While I have been waxing poetic about all of the ways to be better, do better, feel better during the past three weeks, real life has continued during the rest of my days. While I believe in every word I write wholeheartedly, life is still hard work…every single day.
I am a planner, and tend to expect far more out of myself than any normal human could ever accomplish. With Thanksgiving held at my house this week, and my new grandson’s birth scheduled for tomorrow, I have been a planning maniac. For some reason, when there are big life events coming, I feel the compulsive need to ‘get organized.’
I say that as if I’m not organized, which couldn’t be further from the truth. But, believe me, I can always find a new little pocket of chaos that absolutely must be straightened out before the big event. With two big events in the same week? Well, let me just say that I woke up at 1:08 am on Saturday morning and 2:10 on Sunday morning and I’ve taken about 10 Zantac over the weekend. However, we (my husband and I, who gets dragged along on my moments of crazy) did build shelving into the tiny little storage closet where our heater/ac unit resides and also in the guest closet. I was able to divide all of my painting supplies into four bins where I can easily identify every single item I need for next big painting project (we have only one room left to decorate in our entire house), and now there is a shelf for kids books, a blanket, and pillows in the closet. I mean, surely, I could not have faced the birth of a baby nor Thanksgiving without either of those areas being completely organized. 🙂
As I sit and ponder the ‘why’ of this ridiculous compulsion, one particular scene comes to mind. It is not a pretty one, but since I am working hard to purge my soul, grow as a person, and someday hopefully actually feel good about who I am, I will share it.
I don’t remember much about my childhood, but some scenes can replay in my head as if they happened yesterday…and make me feel sick and weak–still. One day, I could hear my parents fighting in their bedroom. I say ‘parents’ fighting, but really it was my dad yelling at my sweet little mom. Although I was raised strictly with the ‘kids should be seen and not heard’ idiom strongly enforced, I could hear my mom crying and my feet propelled me to their room. I can’t tell you anything about that fight other than the fact that my mom was crying and my dad looked drunk–again. He was a mean drunk.
When I opened their door, he looked at me with fire in his eyes. [As adults, my sibling and I joke that if we held two fingers up behind our head, our dad could see them…that icy blue stare was like a taser beam to the head.] Before I could even speak, he snarled at me, “don’t you have anything you should be doing?” “No daddy,” was not the response he wanted to hear.
He grabbed the back of my hair and wound it up tight [one of his favorite ways to ‘lead’ someone to a task] and propelled me out of their room, through the kitchen and down the basement stairs to where a freshly butchered deer lay on the floor. “If you ain’t got nothing better to do than nose around, clean that mess up.”
Of course, I cried and begged and promised…but in the end, I was mopping blood, terrified because it seemed like the dead deer was staring at me. The next time my parents fought, I definitely found something I should be doing.
It’s hard to say whether that was the ‘tipping point’ for my need to always be doing something, but I’m pretty sure it contributed. Anyhow, back to present day…when I get like this, I also become super sensitive to everything my husband says or does…as if waiting for the other shoe to drop. So when he criticized one of my blogs (which I already feel kind of stupid for doing, because who really cares what I have to say?), I subconsciously kicked into fight or flight mode and each day could see even more clearly why we probably shouldn’t be together anymore. So, I wrote him an email to that effect, suggesting he may want to move out after the holidays.
You are probably reading that saying, “WTF?” I know. My crazy still thrives in my fearful heart. He asked me for some time to respond, which made me even more certain that this time, he would finally take me up on it. I was so certain that this would be the outcome, that when he handed me a letter last night, I asked him if I could read it in the morning. I didn’t want to kill my ‘feel good’ evening after finishing all of the organizing.
So, I got up this morning and read his letter, expecting pain and rejection. It was a love letter. I cried. Although I frustrate the heck out of this man at times, he still sees beauty in me…beauty I often have a hard time identifying. If I wasn’t so sure of being unlovable—I mean, come on, what kind of person gets married three times?—I wouldn’t get hurt so easily and push so hard.
Since this week is Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks here and now, for being married to a good man who simply won’t go away. Even though, in the heat of the moment, I am completely certain I want him to just leave already because I know in my heart of hearts that is what he must want to do, and if I give him permission it won’t hurt as badly; he always says simply, “I’m not going anywhere.”
I can’t remember the last time I wrote a love letter…the last time that an entire letter was devoted to the ‘why I love you’ of a person. I go about my daily life working hard to make everyone well cared for and loved—and there is a great deal of value in that; but the wow factor of a love letter is undeniable. It says “I Love You” directly, clearly, and with no distractions. Wouldn’t a love letter be a wonderful thing to read at a Thanksgiving gathering? Just sayin’….there is great power in a love letter.