Iced Tea Chat: The Eyes of the Beholder


 So come on in, but please be very quiet...It seems every one but myself is taking a nap.  And that's just fine by me because it means I have a few moments to be myself and not 'Gah' or "Mama" or homemaker, housekeeper, cook and chief bottle washer.  I think, really, I've almost forgotten who 'Terri' is these past few weeks. 

Just ignore the state of the house.  Despite all the tags I wear I don't keep up so very well these days and my back is giving me a little trouble at the moment so I'm further behind than usual.  I've gotten very philosophical about housework in the past seven weeks, lol.  A two year old is good for that sort of thing!

No sweets, dear, but mint or lime for tea...Doesn't that sound refreshing on this hot afternoon?  We had a brief break in the heat over the weekend and the week started out with cooler weather.  Tuesday morning after I saw John off to work and felt the sweet cool morning air, I came indoors and opened the windows all over the house and let the house breathe in fresh air.  I was able to keep them open until Josh got up.  Then I worried he'd bump one of those wobbly windows and have it come crashing down on his little hands.  I couldn't bear the thought of that so I closed them right up again, but gracious!  I just wish I could have bottled some of that clear, cool air and recorded the sweet, peaceful sounds of bird calls that trilled all about the house.  The birds certainly did relish that cool air as much as I did.   For all that it was mid 60's Tuesday morning, it was soon mid 90's and not in the least refreshing that afternoon!  And so it's been very warm ever since.

I mentioned in 'This Week In My Home' that I've suffered a little home envy this past week.  Truth is that it's the shiny new finishes I'm envious of, not the size of a home, etc.  It just seems to me that after twenty years of living in our home it's no longer fresh...and frankly the money to refresh is just not there.  I try hard to make the best of what I have but you know, now and then it's just not hitting anywhere near the mark of my own ideal...and so I find myself wishing I could do a lot more rather than a little here and there. Then I walk into a lovely little home that's been thoroughly refreshed and there I am with a hard dose of envy trying to wiggle it's bitter way down my throat. 

This week it's seemed especially hard as I've listened to plans for the new home, some of which will be done before they move in and I've done my best to just smile and be glad that these things can come to pass.  But oh!...oh well...I know it's asking a lot to expect I can ever do such things to my home and I accept this most days. 

Well funnily enough, Bess and I were talking and she mentioned how she'd like to do this or that and said she wished her home could be like mine.  I was shaken by surprise.  "My house? Really?  Why on earth would you want something like this place?!"  "Because it's a home, and so obviously home to you all.  I feel at home here and I can tell that Sam and Katie and JD do.  All of your little touches make it so comfortable and pleasant," she said.  And there I sat with tears in my eyes and the lump in my throat changed to something a good deal sweeter than the bitter root I'd been attempting to not gag upon.  I guess home, like every thing else, is in the eyes of the beholder, isn't it?

Bess amused me earlier in the week.  She explosively said "Oh I'm so tired of this!" when she'd looked at one of her facebook posts.  I asked what the matter was.  "It's every time I tell someone I'm living with my mother-in-law.  They all say the same thing:  'I'm so sorry!"  I wish they just understood how much I really like you and they'd understand there's no need of their sympathy."  Well there was a second real compliment.  I like Bess a great deal.  I often think how much I wanted a similar relationship with my other daughter in law, but she wasn't able to have that sort of liking for me and try as I might, I couldn't have it for her. 

I do realize how blessed I am that Bess and I get along well and I've truly enjoyed having my family in my home with me for this time.  Yes, it helped that we all knew it was a temporary thing but the weeks have flown rather than dragged by as they might have if we'd all just been enduring the time.

Sometimes in my readings I'll come across a multi-generational family group living in a home and wonder how they managed.  Now I know.  If the mix is right and good, then it works.  I'd like to think I could do this with all of my children, but obviously that's not so, or I'd have gotten more enjoyment with my oldest son's family when they visited instead of being wracked with doubts and resentments and frustrations.  

I've had such a blessed time this past month, I have truly, despite my wee bout of envy.  I saw my oldest son and his children earlier in the month and had the fun of watching how Josh interacted with his older cousins.  This past weekend Katie and Taylor came to visit, and my niece with her two girls.  They are all about the same age, all toddlers.  Bella and Josh are two and Adi and Taylor are one.  It was fun to watch them.  Where Josh mimicked the older cousins he got down on hands and knees and crawled with Taylor.  At one point Josh was sitting in a chair and Taylor came and stood before him.  She spoke something to him and Josh smiled and said " Josh.  Josh."  I wonder if he really understood what she was saying to him?  It was truly a joy to watch these little ones playing in the living room.
                                           Josh getting down on Taylor's level...
                                               and Taylor coming up to Bella's level, lol.
                                                        Taylor seeing what Adi is up to...
It was fun but my gracious how the house did resound with wails and cries.  Toddlers just don't handle things as well as older children might...  Taylor is the most calm child I've seen yet.  She only cried one time the whole day through and that because I was changing her diaper.  She wasn't all that keen on Gramma doing it rather than Mama!  That little girl is an observer.  She looks at people and she looks at décor and she examines everything about her.  I so want to get to know her a bit better!

Sunday, I guess I was just tired out.  We'd taken a long road trip down to the kid's new house on Friday and pretty much turned right around and came back.  I confess I've not taken my alone time in small doses as needed and I'd found the week and weekend very wearing.  I ended up with what my penpal friend Roni calls 'Evil head'.  It's what happens when your thoughts turn to envy and resentment and grief over minor things and  pity parties are just about at every single corner.  It makes me snippy and brusque and moody.

I was quick to let my family know that I had the malady and not one of them was to blame for it.  I  had every intention of taking myself off all alone for a bit but John insisted on taking me for a drive.  I almost wish he hadn't.  I spent the entire ride weeping and whining.  Yes, I had valid reasons to weep and to whine too for that matter.  I was overtired and weary and had been over stimulated by all the goings on for the past week or so.  I was sorry that I'd had so little chance to spend with Katie and Taylor the day before, and so little time to visit with my oldest son and his family earlier in the month.  I was upset that this time has gone so quickly past and now we are literally on the last legs of this long visit...John upset me further with some observations he made and then was upset when I cried over that.  He insisted he couldn't bring me home until I stopped crying and I couldn't seem to stop weeping, so our 'short ride' covered a good many miles before I dried up enough to be taken home.

Needless to say that night at least I slept hard and well.  I guess Granny was right as always when she said that tears were no different than a tea kettle's whistle:  It lets off steam.  I needed to vent and so without all of that pressure inside, I relaxed and rested.  It was as restorative in the end as a long day alone might have been.

I've had to come to terms with a few things of late and that's not always pleasant, at least not in this instance.  Sometimes needs and opinions between a couple vary greatly.  It happens that one needs one thing and the other needs something else.  Compromise, of course, is the ideal.  I've a rather bad habit of biting back an opinion I really ought to express and then resenting John for having stated his and not considered my personal needs.  Oddly enough, he's absolutely no good at reading my mind.  Unreasonable of me and not of him.  I've had to examine myself rather closely to determine just why I don't voice my opinions or state my personal needs.  I somehow have this notion that  I might somehow inconvenience John or in some way offend him by differing with him, or be considered petty in my own thinking.  That's terribly unfair to him, of course, as well as to myself, because I then resent him over the matter.  Oh it all sounds terribly sticky and messy and it is, indeed.  And it's something I have to correct in myself.  I have to acknowledge that there are times we are not going to agree on every thing perfectly every single time but I do have the need to express myself better.  It's something I shall work on.

Another area I need to examine hard is my willingness to forgo my personal needs in order to please others.  I am not, as it happens, referring to John in this instance, but another family member.  The truth is that when my son and his family are in their own home, I need a bit of space to myself.  I have a lot of things on my plate in the near future which will take time and energy.  The house will need a really good sorting over and the flea market booth must be packed up and shut down and then stored here, which will take even more of the time and energy I have. I've promised Katie the small freezer and that means shifting the pantry and freezer stuff about which will take a little more time.

All of these tasks will mean setting aside the expectations of other people and what they think I should do with my 'spare' time.  On the one hand that bothers me immensely, because it will be resented and I dread that guilt and feeling of being selfish that comes right along with that.  On the other hand, I am too well aware there is only so much of me to be spread about and I simply cannot risk being pushed by guilt to do things I have no energy or time to do.  I am feeling well overall but I do not want to risk straining myself too hard against my abilities.  It's never benefitted me in the past!
I think my greatest fault is fretting over how others think of me if I fail to meet their expectations of me.  Again...It's truly the eyes of the beholder, isn't it?  In my eyes I have failed and in their eyes I'm being selfish...and yet I doubt sincerely at this moment when my mind is clear and peaceful that either vision is the correct one.

All deep thinking considering how little time I've had to think, lol!!

So the timeline of this extended visit is looking to be coming to an end about July 5, a little more than one more week.  I wonder, now that Josh has grown to trust us and love us so, how he will be affected when we are not there on a daily basis.  I admit to a certain smug satisfaction when he cries out 'Gah!' at my bedroom door or when he comes and freely climbs up in my lap even though his mom and dad are in the room.  Will he miss having "Gah" about?  I so hope so!

I am much amused by his obvious admiration of Grampa who didn't woo nor court him but was simply himself.  I have a funny feeling that a lasting bond has been formed between the two of them and it pleases me immensely.  It makes my heart swell to hear John in the music room playing his guitar, say "You ready?" and Josh pounds on the piano in accompaniment.   The other morning Josh woke in the foulest of moods.  Nothing we did could please him.  He finally went off to the music room and shut the door and we heard him playing the piano.  When he was done he knocked on the door for us to let him out and he was all smiles...Oh that is so like his Grampa! lol

We had a bit of inadvertent house cleaning the other day.  The propane company came out to spray the tank with a fresh coat of paint.  As they rolled up the hose it suddenly burst and spray painted the house and windows.   It ruined the brand new screens on that side of the house and required some major cleaning with mineral spirits and then a light power washing.  It all looks just fine.  I had a spare roll of screening and the men used that to replace my window screens and reinstalled them.  They were deeply apologetic about it all and really did do an excellent job of cleaning up.  I'm just glad they were able to clean it!

I'm nursing an aching back at the moment which has steadily gotten more painful rather than less.  Not a clue what I did.  It began with a slight twinge of sciatica and somehow yesterday it became a general seizing up of my back as I moved a load of clothing from washer to dryer.  Years ago when I worked with the orthopedic doctor he told me that the back and knees were still the great mystery areas to doctors because they cannot clearly see either one no matter how great the imaging equipment they have to work with. 


Well dears, I shall have to end here.  All naps have ended and supper must be attended to.  It is my night to cook...oh which reminds me my crock insert for the Crock Pot broke last night.  It was in the dish drainer and we heard a great crash.  The crock was sitting upright on the counter, but the lip around it was completely broken away.  I shall be in the market for a new pot but will take my time and consider my options before I get another.  I have most certainly appreciated that hard working little appliance!

And again, I say, I shall end.  I have deeply enjoyed the time with you.  We'll talk again soon, or so I hope!

Comments

Mimi said…
Dear lovely Terri...I almost cried reading this post. I think we all get to the end of our tether sometimes and I daresay many of your readers will find themselves nodding in agreement. We, Mothers that is, are so good at putting others first, that sometimes we forget that in order to be in a position to continue to do this, we need to put ourselves first. I'll be sure to link this post in one I have planned very soon. Love, Mimi xxx
Terri, I agree totally with Mimi.. We cover and hold our feelings to ourselves to do for the others in our family.. And when it builds up........... We get very tired..Proud John took you for the ride and let you cry..Sometimes, we have to have that time..
Know you will miss Josh and parents.. When we have them with us everyday, it is so hard ,when they leave..
Take care of yourself...slowly we will get it ALL done.
I loved hearing ,how Josh. went to the piano room to vent his unhappiness...just like grandpa.
I am also so proud of your DIL, telling you how she loved your home, and wanted her home to feel the same way. What a sweet DIL, and I agree with her. all the things you do in your home, I just know it is so lovely..
Lana said…
I agree with the others here. You have done so well with all the weeks of sharing your home and being such a wonderful hostess and grandmother. You will need to give yourself a few days of total rest when they have moved to their own home. Try not to look at everything that needs to be done as a whole because it is just overwhelming! I do it too!

What a wonderful DIL Bess is to you. I have one like her too and the other two are just not the same. I suspect I am just not ever going to be good enough for the one and I will not be someone I am not.

I love all the pictures of the sweet babies. Josh will not forget you after being in your home for such a long time. You and Grandpa will always have a special place in his heart.

Having spent months looking for a smaller home I can tell you for sure that they are never as nice as pictures imply. I have often been quite shocked at the state of a house that looks good online in the pictures because things like decades old wallpaper often just do not show up. In the listing they may say there is a new kitchen only to find that they just spruced it up and chose awful colors. My heart was broken over a house we really wanted this week. We put the first contract on it and then the next day they got another one. At that point the seller decided to try to pit us against each other and drive up the price. The house was worth more than they had listed it for but what they did was not right. When the deadline on ours had passed we decided to withdraw and not play their game. My mind keeps going there and placing our furniture and picking paint colors. It seemed that God had sweetly given us the desires of our heart for our next home in so many ways. I cried and cried and have tried so hard not to be bitter toward the sellers by giving it to God over and over. I feel bad for my husband too because it had his dream of a workshop which he has admitted he was loathe to give up on. As I have said before, I do envy you for not having to downsize and being able to stay where your children were raised. Your home will always be so. We know that we cannot continue to manage this one for much longer.

Karla Neese said…
Another ditto from me on Mimi's post. We do it because we care and we love and we sacrifice and we sometimes don't know how to be just us.

I'm so glad you've gotten the chance to vent it all out. Sometimes that's the best thing there is. Your Granny was right - it's so therapeutic even if no answers are found right away.

I pray for the Father to set you right again - in His gentle timing, in His gentle way. Perhaps even setting you new. Thank you for sharing your heart so honestly and openly. It is good for us gals to stick together and just be there to encourage and lift up and pray for.

Blessings this weekend!
Karla Neese said…
I forgot something I was going to say - I'm wondering if your back is simply stress. You've been fighting so hard to keep it all together and to work through feelings and adjust to a full house.
Anonymous said…
Now I have a word to describe it...evil head. I know what that means....and how it feels. I have sort of sat back and 'seen' myself during those thoughts. Not good. Can't seem to pull myself out of it. Best to get alone. To get on equal emotional ground. I can sure see how I am perceiving what others say or do as I see it,,not always as they intended things to be taken. Somehow though there is a striking point and it can come up so quickly it can surprise even me. Hearing others get these feelings too is a real help though. I guess this is just how humans sometimes get... :-) Although it is brief it upsets me though that I get so upset. I have had friends that I sometimes think are never upset over anything.
I think we try to put on a happy face so to speak while inside we are over tired. And at times trying to do with two hands what would be better spread among 4 people. Life is often hard to balance. Put that together with little good sleep and you have problems.
Our young family members have spruced and changed their homes in the short time they have had them. They did the work themselves and paid for each change as it happened. Our family home though is still about the same since we moved in. Just keeping the house structure sound is the main goal now!! :-)))
Time marches on,..and too fast! I have to remind myself that even the very rich people know of others with homes they too envy. Humans are never completely satisfied. Compromise is always needed. Even if I wish it wasn't. lol
Our family grew up with streets and streets of homes with multi-generational family living in them. At the least one parent or aunt or uncle. I always though that is how it should be. Could I live like that though? I know it depends on the personality of each member but everyone needs some breathing space. Also compromise.
My time here has been mainly spent on trying to keep the yards and garden alive in the heat. We are to cut way back on watering and there can be a conflict there. We do not water our lawns at all. We all do our best to gather and use gray water etc. Every state has its own weather problems.
I too love to hear your family news. I bet you look at the grandchildren and it seems hard to believe they are your children's children. Just yesterday it seems they were that size!!
That ice tea with mint sounds good...I think I will make some. Sarah
Colleen Gold said…
I know I become unbearable when over tired. I cant even stand myself & my dh has often padded my back & put me t bed. With enough sleep I am a totally different person.

We live in a mutifamily home. My oldest dd & dgd live in our basement & my dh stayed home to care for her when my dd moved back after her divorce. dgd's father was absent & no child support & dd did not want her in daycare for hours everyday. She & I worked & papa became caregiver. it worked wonderfully. they have an apartment down their & my youngest came back after her marriage failed & she had medical issues. She sleeps in her own room downstairs but is often gone or up here. dd2 came home to run the house after major medical near death of me. She moved in until finding her own place & the market & car industry crashed her hours were cut & she couldn't afford to move. It took me over a year to get anywhere near normal& due to the care of my children & dh I was able to do it at home not a nursing home.
DD2 has her own space upstairs but takes meals with us. The others do their own thing downstairs She is still a big help as are the others when I ask. As Bess said many say OH NO but we get along fine. They all contribute money witch helps us & we were blessed to be part of raising my dgd. God has been good
Tammy said…
I do so relate to your needing some alone time, and also having a good cry. We hit the 2nd anniversary of Jess and the boys moving in with us this past week. Most of the time I know how blessed we are to be such a big part of the kids' lives, but there are days when I feel like a maid and just get tired of the mess. There have been a few instances that ended up with me locked in my bedroom and having that good cry into my pillow.
I am so glad to read about how well you and Bess get along. That has made this time much easier for you, I'm sure. I'm proud of you for opening your home to them and disrupting your routine for a few weeks. What a precious time with Josh, too. That special bond will always be there with him.
beckyathome said…
I've learned that a big "boo-hoo" can help clear the air around here, too. It's not something that I meltdown into very often, but occasionally, it happens. Praise God for a loving, caring husband to help me through. It sounds like you have a gem, as well.

We put in an offer on a house last week, but did not get it. They received an offer $15,000 over the asking price, and we were simply outbid. I have deep peace about it. We had prayed that God would NOT allow us to get it if it wasn't the right house. Still, I am thinking that after 5 weeks in the camper, I am wondering when we will be able to start moving forward....... It's all in God's hands and His timing is perfect--I just have to keep reminding myself of that. So far, it has not been as stressful as I had worried that it might be. We seem to be getting along all right. I am the kind, as you are, that needs alone time, though, and that's a bit hard to get right now.

One of our daughters needs music so badly that we brought both her guitar and an electronic keyboard in the camper where every item counts because of space. It soothes and calms her in a way nothing else can. So, I get that one:) How nice if your grandson can learn from an early age to cheer himself up with something so accessible and pleasant.

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