Monday, February 1, 2010
Grey Skies & Stinky Feet....6 Counseling Sessions Down, 21 To Go!
I am pleading with the SUN. Please come back. Bring me warmth, energy, and enthusiasm. Take away the cold, blistering wind. Destroy my sweaters, wool socks, and mittens. Bring me sundresses, flip flops, and sunscreen. Keep me warm, tan, and freckled…..a pool by my feet, a cocktail within reach. All of this, in Mother Nature’s name I pray, AMEN.
It’s winter in good old Pennsylvania, and I absolutely hate it. How do I cope? Not well. Chocolate Fudge Torte, Apple Cake, Fudge Bottom Cheesecake, and Chocolate Chip Brownies; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Apparently caffeine is out, and sugar is in. Thankfully by Friday, I was so disgusted with myself, my baking, and my sluggishness, that I left the kitchen and my oven, for good.
Three day’s rest, and I do feel brand new. I’ve learned enough about myself to know, I shouldn’t get too arrogant. I don’t just fall off the wagon, I jump. So, like my caffeine addiction, I’ll simply take it one day at a time, one day at a time.
Now, one day at a time does work. However, on one of those days last week, I did break down and have a cup of coffee. Dear God, it tasted good. Even better though, was the fact that I didn’t NEED more, and I don’t WANT more. I’m feeling pretty proud of myself.
I’m also feeling pretty restless and completely useless and bored. My 6 year old attends school and loves it. My 3 year old doesn’t know what to do with herself without her big sister around. And I don’t think it’s possible to despise Polly Pockets anymore than I do at this very moment. There are only so many hours in a day, and Polly Pockets, Barbie, and Little Pets, do not fit so nicely into mine. When I decided to stay home with my kids, why didn’t anyone warn me about this?
It’s not like playing with these toys is rocket science, yet my brain is completely fried. Is it any wonder I turn to baking and sugar to get me through the endless hours of miniature play?
I know I shouldn’t complain. This time with my daughters is special. Memories, they say. Uh-huh. I’ve got news for you. This mother needs not one more memory involving any kind of perfectly proportioned, busty and beautiful, blonde DOLL.
Do you hear me Sun? Please?!? I’m not one to jump on the “oh I’ve got seasonal depression” bandwagon…but lately, I’m not so sure. There are days when it is seriously so hard to pull myself out of bed, when the thought of playing and occupying my children for any longer than absolutely necessary seems too incredibly overwhelming to think about. My husband’s a good man, but he can’t understand. Not this.
It’s amazing how different everything seems, with a little warmth and sunshine to accompany it. I will sit outside all day, playing, entertaining, enjoying my children, the weather, and the world…..while I fold laundry, plan a dinner menu, make phone calls, and garden. For 7 or 8 months a year, I am Superwoman. The other few? Even I can’t come up with an appropriate comparison.
An accident waiting to happen? That sounds about right. An attention seeking wife needing reassurance, compassion, and understanding; definitely. I’m also the moron who decided to finagle my husband into 6 months of do-it-yourself marriage counseling. Well, People, the joke’s on me. I’m sure you’ll agree that yes, every marriage needs a little fine tuning now and again. Every partner needs to take time to appreciate their other half. Every couple needs to really decide to work together as a partnership and duo. But not every couple needs an intervention. In my case, perhaps it was solely ME who needed the counseling. The more I write, the more I see myself, and the more I’m forced to admit. Hmmmmm……maybe most of “our” problems, really are “my” problems, simply projected onto and into our marriage? I don’t know.
On a positive note, I do know this week’s session was one of my favorites. The last thing you want to give someone who feels overwhelmed, is more responsibility. I didn’t want to plan a “lesson”. I wanted to stay on track, but I didn’t want to be responsible for it. I like feeling like someone else is taking care of me, you know what I mean? When you’re a mother, and you spend your days taking care of everyone else…..you just want someone to come along and take care of things without any input, effort, or advice from you.
So when my husband told me we were going to soak, scrub, and massage our feet, although I was relieved he had come up with a “lesson”, I was also quite hesitant. Soak our feet? How in the world is this “counseling” or “therapy”?
I have now come to believe, that sometimes the BEST therapy, is simply doing something special for YOURSELF. And if you’re able to do something for yourself, while sharing it with your partner….that is absolutely all the marriage counseling or therapy you may need!
So with hot bubbly water, peppermint bath soak, and chocolate candy in hand, we made our way to the sofa. Look, sugar may be my enemy; but if my husband wants to indulge me with a spa type atmosphere and treatment, how can I resist? Had I turned down the chocolate that night, surely I would’ve hated myself in the morning. Sometimes you gotta relax, let go, and indulge.
The evening was fantastic. Why don’t we do this more often?!? The girls were in bed. No football on TV. Even the puppy was behaving. What more could a crazy, sometimes obsessive, always frazzled, seasonally depressed mother and wife want?
How about a husband with beautiful, non-stinky feet? Is that too much to ask?!? Seriously, our time together was a success. But the man has some issues. His feet smell so incredibly bad. He takes his shoes off, and you either open a window or leave the house, it’s that offensive. The peppermint soak certainly helped, but c’mon, after so many years I think the stink is embedded in my nostrils. When I see bare feet, whether they smell or not, I immediately sense the stench. You can almost see the fog swirl around, killing everything in its path.
As disgusting as this is, though, it IS our weekly reminder, our therapy session. An hour or two devoted to us. So as crazy as it sounds, once the soak and scrub were done, I OFFERED to massage the lotion into his feet. For all the hurt I’ve caused, the damage I’ve done, the battles I’ve started over the past 7 ½ years; THIS SINGULAR ACT OF KINDNESS CANCELS ALL ELSE OUT. Marriage counseling is not about keeping score and taking credit. I understand that. But I give myself a heck of a lot of credit for taking on such a smelly, gag-inducing task.
Truth is it was over quite quickly and relatively painlessly. Although I did SCRUB my hands immediately following my good deed. At one point during the massage, we were talking about parenthood, marriage, life, etc….. and I told my hubby that I felt like a flower. Let me explain. A sometimes blooming, often wilting, always needing tender loving care (aka reassurance); flower. At times I feel and look beautiful. Other times, used, dried out, fragile and frail. A flower.
How about me, he asks?
Well, that would make you, hmmmmmm. Oh yes, of course. A WEED.
Simultaneously we burst into laughter. Now think about it, Ladies. We love our men, we do. But there are times those pesky little weeds just need to leave us alone. There are times those thorns in our side are just too much to handle. There are times we need our space. Time to reflect, grow, and bloom. And I don’t know about you, but I have NEVER been able to really get rid of those daggone pickers. They just keep coming back, year after year, stubborn as hell to prove their point. My Weed may occasionally stink, he may sometimes be overbearing, and he often oversteps his boundaries; but thank goodness he’s got a good sense of humor!
So I prayed to the Sun for warm weather, flip-flops, and sunscreen. What I got was dirty water, stinky feet, and peppermint lotion. Close, but no cigar.
Life’s not perfect, wilting flowers, weeds and all. You live with what you’ve got, and you learn how to make it bloom. I’ll keep trying, we’ll keep trying; maybe someday we’ll come up with just the right recipe for success. In the meantime, I’ll simply keep writing, soul searching, and tending to my garden. Until next time…………