it speaks to you, then so be it.  Cheers!

 

 

 

Voluntary Madness

As I sit here in my faithful, if slightly sagging recliner tonight, I am, for the moment, without my husband.

Where is he? At the bar? Working third shift? Coon hunting?

Nope.

He’s currently at the scene of two-car MVA.  That’s motor vehicle accident to the uninitiated.

My husband is part of our local volunteer fire department.  He, and his brothers and sisters, were all just sitting at home a few minutes ago, some probably in bed, when that shrill sound ripped through the evening.  The volunteer firefighter’s pager–a cold, unfeeling thing that dictates much of our lives.

As a teenager, I sometimes held volunteer firefighters in disdain.  Now, as VFF wife, I sometimes catch little snide comment and rolled eyes from people.  I know what they are thinking.  They have envisioned the Barney Fife types who just like strutting around with their pagers and giving people orders.  I guess there are some of those out there, just as there are always bad apples in every basket.

But what I have found is that these are hard-working, courageous men and women who voluntarily give up time away from their families to help others.

My husband spent days away from home while he was getting his certification.  He got further trained to drive the engines, because he is a naturally talented big truck driver.  He trains every Monday evening with his Station.   Mostly, though, he is always ready to literally run out the door and to the rescue of people in need.  It might be late in evening, like now, or it might be one or two in the morning.  Sometimes he’s back in an hour–sometimes not for five or six.

Sometimes he has to comfort people who are afraid, and hurt, and maybe even dying, all while acting as though he himself is not afraid.

He has been “toned out” during cookouts, birthday parties, holidays and family gatherings. He has missed his dinner and eaten a bowl of cereal, or maybe nothing at all because he was too exhausted to eat.

He has made lifelong friends, and so have I.  He has had struggles and frustrations and some scary situations, which he always downplays to me because he knows I worry.  He trusts his brothers and sisters with his life, and holds their lives in his hands.

So, take a minute to be thankful that there are men and women out there like my husband, who don’t do what they do because they are getting paid, or getting glory, or really even getting any recognition at all.  It’s easy to dismiss a volunteer firefighter because he’s the same guy you see mowing his lawn every week, or shopping in Walmart.  But make no mistake–he’s a hero.

And this one here, he’s mine.

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(not so) Happy

I have unlocked the secret to happiness.

Now hold on a minute.  Don’t just roll your eyes and walk off. Come back here! I’m serious.  I know the secret to happiness.

Are you ready to know the secret? Okay, wherever you are, go to a mirror. Close your eyes.  Stand in front of the mirror.  Take a deep breath.

Now, open your eyes.

See it?

You are looking at the secret of happiness.

For those of you who cheated and did not go to a mirror, I will give you the answer.

It’s you.

You are the secret to happiness.

Now, before you feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility, don’t misunderstand.  You are not the secret to everyone’s happiness.  Just your own.  Do you follow? I’ll say it plainly, with bold font, so you can get it.

You are the secret to your own happiness.

In my never-ending observation of people, I see everyone constantly searching for happiness.  They look for it in people and places and things.  They want happy lives and happy relationships and happy jobs, but they are let down over and over.

I spent more years than I am willing to count trying to find my own happiness in other people.  I was continually disappointed.  I was chronically disappointed.  Why? Because I thought someone else had the key to my happiness..  I placed impossible expectations on the people around me, and then held it against them when they couldn’t deliver.

I’m not sure what finally clued me in.  I can’t pinpoint one big “ah-ha” moment when I realized I had it wrong.  I think I just got tired of being such a drag.

Every morning I get up, and I don’t have what  people would  consider  a “fun” schedule.  I have to get my people out of bed and feed them and medicate them.  The daughter can be down right uncooperative.  Sometimes I have to hold her arms down with my leg so I can get her medicine in her.  That is not fun.  But I make jokes about it and laugh and accuse her of trying to kill me.  I sing songs and make faces to try to keep her from getting too mad.  When it’s finished, I make a big show of wiping my brow and then that’s that.  When she has a seizure, we sit together and bitch about it for a while.  It makes us feel better.  Then it’s over.

What if I wanted to make a different choice?  What if I decided to lament the difficulty of my life? What if I fussed at my daughter for her extreme hard-headed-ness (which she gets from her father) and started my whole day off on a sour, negative note?  What if I wanted to look at all of the things wrong with my life, all of the hard things that just don’t seem fair, and what if was mad or sad about them? Well, life around here would certainly be different, wouldn’t it?

No one can make those choices but me.  I can blame who I want.  Is it fair that things are the way they are?  Maybe not.  But guess what?  There’s not one damn thing I can do to change things, fair or not, and how in the hell does me being miserable help anyone?

Misery loves company–we’ve all heard it.  It’s true.  Misery is catching.  The beautiful thing, though, is that happiness is catching, too!

In our marriages, our relationships with our children, our jobs, every single aspect of our lives, we make the decision of how we are going to live our lives.  It breaks my heart to think of how much of my life I have lost being miserable.

Laughter is such a part of our lives now.  We have to laugh at ourselves and our lives–we just have to.  I don’t think we could survive day-to-day if we didn’t.  Look around yourself.  If you are with people, or, God forbid, if you are a person who can’t laugh at yourself, seek help immediately.  Put your head between your knees.  Call 911, something.  Just bail out.  You’re drowning.

You’re drowning in our society’s notion that happiness is something that is owed to us, that it is something therapy and medication can provide.  We have convinced ourselves that others should mold themselves into the shapes that make us happy.

We are deluded, and what’s worse, we are miserable.

If only everyone could decide to be happy.  If only everyone could see that each life, each relationship, each job, each person, can be a part of what our happiness is all about.  There is so much that is beautiful in even our hardest moments, so much that we should celebrate.  Even when things are hard, we can deal with them and move on.  There is so much to be thankful for, so much to appreciate.

So much to be happy about.

Go back to that mirror.  Look yourself directly in the eye.  Don’t take any bullshit.  Who is standing in the way of your happiness? Can you see them?

Now, what are you going to do about it?


 

 

 

 

 

Gotta Go–My Shows Are On

Well, it happened again.  I watched the news.

This morning I had the great joy of hearing that some Democratic strategist has criticized Ann Romney for being a stay at home mom.  The strategist, Hilary Rosen, said that Ann could be of no use on economic issues because she had “never worked a day in her life.”

Now Rosen is trying to backtrack.  Apparently thousands of stay at home moms have tracked her down and left their children with her.

No, seriously, Rosen is backtracking because even the president stepped up to defend Ann Romney by saying that being a “housewife” (my word, not his) is a tough job.  Now Rosen is saying that she only meant that Ann Romney was a wealthy woman who had nannies and such and so never had to deal with the real economic and social concerns of the typical American woman.

Too little, too late, bitch.

The truth is, she’s trying to cover her own ass now because she is getting such a backlash, even from the president of the United States.  I feel quite sure, as a working woman herself, Rosen absolutely believed what she said.  She thinks that because a stay at home moms like myself don’t contribute to the economy, we don’t know anything about it.

This is a very sensitive subject to me.  With the modern economy, it’s very hard for a lot of families to make it on just one income.  I realize that.  We were in that situation a long time ago–before we had kids.  Once I found out I was pregnant, I decided that being the primary caretaker for my own children was more important to me than maintaining our lifestyle.  We downgraded our vehicle and tightened our belts (which were already pretty tight.) I haven’t been back to work since.  I always thought that when the kids were older I might go back to work, but then the reality of Evelyn’s life came up, and then I started caring full-time for my sister, and there you go.

But this isn’t about the fact that I have to stay home now.  It’s about the fact that I wanted to stay home to raise my kids.

I think lots of people actually believe stay at home moms are less than their working counterparts.  They think we don’t have a real life, and that we don’t contribute to society.  I wonder how many people still have the notion of the old-fashioned “housewife?”  Since I love lists so much, allow me to demystify the life of the modern stay at home mom in list form.

  • I am the money manager in this house.  I have a great grip on the economy, although I apparently don’t contribute to it.  I buy the groceries, make the payments, and balance the checkbook.  Even though my husband earned the money, we both still take care of it. (See the next point.)
  • My husband and I don’t have “our own” money.  If we couldn’t trust each other with money, then we had no business getting married.
  • I have never had to worry about what my kids were being exposed to and who was taking care of them.  I’ve never paid for child care.  Here’s another little myth imploded for all you working folks out there: my kids are not so attached to me that they can’t be separated from me.  They have never slept with me.  My son had zero anxiety about going to school, because I raised him with self-confidence.  He has never been afraid to spend the night with a friend.  So there.
  • My husband and I are partners. I don’t serve him because he brings home the paychecks.  He has always been an active parent–he changes diapers and bathes and feeds.  Yes, I do most of the housework.  Know why?  Because I want it done a certain way, and the best way to ensure that is to do it myself.  Also, I do happen to think that because I’m the one who is here all day, it’s my fair share to do it.  It doesn’t hurt me.
  • I don’t get to sit and watch soap operas all day.  In fact, I don’t sit much at all during the day.  I do most of my sitting at night, after everyone is in bed.  I would imagine that’s when “working” moms get to sit down, too.
  • I do get stressed, and sometimes I feel isolated, but I’m not sure going to work every day would alleviate either of those problems.  I would go out on a limb and say that it might even make them worse.

I could rant all day long about this, but I won’t (you’re welcome.) The short version is this: forget about June Cleaver, and forget about the housewife laying on the couch, watching “General Hospital” and eating bonbons.  Also, I’m not going to make rude generalizations about working mothers, although I certainly could.

I have a great job.  I get to care for the people who mean the most to me.  Maybe I don’t get to dress up every day and go out and “contribute” to the world.  Instead, I contribute to my family.

I think that’s okay, don’t you?

Imperfectly Perfect

Some people who know me personally probably wonder how anyone could stand to be married to me.

In all honesty, sometimes I wonder that myself.

I’ve known people in the course of my life who had a lot in common with me.  We had the same taste in music and movies, loved to read, even similar personalities.  According to the commercials for those internet dating sites, that’s just what you should be looking for.  Someone who is matched up with you point for point.  By why on earth would I want to me married to someone like myself?

I get a lot of joy out of self-deprecating humor (obviously), but I know I have some good qualities.  The flip side of that coin is that I have some bad ones that more than make up for the good ones.  I have a notoriously short fuse.  My mouth runs off like a half-broke horse, and sometimes acid drips from my tongue.

I am also one of the world’s great pessimists.

I try to pump myself up sometimes to be an optimist, but it’s hard to change a lifetime of dark thinking.  Bad things that have already happened, and bad things I worry might happen–they lay in my mind like the frost that lingers in the shade hours after the sun is up.

What would happen if I was married to someone who was like me?

Bad things.

Instead, I’m married to a man who is quite different from me.  I won’t say we are total opposites.  That’s not exactly right.  Our core beliefs and goals are the same.  We want the same things out of our lives.  Some of our interests are the same, but a lot of them are different.  Matt isn’t into reading.  Although our taste in music is very similar, my eclectic style tends to stray too far to the left or right to suit him.  He could watch “Full Metal Jacket” over and over and over and over and over and…..well, you get the idea, but I think it should be banned from Planet Earth.

Most importantly, he balances out my dark thinking quite nicely.  He has a very level, calm view of life.  He can lose his temper just like anyone else, but he has much greater control over his mood than me.  Rather than thinking the worst in every situation, he has a “wait and see” type of attitude that calms me down.  He works so well against my pessimism, because he doesn’t try to lie to me or be overly optimistic.  Instead, he takes a “wait and see” attitude that is very effective towards reigning me in.  He has the ability to be supportive without being patronizing, and for me, that’s a wonderful quality.

So all of that got me thinking, and what I decided is that I don’t need someone who is perfectly matched to me on 147 points of compatibility.  What I need–what everybody needs–is someone who loves who they are.  If you think about it, the pieces of a puzzle that go together aren’t the same.  They don’t match each other, but they are made to fit together.

 

That’s the best any of us can hope for.  And for all of my dark thinking and poor choices, I think I did pretty good on my choice of a husband.  I must have–it’s been fifteen years.  It’s easy to love him, regardless of the little differences that crop up.

As long as I don’t have to watch “Full Metal Jacket.”

In Sickness and Health…..But Mostly Sickness

A rather rude comment was made about me yesterday.  I was referred to by my nearest and dearest as “the most hateful sick person in the history of the universe.”

Well!

I have strep throat, which I get almost every year.  I think this year’s case has been by far the worst.  Maybe I say that every year.  Maybe it’s like childbirth, and once it’s over you can’t remember what it was like.  All I know is that it really, really sucked this time.  I reached an all time low late yesterday afternoon and volunteered to go to the doctor.  After only three doses of my antibiotics, I feel much better.  My husband has made the comment–numerous times–that if I had gone to the doctor right at the first onset of symptoms, I would have never gotten so miserable.  He also said, “We go through this every year.  Why?  Why can’t you just go?  You know how it’s going to turn out!”

Nobody likes a know-it-all, you know.

Well, I suffered for my cause this year.  I had a roaring fever, aches, pains, and the words “sore throat” don’t even hint at the total carnage that was inside my neck.  I literally did nothing but sip water for two days, and that was mostly to wash the Advil down.  The pain in my throat even caused my ears to ache.  I made the mistake of shining a flashlight in my mouth and looking at my throat–I may never recover from that sight.

After two days of laying on the couch with even my hair hurting, I finally consented to go to the doctor.  Matt loaded me up and hauled me over there.  I think the test for strep must be punishment for waiting so long to go.  They take this giant Q-tip and rub it round and round in the back of your throat.  I didn’t think she’d ever stop.  Then I started coughing, and that just felt wonderful.  I got my meds and came back home.

Matt kept on and on about going to the doctor, and I finally gave him some miserable, hateful answer about how I didn’t run to the doctor every time I sneezed, and now I’d have to pay a bill for that stupid strep test, and I was old enough to do whatever I wanted.  I rounded off my rather hoarse tirade with, “I think you like it when I’m sick because you can boss me around!”  That prompted him to make his original comment.

I have no idea why I don’t want to go the doctor.  I don’t think I’m really afraid.  I know they aren’t going to give me a shot or anything.  I know I’ll feel better afterwards.  To me, though, going to the doctor is admitting defeat.  I’m a tough old bird who doesn’t need help from anyone. I’m the caretaker, not the careneeder–going to the doctor is for sissies.  I have an enormous tolerance for pain.  I’m tough.  I rough.

Apparently, I’m also a trifle testy.

So maybe I hissed if anyone got too close to me, or moved the couch I was on, or walked by too fast and caused a breeze to hit me.  Maybe I answered questions with various rude gestures instead of words.  I felt bad.  Everyone gets a little cranky when they feel bad, right?

Don’t agree with me? Fine.

Come over here and let me give you a kiss.

Thank God I’m (married to) a Country Boy

I may have to revise John Denver’s song a little to be more appropriate in my own life.

We were out and about recently, and on the way home we stopped for lunch.  On the way out I was waiting to pay the bill, and I couldn’t help but notice the guy in front of me.

He was probably middle aged, and he was very attractive and put together.  He was, in short, a classic metrosexual.  I don’t know if that term is still even in use, but I’m sorry, there really is no better way to describe him.  I don’t know how to explain it, but you can tell the difference between someone who is dressed in nice clothing for a meeting or for their job and someone who dresses that nice all the time.  This guy was one of the latter.

He was wearing a pea coat.  A pea coat.  Really.

Now don’t get me wrong–it’s a great coat.  Very snazzy.  In fact, everything about this guy was snazzy.  It wasn’t just his clothes–he had carefully product-laden and styled hair.  He had beautifully manicured and cared-for hands.  He was surrounded by a palpable aura of cologne.  He was wearing fantastic shoes.

The sight of this man made me think, as most things usually do.  Yes, this man was very attractive.  He obviously has impeccable style and grooming habits.  Guys like that aren’t all that common where I live, but you do see them sometimes, and I think it’s probably much more prevelant in other parts of the country where there is more hair gel and fewer pick-up trucks.  The metrosexual man is nice to look at.

But I couldn’t be married to him.

If I put a pea coat on my husband’s dead body, he would come back to life just long enough to take it off, throw it on the floor, and ask me what the hell I was thinking.  His hair style is a fade (short in the winter, skin in the summer.)  His idea of wearing dress shoes is cleaning the mud off of his boots (steel-toe.)  He’s 100% jeans and tee-shirt.  He has these big, rough hands and most of the time he needs a shave.  He is the anit-metrosexual.

That’s fine by me.

After thinking about it for a few minutes, it occurred to me that I could never, ever be married to a man who spent more time getting ready than me.  I can’t even imagine having a high maintenance man who actually manicured his fingernails.  Holy crap.  And frankly, my ego couldn’t take the fact that my husband had better fashion sense than me.

Let’s face it, a metrosexual wouldn’t come within ten miles of someone like me anyway, so the point is moot.  One look at my jeans and black Pink Floyd tee would be enough to send him screaming into Macy’s.  But that’s okay, because one look at him, and I’d run off screaming, too.

Into Wal-Mart.

Et Tu, Daughter?

Betrayal is an ugly word, mostly because it describes an ugly action.  Some people consider betrayal the worst thing that can happen to a person. 

When it comes from your child, it’s even worse.

I don’t know when I lost my daughter.  I’m pretty sure she was mine for a while.  But is has happened.  Somewhere along the line she has turn-coated on me, and now she’s Daddy’s girl. 

It’s just a little bit hard.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they are so close, and really, it’s not like I’ve done much for her.  You know, besides bringing her into the world.  Sure, dad is a necessary factor in the whole conception thing, but a man’s role is, as usual, fairly superfulous when compared to what the mother has to do.  He just spreads his seed–kind of like a dandelion–then goes about his merry way.  Then the mother has to actually grow the child, carry the child, and of course let’s not forget actually have the child.  But you know, I guess compared to, I don’t know, making armpit fart noises, that’s not much.

Like I said, I’m not bitter.  After enduring the most miserable pregnancy in the history of womankind, I was plunged head first into my first-ever hospital experience, with IV’s and needles and surgery and all kinds of fun things.  I had enormous quantities of amniotic fluid (true fact: the doctor actually said, “Well, I’ve had woman pregnant with twins whose bellies were almost as big as yours.” Thanks, doc.) and so I looked like some sort of freakish mutant, because the rest of me was shrinking because I couldn’t eat anything because my digestive tract was somewhere in the neighborhood of my neck!  Oh, and I’m not even going to talk about how my body has never and will never recover from being stretched in such an odd shape.

Then of course there’s the teensie little things I did after she was born, like trying feverishly for three months to get her to eat, and then those few little trips just to here and there, you know, like Minnesota and Maryland and Philadelphia and Virginia.  No biggie.  We sometimes had to go to a few appointments around here, too, but not more than once or twice a week for three or four years.  Hardly even worth mentioning. 

And let’s not forget that I’m the one who packs her lunch, gets her clothes, gets her ready, gets her meals for her.  But really, who can even keep track of little things that?

Not that I’m bitter.

Just like that, she’s not mine anymore.  She’s always been pretty close to her dad, but now she’s officially gone over to the dark side.  Yesterday, she wouldn’t even come downstairs with me when she got up for school–he had to go up and get her.  He can brush her teeth without having to hold her down on the floor.  I try to get her to sit with me, and she’ll just frown and then go sit with her daddy.  Sweet, isn’t it?

I wonder if this is related somehow to that whole mother/daughter almost-a-teenager tension thing.  My daughter may not be a typical girl, but then again, maybe she’s more typical than I think.

 

 

Also, I blame my husband for at least part of it.  As the years have passed, I have become the heavy–the one who always handles the discipline.  Dad’s the fun one, Mom’s the one who gets on you for stuff.

The one consolation I have is that I’m pretty sure the boy is mine.  I have carefully timed my bribery to win him over to my side, and it seems to be working.  I had to try pretty hard, since, again, I really haven’t done all that much for him, either.

Not that I’m bitter.

The Husband’s Rebuttal (by proxy)

Well, my husband dislikes typing very much, so I am forced to type for him a rebuttal to my previous post about what the bride’s wedding vows should really be.  Apparently, my better half feels as though he should defend himself and his gender against some of the implications of my vows, and he even offers a few of his own.

This is his view of the matter:

  • I vow to forever take the blame for “tracking mud” in the house, even if it is six in the morning and the only things I’ve had on my feet are my house shoes.
  • I am afraid of the hamper, because God forbid I put an article in there that doesn’t belong, like a towel with two water molecules on it.
  • I vow to be very quiet when you are sick, because you are, frankly, the meanest sick person I have ever seen. Ever.
  • I vow to try to walk a fine line between helping you too much and not enough, because you don’t like lazy people, but you don’t want anybody to do anything for you, either.
  • I vow to never dare complain about being sick for longer than twenty-four hours, because that’s about how long your sympathy lasts before you run out of patience.
  • I will never, ever, ever be clean enough for you.  No one is clean enough for you.  Look at this way–you are a woman, and when your house is neat and tidy, people say, oh, look how clean your house is! I am a guy–if I keep a clean and tidy house, people say, oh, he’s gay.
  • I vow to watch a scary movie with you, even though I know you will be up all night, and you’ll make me get up with you if you have to pee.
  • On a related note, I vow to go with you to the bathroom when we go camping, because I know you are afraid of the dark.
  • I vow to at least keep my hunting stuff out of the house–I do it for you, baby.
  • I vow to try my best to avoid all possible contact with you before 9:00am or three cups of coffee, whichever comes first.
  • I vow not to touch you when you are having a hot flash.
  • I vow to lay patiently beside you while you toss and turn, and toss, and turn, and toss, and turn, and toss…….
  • I vow to not be annoyed with you when you wake up pissed at me for something I did to you–in a dream you had.
  • I vow to watch an untold number of paranormal shows about aliens, ghosts, and Bigfoot, even though I think every bit of that is bullshit. (Although I draw the line at Ghost Adventures.)

So you see, there is a lot more to the wedding vows than just that “richer and poorer” bit.   There’s a lot of give and take when you are in any kind of relationship, although personally I think the women do a tad more giving.  Matt agrees–giving guys crap, giving guys a hard time, giving guys chores to do…….

And hopefully giving them enough love to last a lifetime.

 

 

 

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