Ever since around 1997, when I realized that my second husband was an alcoholic and my daughter was a changeling, I have worked hard to keep the circumstances in my life from becoming my life. Does that make sense? Circumstances always change. Time passes, kids get older, you stay with the husband or you don’t, you stay at a particular job or not, you come out etc. Nothing stays the same. Using journaling, friends, taking long walks, prayer, meditation, whatever, I found tools to keep me focused on the life I wanted, the life I knew I could have in spite of present circumstances that might not be all that encouraging or hopeful.
My life, perhaps I should say my inner life, is something I try diligently to protect from all that. There were times in my deepest fear and sorrow where I felt great joy in my life, great love and support. Part of this is faith, belief that things do happen for a reason, even if we never fathom what that reason is. I can always go sit quietly outside, by water, in my meditation room, and just be still for a few minutes and I feel my connection to that. Part of it is knowing that I have some of the best friends in the world who love and support me and would (and have) help me in any way they can. It’s an amazing thing to have that feeling, especially for a kid who never had any real friends till she was nearly grown.
G had another meltdown yesterday. Once again, she said she felt like we weren’t a couple, that we didn’t do anything together (after two great morning swims where she did great coach-ly duty and two really good days off together, up till then). It all came to a head over cleaning the dryer. Stupid. As these things usually are. Monday night, she asked me if I would help her clean the dryer the next day. I said yes. However, Tuesday passed, we got busy, the dryer didn’t get cleaned. Yesterday, another swim, 2 days in a row, and *I* was tired afterwards, but needed to go to the store and on the way home, she called a friend and said she would have me drop her off so she could mow this lady’s lawn. Okay, no worries.
I dropped her off, went home, unpacked my swim stuff and got myself ready, went to the store, and when I got done called G who was ready for me to pick her up. By this time it’s going on 2 pm which is my lowest time of day regardless of what I’ve done. But yesterday I was TIRED. All I wanted to do was have a bit of a day off, lie on the bed and finish the Laurie R. King book that I had maybe 20 pages left of.
We got the groceries in the house, which G proceeded to unpack and put up–something she rarely does, so I put clean sheets on the bed and got my book and got comfy. I’ve read about three pages when I hear noise down stairs. The vacuum. Shit, she’s cleaning the dryer. I admit to completely forgetting about the importance of cleaning the dryer WITH HER. See that’s the thing. She won’t come in from playing Farmville to sit and watch a move WITH ME. But when I don’t go clean the dryer, or sit on the porch and watch her weed when it 100 degrees outside, I’m not being WITH HER.
Anyway, I went down there half dressed with no shoes on (which I hate) and we finished cleaning the dryer. Now, hopefully, it won’t spontaneously combust for the next few months. Apparently that wasn’t enough or I was too begrudging or said, Why didn’t you say you were coming down to clean the dryer? I guess I shouldn’t have to be reminded. Like my brain isn’t already full of other stuff like work crap and trying to plan out my training, and plotting this other novel that’s like pulling teeth and trying to process some editing comments I got which were very valuable but tough, trying to think what I’m going to cook, how much money I’ve got left in my account till I get paid again, wishing I could just go back upstairs and lie down and relax for just FIFTEEN MINUTES ON MY FUCKING DAY OFF.
Then she says she listened to the “news” for a little bit the night before and heard that there were threats to stop all government checks, Social Security, etc. So that freaked her out. All in all, just a complete mine field and the dryer was the detonator.
I think I am a fairly understanding and supportive person, but sometimes I just want to say What about ME? Why can’t some things be the way *I* want them? Why can’t you acknowledge that reading a book is as important as weeding a garden? Why can’t you get it through your head that I simply CANNOT tolerate being outside in the heat of the day? You get up at 5:30 am and come out with ME and weed the garden. How about that?
But I don’t. I just detach, nod and try to understand. And then THAT bugs her–why do you just go “poof” and you’re gone? Because I want to listen to you, hear you and not escalate into a screaming match that accomplishes nothing. So I do my best to remember that circumstances do not last, that things will change, there’s no reason to get stuck here, that this instant is not the whole of our relationship.
But sometimes, it feels that nothing I do is right and that’s hard to let go of.