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.
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!