After weeks of a revolving door of sickness around here coupled with our uninvited furry house guests, I was rocking a funk pretty hard. I’d had grand plans to start back up exercising after a foot injury
and drinks on the deck derailed me over summer, only to have a hacking Marlboro red cough hang on for well over a month. Co-pays upon co-pays and costly critter craziness (triple c–beware!) helped suck the fun out of fall. And ohGoddearGod the incessant political ads and phone calls are enough to drive me to drink.
More. And earlier.
I usually try not to be rude to the callers because honestly, it’s a person just trying to do their job in a rough economy, which must not be easy, especially now that we’re all battle torn. But calling me at 9:45 and asking me to complete a survey? When hubs and I had finally planted ourselves to watch our DVR’d Modern Family, commercial free and in peace?
No, homie, no.
SERIOUSLY? NO. Photo credit: Photobucket
I scowl at hubs and snatch the phone in disgust.
Me to hubs: Are you kidding me? It’s 9-naughty word-45.
Him: BLANK LOOK. What ring? Ooh, look at Sophia Vergara.
Me: I KNOW! THIS IS A BIT MUCH! I’m answering it before they wake the kids!
Hubs: BLANK LOOK. I just want to see more of Sophia Vergara.
Me answering phone: DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS? (Suddenly, and without warning, I’ve morphed into my late father, who when pressed, would go ape on people—0 to 60 in a matter of seconds. Usually his ire was reserved for the door to door Jehovah Witnesses who would always seem to try to prosthelytize during nail biter Red Sox games. I’m pretty sure the soul of my dad is prayed for even today in J Dub circles.)
Friendly survey caller: Yes! I do, it’s 6:45!
PSYCHO JANET: NOOOOO, it’s 9:45 in my world!
Friendly survey caller: Oh, I’m sorry, would you have time for a quick surv….
PSYCHO JANET: Are? Are you kidding me right now?
Friendly survey caller: So, when would be a better time to ca….
PSYCHO JANET: When would be a better time to call? Um, never, how about never!
Friendly/dumb survey caller: So, could I call you….
PSYCHO JANET: Ne-never call me. Never! Please. Never! Seriously? Never!
They broke me. They did. I didn’t want to be rude. I didn’t mean to be rude. But a girl can only take so much. (All this for FOUR electoral votes! FOUR. 1,2,3,4!)
Photo credit: Photobucket.
And then…it came. The guilt.
See, the thing about bitching about your Marlboro red cough and your kid’s asthma flaring up and your medical bills and being stalked for your miniscule fraction of your four electoral votes, and, and, and, and …the other crappity crap that’s befallen you is…..it’s called life. You gotta do it in context. Because the minute you finish decorating your big fat whiny cake for the pity party you realize, “Schmuck, there are kids who are REALLY sick. And moms who are REALLY sick. Moms who wish their worst health problem was fitting into a smaller size or lowering their cholesterol.” You know I could go from here to the moon and back on sad scenarios.
And that’s when you take your STFU sammie and sit down and shut up. Or as my bf and I like to snark, “Oh, s down and s up!” It’s crabbier and edgier and honestly, it instantly puts things in perspective.
But sometimes, it takes a kid to tell you what you’ve been missing.
I NEVER REALIZED I HAD A HOME WITH A VIEW, UNTIL MY 5 YEAR OLD TOLD ME TO LOOK UP.
Gorgeous, right? 3 year old, 5 year old, and I were playing in the back yard yesterday afternoon. I was going through the motions, kicking a ball and pushing them on the swings, but my mind was a million miles away. The critter people were due in a half hour to see if they “caught” anything. Gag. What was I going to make for dinner? Gag again. Oh, crap, scanning the yard and realizing I (and by I, I mean, hubs!) has to fix the fence/finish painting the shed/put the patio furniture away before the Frankenstorm hits. GAGGAGGAG.
Woh, woh, woh. Debbie Downer? Check please!
Also, it was my sister’s birthday. The one who passed away over two decades ago—more than half my life ago. And yet, all these many years later, the date rightly dances through my thoughts. Though I think of her all the time, this date will always be THE.YEARLY.REMINDER. of a life cut short. And every fabulous, and horrible, and yes, even mundane moment, like bitching that your favorite show was interrupted by a political survey, that we know we all take for granted— is magnified.
It weighs on me.
And just like that, my 5 year old fights to interrupt my subconscious, as if he knows damn right well I am present. But not really present.
“What, honey?” I ask and absentmindedly glance around.
“Up there. UP THERE!” He points, emphatically.
To that sky. That gorgeous, perfect scene that loomed above the whole time, but I hadn’t noticed. Not even for a second. I was too busy looking down. And around. At all the “stuff” that had to get done. Probably, if I’m being honest, feeling a little sorry for myself.
And why? Would I and should I? How could I feel sorry for myself? When gifts are all around me. I have a life—a great, fortunate, wonderful, if not perfect, life.
I was reminded of a quote I read on Pinterest recently, “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” The source is unknown. But the sentiment, is perfect.
I have a thoughtful husband and beautiful kids who love me unconditionally…..a house with A VIEW! Every day I get to live and breathe and have bad luck and good luck and no luck, really is a gift. Sometimes, I need a kick in the pants–which might be tight—but nevertheless! From a five year old.
I’m reminded that children live in the moment. Their world is black and white. They love unconditionally and without rules. And when we say or do the wrong thing or fall short of who they deserve us to be, they forgive and they pull us back. We adults, with our preoccupations and our propensity to kvetch and sulk and take things personally, we lug our baggage. It’s heavy. We get tired. I…got tired. Maybe he sensed it.
These kids are unbridled enthusiasm and glee, for the sun on their faces and the sky full of puffy clouds that may or may not look like a bear, or a firefighter, depending on who you ask. Or maybe a wink or a nod or a smile from heaven. Who knows?
Like everything in life, it’s all in the eye of the beholder.