Young girls get weary

To all the husbands out there who come home on occasion to find that a tearful irrational, moody, alien has taken over their wife’s body, I have a thought for you -Young girls get weary and frankly old girls do too. It’s a fact. Sometimes heaviness comes from out of nowhere, overtakes us, and we get sad. Sometimes we cry.

I remember a time when my children were younger – I had the blues for several days. I didn’t know why I was sad. I still don’t.  I adore my husband and my children were  the light of my life, yet I couldn’t get out of the funk I was in. Could I be depressed? Was it hormones? Was I exhausted? Was I subconsciously missing something in my life?

My husband was taken aback. I think he was a bit frightened. He couldn’t understand, couldn’t help or fix me. He offered to get me professional help. A few days later, I was back to my former self, wondering why I had been so down in the dumps.

I went for a walk shortly after that and stopped by a friend’s house. There was an arrangement of flowers on her entry table. “Oh, is it your birthday? Anniversary?” I asked.

“No,” she reluctantly explained. She told me that her husband was trying to make her feel better because she had been inexplicably  sad as of late.

“You too?” I thought.

Since then I’ve had many such days (I’m a fairly old gal).** and my husband has pretty much learned when to lean in and when to back off.  I’ve also spoken with hundreds of girls who relay similar stories along with the ways they have learned to handle their own difficult days. Granted, there are some of us that need to work through some of our stuff in the office of our psychiatrist, but for the rest of us, we are becoming adept at recognizing the coming of the blues and aren’t as surprised by them anymore. We aren’t ashamed or afraid of feeling sad. We know the doldrums will leave in due time. We learn how to shorten our unhappy moodiness by seeking friends to talk to, getting out of the house, going for a walk, taking some ‘me’ time when possible. In the long run I think, the sad times enable us to anticipate and enjoy the good times all that much more.

As for the dozens of frustrated men who have expressed their exasperation at the sudden gloomy transformation of the women they love, I can’t think of anything better to say to them than what’s already been said by Three Dog Night.

**clue to how old I really am- check out the wardrobes

 

 

Good Will Mandate – (or How to have a Pleasant Christmas)

 

pleasantville-rice-crispies

The family begins to gather.  First, the child from out-of-town, then the children who live close by, the older grandkids, the aunt, the babies, a neighbor, a few friends, a dog or two (couldn’t find a keeper) and suddenly,  it’s Christmas!  And the festivities begin.

Let there be armfuls of packages, overstuffed bellies, crackling fires, joyful singing, lots of laughter, game playing and couch napping.  Let there be peace on earth, re-runs of It’s a wonderful life, and harmony in our home.  That’s the plan.  That’s my goal.  There may be a grandchild or two that has to spend a little bit of time-out on the stairs or a dog that may need to be put in his kennel to get us there, but we will have tranquility in this house.  I am declaring a temporary nix on all unintended little jabs that quickly escalate into hurt feelings or wounded pride.  I’m also tabling the myriad of discussions that could arouse a little too much passion from an incredibly passionate family.  Why? Because I’m the mom and it’s Christmas.  We can get back to those inflammatory subjects another day.  My mother mandate for Christmas 2016 is: GOOD WILL WILL FLOW

Taking a cue from the way certain political figures field challenging questions, our family now has a brilliant strategy – don’t respond at all to something you’d rather avoid, just simply change subject.  We invoke state capitals as our diversion tactic.  For example:

Auntie, “Have you thought of giving your child less sugar?”

Son, “What’s the capital of Vermont?”

Someone, “Lansing?”

Someone else, “No, Montpelier.”

The rest of us pick up the game, dropping the potentially toxic conversation. Voila, crisis avoided!  

We actually tried this at our last family gathering.  One would think that our Thanksgiving was a scene straight out of Pleasantville.  Perhaps it was a bit too nice and a tad less colorful than previous holidays so I briefly consider lifting the good will mandate. Quickly evaluating probable conversations that might occur over eggnog, I envision,  “Can you believe the President Elects choice for Secretary of State?”

My knee-jerk reaction, “what’s the capitol of North Dakota?”

 

 

united_states_map_with_capitals

 

 

 

 

 

A field and an old House

 

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She pauses every time she drives by the field with the sad, abandoned house.  Something about the scene causes her to wonder if she has ever been inside the little house or played in the flower strewn yard.  Perhaps she visited this place when she was very young and she cannot quite remember who lived there; but that would be impossible because she did not grow up in Georgia.    It could be that she recalls an indelibly haunting painting she once saw years ago of a girl on the ground in a field, with her head pointing and her hand reaching and her legs dragging toward a house in the distance which has to be her home.   Maybe it’s simply because something about this spot perfectly frames an emotion she cannot quite access.  Today, as she drives by she becomes the girl in the painting, suddenly plunked down in the field of yellow.

What a spring this has been and today is the most lovely of all.  The temperature is perfect and everything is in bloom.  Capture this moment, I think, soak it all in.  If I could pick a spot of total freedom, it would be a field like this, a wild, twirl-around field of yellow flowers.  I am happy – until I am not.  Something heavy washes over me and pushes me down.  I am alone.  I can finally feel what I feel.  Tears come.  My mother is dead.

I’ve been busy and I’ve been brave and she was sick for a long, long time.  She was so tired and so frail and so confused.  I actually asked God on more than one occassion to take her home.  He answered my prayer so why do I cry?  I haven’t really been able to talk with her for years though I did get glimpses of her from time to time.  I cry.  Now I can never pick up the phone and call her again.

“She lived a good long life,” people say.  She did and I know that.  It’s a comfort.  I cry.  I think about the time my grandmother told me that losing her mother was the hardest thing she ever faced.  I’ve heard that from other people too.  I cry.  Up until now I didn’t know what it was like to loose your mother or how to comfort a freind whose mother died.  I still don’t.

Jesus looked down from the cross at his mother and asked John to care of her.  I look up from my field of yellow flowers and ask Jesus to care for my mother.  I look towards the house in the distance and try to get up.  I reach for a home that no one lives in anymore.

girl in field

Painting by Andrew Wyeth – Christina’s World 1948