I pulled the furniture away from the walls so the floor could be vacuumed beneath and behind it, and found a piece of sour candy and two shrivelled things, shaped somewhat like french fries, that couldn’t be positively identified.
It was the first thing I thought of when I awoke at 6:30 this morning, and it lit an ugly little fire in my stomach.
I raised my kids to eat at the kitchen table, not run around the house with food in their hands, dropping crumbs everywhere and leaving a sticky, greasy trail behind them. When Princely and his wife come with their children, I impose the same simple rule. Apparently they ignored it when they were here this spring while I was away. Himself sent me a photo that showed them in the living room with food. It made me feel as if all bets were off when I wasn’t here to remind them of the simple courtesy I’d requested. I asked Himself why.
“I didn’t know,” he said. “I was having a nap and didn’t see.”
After my return I found, one day, the dog gnawing at a spot on the bedroom floor, trying to get what seemed to be a piece of hard candy that was stuck hard to it.
Then yesterday, more.
Resentment is my reaction. I’m not here, so they think they can do whatever they want? And my husband, the ball-less wonder, lets them. Heaven forbid he should ever stand up for me, for our home, for himself, and insist on simple courtesy from his family.
This morning, with the churning anger in my gut, I observe myself. I’m letting something that happened in the past, something that isn’t important in the long run, affect me in this moment when I am otherwise perfectly content.
Why do I do this to myself?
There are two ways to look at it.
You may say I have every right to be pissed off; that you would be, too.
Or you may say that I make mountains out of molehills; that perhaps I like being self-righteously angry.
Me, I just want these kinds of feelings to stop. I would like to feel, when the kids are here, glad to be with them instead of walked all over.
I wonder if it will ever happen, and what I will have to do to make it so.
Brain transplant, anyone?
Maybe it’s as simple as this: when they’re your children and grandchildren whom you only see every few months, you don’t care what they do. They can bring their hairy neurotic dogs and sit on their asses while their own kids tear up your house, and it’s worth it to you. You will put up with pretty much anything because what matters to you is that they’re here. You love them and they can do no wrong. If your wife gets annoyed, she’s overreacting.
When these things happen, and even when I think about them later, I long to live alone. I cast about in my mind for places I could move to, wondering what there is to rent. Then I look around our house and yard and think of how much I’d hate to leave it, really. How infrequently the kids are here. How they just want to be accepted and loved by me, and how I could be more open and accepting, which is what I aim for, what I intend, how I see myself and am disappointed to find that I am not really that way. That little things bother me, that I see motivations behind them that may not be there at all, at least not consciously.
One day last week I had a few moments of clarity where it was plain that I’m not happy with Himself anymore. He bores me to tears quite often. All he talks about are his crops and machinery and cattle, and his son and grandchildren, and his relatives in Europe with whom he keeps in daily touch via text and Facebook. Occasionally, after a half-hour of ruminating out loud about these things and people while he lies in the tub after getting home — I go into the bathroom and sit on the lid of the toilet to demonstrate my interest in connecting with him for a chat — he remembers to ask me how my day went. I guess he’s trying. I’m sure he’s as interested in my administrative/accounting frustrations and successes as I am about his cattle and crops.
Nowadays when I find myself irritated and disappointed, I look back at myself. I don’t have to feel sorry for myself, or offended, or irked. I’m choosing to. I’m blaming someone else instead of taking responsibility for the importance I give to my own thoughts, which come out of nowhere sometimes, are sometimes – maybe often – mistaken, and so on.
Maybe I think too much.
Y’know, I don’t write in my paper journal anymore, as I had intermittently since my early teens. I keep notes of quotations and excerpts and the occasional brief update, but I don’t put down all these thoughts. That’s where I used to dump them, and putting them out there for someone else to ever see wasn’t my intention. It also created resentment and anger when someone, disrespecting my privacy, read the entries and took me to task for them. It became not worth the hassle. I do seem to need to write, though. I’ve taken control of where I write, but not what I write about. I’m still repeating myself, writing about the same old things.
O I know you are out there, friends of mine, listening to me. I can’t see you or hear you; not your cheering me on, not your well-meant suggestions, not your disapproval or criticism or anything else. I assume you like and respect me and that’s why you keep coming back, though I sometimes wonder if I sound like a trainwreck that hasn’t happened yet.