"Thank you for the weekend off. Thank you for Gram being able to leave the hospital soon. Thank you for computers. Thank you for movies. Thank you for one hour photo." SAB 1-31-1998
For the last two days I've tried to communicate what I couldn't articulate. You know how adults try this line on children, "Use your words."? Well you can over do that one. I used my words, Webster's and Roget's words, free association, stream of consciousness and still... I just couldn't find the right words to explain to the person I've spent the past 36 years with, why I was so angry. I didn't even feel angry but that was the closest I could get to naming the emotion that's been simmering just beneath the surface.
When a baby comes into the world everything is new. They cry when they are hungry, wet, tired or in pain. They smile when they are full, dry, rested and content. It's pretty simple in the beginning.
Then, when our little ones do learn to talk, when they can tell us what they want, they are forced to accept that that often doesn't work as well or as satisfactorily as simply screaming your head off. They start asking questions about the world and we are expected to have all the answers, and having answered the first question to the best of our limited ability, the little one instinctually knows to follow each answer with "Why?". That's when we as highly evolved and exceptionally bright adult humans resort in desperation to the ever popular, "Because I said so that's why."
Once again, I find myself having to admit that I am a flawed human being. Maybe that's the lesson here. I don't want to be flawed. I rebel against being flawed. I hate being flawed. So what happens? The flaws grow larger and larger until I am forced to look at them and then decide whether they are truly worth all the energy being spent, or merely the catalyst to implement change. And if they are the latter, get on with it already.
Jules knows that I need to EXPRESS until he understands. I know that after twenty two minutes his ears get numb and all he hears is "BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH," and sixteen minutes after that he walks away. I know this is going to happen but I still try to get my point across and he still walks away... and I get even more annoyed and determined to make him understand. Usually by this time I don't even know what I'm trying to say and it's all so ridiculous that it falls with a thud wreaking of "FLAW".
I used to be able to blame these days of nuttiness on hormones, but I've run out. Could that be it? My Mom says that she has known women who went insane during menopause. I scoffed. No one goes insane because of an estrogen deficiency! Do they?
It was twelve degrees this morning when I went outside to take a photograph of the full moon in the snow. They are disappointing. I shoveled the driveway. Jules had shoveled several times yesterday so my job was much simpler this morning. I watched the chickadees and titmice enjoying the feeders while the wrens fussed at my intrusion. I warmed the cars and drove the Jeep around the neighborhood to see how the snow removal was going. At seven thirty I had coffee. When Jules got up he asked if we were through "Discussing". He was making an effort...but he still didn't understand. Heck, I don't understand. It really would be so much simpler just to sit in the floor and scream and cry until I have it all out of my system... whatever IT is.
Oh, so you're tired of hearing it too huh? Well, here's what I've decided. We are entirely too hard on ourselves. If someone hurts our feelings... or if we allow our feelings to get hurt...we tuck it away inside. If someone is rude or unkind, we turn the other cheek. If we feel sad or lonely or simply "off", we put on the happy face so that we don't rub off on those around us...and that obviously isn't working.
I have two computers in my office. The old one and the older one. I don't usually have them both on at the same time, and if I were incredibly computer savvy, I'd transfer all of the information on the older one to the old one so that everything would be simpler but I'm not...so ... as I sit here trying desperately to "use my words" to say something meaningful, the screen saver on the older one is a slide show of the photos of my life. Beenie snuggling with a teddy bear, Mom at Whistlestop farm with a big yellow dog in her lap, Johnny and Lizza dressed as the Adam's family, a far less wrinkled me, Wayne splicing fiber, Sandra at the Fredericksburg train station with a pink umbrella, traffic on 95 to Herndon, Lizza in her Christmas sweater, Jules on a bicycle, Jason Lancing on the Angel Tree, Shannon's drawing of a coyote pup, baby Jill in the blue plastic pool, Madison in her Princess T, Emory Point, wedding gowns, Global Art Projects, Mindy and her little ones, toilet paper mummies, Ruthie's reception, Maw Maw getting make up and Gannon with his bottle on the beach in Alabama. I have so many reasons to be happy. My life has been so blessed.
Thousands of moments. Every conceivable emotion, and I think I finally know why I'm simmering.
I really do believe what I try to share. That if we fill our lives with gratitude and compassion, if we try to look forward at least as often as look back, if we make the effort to smile more often than we frown and if we see what really matters and let the other stuff go, we'll be okay... but it's also vitally important to honor that place inside of us, once in a while, that is just pissed that some things just are not the way we had hoped. And it's okay. It's okay to wrap our arms around our disappointment, our loneliness, our longings and our fears. It's okay to take off the rose colored glasses and stew for a minute. It's okay to hide yourself away when the ugly stuff boils to the surface and you don't know what to do with it.
As I tried to find my way following Shannon's accident, I realized that I could relate to the soft shell crab, for us, the blue soft shell crab. Most of us only think of the Soft shelled crabs battered and deep fried, a yummy delicacy to be sauteed or sometimes grilled. But the soft shell crab has something far more valuable to share. As crabs grow larger, their shells cannot expand, so they molt the exteriors. The soft covering that remains, is delicate, fragile and they instinctually hide away until they have toughened a bit and aren't so vulnerable.
When you suffer a loss in life... it doesn't matter whether it has been twelve years or twelve minutes, there will still be times, as you expand, that you will find your tough exterior too confining and you will shed that part of yourself. There is great potential in that expansion but it will also make you vulnerable and fragile and it's okay, advisable perhaps, to hide away for a bit, allow your self time to harden just a little.
The formation of a natural pearl begins when a foreign substance slips into the oyster between the mantle and the shell. This irritant is kind of like the oyster getting a splinter. The oyster's natural reaction is to cover up that irritant to protect itself. The mantle covers the irritant with layers of the same substance that is used to create the shell. This eventually forms a pearl.
Lots of words, lots of inadequate explanations, lots of searching and floundering has led me to the only possible conclusion... I'm making pearls while my new shell toughens and tomorrow is a new day that hasn't been touched yet !!
" Thank you for oysters and crabs. Thank you for slideshows. Thank you for the possibility of pearls appearing from 31 grains of sand. Thank you for 50 purple hearts. Thank you for driveways cleared." JJB 1-31-2010