Saturday, January 16, 2010

Changes in attitudes...

Recently I've been able to get back in touch with an old friend. Several old friends in fact. But one in particular has challenged me to take a different perspective.

Two years ago this particular friend lost her husband. Their two little girls--the youngest an infant--lost their dad. Her girls are about the same ages as my children. She is now tasked with raising those two precious girls by herself. Yes, she has family and a huge support system, but ultimately it's all on her. There's no one walking in the door at 5 o'clock to give her a break. No one coming home to help her out with supper. No one coming home to help with bath time and tucking little ones into bed. She's it. And she's terrific at it. Her girls are her world and it shows in every single picture. Every single thing she does. Yes, she's tired. Yes, she has good days and bad days. And, yes, she misses her husband every single day. But she's determined to give her girls everything she can and make their world amazing.

I tend to whine a lot on facebook with status updates...Was there really a time in my life when I wasn't constantly exhausted? And...The kiddos are running laps around me this morning--where is their father? This one was a frequent one...Playing the EOD wife waiting game--again. And the biggest whinyhead post of all...Left to cook supper by myself--again.

Lately, however, I've found myself typing something and then looking at it from her perspective. And I saw just how whiny I was really being. Pathetic, really. To be fair to myself, there have been a lot of positive updates as well. But this isn't about those. I think a lot of times I use that status update/what's on your mind feature as a means of getting stuff off my chest and out of my head. Much like I use this medium. But, ironically enough, this is more private. The choice has to be made to come here and read my drivel. Facebook just pops up and it's out there--oh, look...Dori's whining about being stuck at home with a two-year-old even though it was her
choice to remain home in the first place and her husband is going to be a whole half hour late. Somehow, that all seems like stuff that should be a piece of cake. Well, not a piece of cake, but certainly survivable and not at all worth whining about. Publicly.

After all, my husband is coming home. But if the day should ever come that he doesn't, I really don't think she would begrudge me a whiny post or two. Or three.


Soozcat said...

I guess it's true what's been said about preferring the devil you know to the devil you don't. I was just thinking how hard it would be to be married to a LEO (and I very nearly was; Captain Midnight seriously considered going into law enforcement before turning to computers). By comparison, our life is pretty cushy.

Then again, my mother was in exactly the same situation as your friend. My father died in an accident and left her with six children, between the ages of 12 and 3, to raise alone. Somehow she did it (though as a religious person I'm inclined to think God pitched in more than once), but it wasn't easy.

I think your friend would say, and my mom would agree, that there isn't anything wrong with having a safe place to vent your frustrations--as long as you can see that venting helps ameliorate the situation. (My mom's method, particularly in midwinter, was to look around the messy house and announce, "That's it, we're going out for the weekend!" We would then drive about 45 minutes north to the city and spend the weekend in a hotel, letting someone else clean up after us and going out to eat. Mom didn't do this a lot because she couldn't really afford to, but I think it took a huge burden off her back.)

Dori said...

Soozcat, I almost deleted this post this morning..looking back over it, it just didn't quite get across what I was trying to get at. But after reading your comment, maybe it did. :) Venting is good and healthy...whining is just being pitiful. And your mom sounds like an amazing woman!

The flip side of being married to this particular LEO is that I'm married to a man who loves his job and is challenged by it. That wasn't always the case and the difference is incredible!

I think what I'm reminded of the most with this friend is that her story could have so easily been MY story--our lives were parallel for a while and had it not been for my husband's choice to NOT re-enlist I would very possibly be a widow of a war hero as well. That's my perspective. And I'm ever so grateful for what I have. Even on the days when it all seems to be out of control.

Momma Val said...

I hear ya, I am sorry for your friend but I do the same thing too. Though, I always do meals and bedtimes and sickies by myself. Bedtime is hard when Little Buddy wants a story and the baby is crying. I just like to bitch about being stuck inside in Chicago winters. THAT is my biggest gripe. Think I have seasonal affective disorder or something. Plus the newborn phase is pretty hard on the whole family, daddy or no daddy. Anyway, I get the whole point, sometimes I imagine what it must be like to never have him come home again. Horrible. Even though he drives me nuts much of the time. Still love him tremendously. I gave up facebook as it began to suck my soul from my body. Anyway, it would be pretty awful if I was doing this alone. Oh Lord, my MIL would probably be here every day and asking us to move in with her. YIKES! Shutter at the thought.

MONICA-LnP said...

When I whine I know I am going to get a response from someone,saying what do I possibly have to whine about,I have a hardworking hubby,I stay home,the kids are great but that doesnt mean my life is perfect,there is a whole lot more going on and if I didnt vent or whine than you'd think I was a robot or fake. Does the whining make you feel better?a little whine here and there doesnt hurt and I think the whines lead to venting,makes me feel better and much needed or else I would explode.but I never forget how grateful or thankful I am for everything I have and try to put that out there too.gotta mix the good with bad to even things out I say!

Natalie said...

I appreciate this post! Lately I've been trying to take more responsibility for my own emotions in situations, and it's hard but I can see how it's been beneficial.

Thanks for reminding me that as frustrated as I get about my husband, he still comes home to me.

MissKris said...

I have always tried so very hard never to take my Dear Hubby for granted, or the life I have with him. Maybe that's why we've been together for 36 years and quite happily so. In fact, today is our 36th 'anniversary' of our very first date! We had an horrific scare Saturday morning...I'm not sure if he had a minor stroke or what happened until the good Lord intervened...but it brought home to me just how much I truly do love this man. I dunno, Dori...I'm sick of Facebook. It just seems so...trivial. And I have a horrible time trying to think of anything worth saying there. My day-to-day life is pretty humdrum being a stay-at-home grandma. The kids keep it lively but it's a lot of over-and-over routine. But...from your friend's perspective...I KNOW I am truly blessed. We both are, aren't we?