Thursday, April 18, 2013

self-indulgent rant, take 27........

     I've lived for years thinking that the heartbreak of not having our own children caused me to be short of patience with some folks I encounter that have been blessed with offspring.  Whether in the grocery store ("I can take up the whole aisle because I HAVE CHILDREN!!!")   the line at the bank ("I'm so sorry to hold up a line of 14 people so that the cutest child on earth can choose between a red and a green lollipop!!  I HAVE CHILDREN AFTER ALL!!!!!")  the line at the drug store ("I know there's people waiting but can you see if any of the other pharmacists want to buy girl scout cookies from MY CHILDREN!!??")   I wish I could say I was making up those examples but they're honest to God situations I've been in where the fact that someone has children in tow convinced them of an entitlement to adoration, honor and leeway usually only afforded to the queen of England.  How many times have I had it implied to me that my life really isn't all that difficult because I don't have children?   Or that I have no real concept of "tired" or "stress" because I don't have children?  Or been confronted with the presumption that - again, because I don't have children - my schedule is wide open and my life should easily fit into the lives of others?  Am I a jerk?
     Apparently I'm not alone.  I have a new favorite blog:
"STFU Parents"
     The blog has even become a book, discussed in this article from Slate magazine:

     Check out the different categories on the left side of the page.  "Woe is Mom" and "Bathroom Behavior" are my personal favorites.  A woman is shocked that people were pissed because she was washing up her infant after exploding diarrhea IN THE SAME SINK WHERE PEOPLE WASH THEIR HANDS???   It's not just the "gross out factor" (another category) I find in social media posts about poop and other bodily functions.  It's the presumption (there's that word again) that there are souls on this planet who are convinced that hearing about them will either make our day (because your creatures are so charming that we're all dying to hear about what flies out of their various orifices!) or show us that you really are some type of super-human creature because you change diapers and wipe noses.
     Don't get me wrong, I love children.  I've been an uncle since I was 9 years old.  I've changed several diapers and wiped a lot of noses and had vomit spewed upon me on more than one occasion.  In fact, my nieces and nephews have probably suffered the most from the fact that we've had no children of our own (I was always a pushy uncle - but now the longer I go without children of my own I probably absolutely suffocate them!)  My dearly-departed  mother detested hearing women complain about the aches and pains of pregnancy  or the headaches caused by rearing children.  "Children are a blessing - it's a sin to complain about them."  Bless her ignorant heart....she had no idea how much "mama-drama" she was missing out on....

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

She sees the face of Jesus........

     I've explained the rules before.  If you write and you don't occasionally write about your spouse you will go to hell when you die.  The rules don't much matter, though.  In my case, I find the woman brave enough to live and put up with me inspiration enough to write any day of the week.  The inspiration hit hard, though, recently when I was not feeling great and in need of a little spoiling.  In my recliner with my stupid, hurting knee elevated and being iced I was reminded of just how sweet a soul it is that God found fit to take care of this knucklehead  (some might say she's actually being punished for something.)
     She's a registered nurse for a living.  And it's easy to see why she got into that line of work.  She has deep compassion for living things in need....and not just human things.  She mentioned to me not long after we married that she'd given serious thought to some day going back to school to study veterinary medicine.  She said "Don't you think I'd be good at that??"  I told her she most certainly would be but reminded her that - in her current line of work - she does everything possible to make the sickly feel a hell of a lot better.  But sometimes, in THAT line of work you realize there's nothing you can do so you have to make a tough decision for a lot of people that love their animals.  It didn't take her long - she said "you're right...the first day I had to put down a kitty or a dog I'd be done."   Her heart, you see, is just way too big.
     When the moon is full, she tells me you can see the face of Jesus in the moon's shadows and dark spots.  She always sees it when we're on our patio at night, watching stars and thunderstorms and a spoiled rotten yellow lab with her nose in the air, sniffing everything that's happening out in the dark night.  Her grandmother showed her how to find Jesus' face in that moon when it was shining over rural Alabama and those summertime visits with her grandparents ...the ones that seem to be the best parts of her childhood.  I reckon now, when she's gazing at the moon, she's not looking for the face of Christ.  She's reliving time with a special woman I never got to meet.
      She was living in a nursing home by the time we'd started dating, you see.  And we talked about going to visit but hectic work schedules never permitted.  She sent her grandmother one of the very first pictures of us together and told her this is who she was dating.  During another family member's visit to the nursing home, I'm told that Ma Ma pointed to that picture and told the visitor to take note of her "teddy bear" apparently referring to me.   She was confused by this time, but I like to think it was her way of expressing contentment that one of the grandchildren  she cherished so much was in good hands.  That's the way I like to interpret it, anyway. (Thank GOD she didn't know that this cherished grandchild was in the early stages of domesticating someone whose loved ones really never thought COULD be domesticated!!)
     I was standing next to her when she got the call that Ma Ma had died.  I did all the right things and hugged her and told her I was sorry and told her we'd drive to Alabama as soon as the ice melted and do whatever we needed to do (we were in the middle of an ice storm when it all happened.)   I was quite honored to be asked to serve as a pall bearer at the funeral.  The night before the funeral we drove to south Alabama  after we both got off work.  We went straight to the funeral home.  When she walked into the funeral home and saw her grandmother lying there I actually saw her heart break.  I was overcome with emotion.  Why was I upset??  I had to step outside.  "You don't even know this woman!  Man-up you little girl!!"  I then realized why I was upset...I loved her and - in that instant - knew I was going to spend the rest of my life with her and would not EVER let her hurt alone again.  Even in death, Ma Ma was taking care of folks.
     It's no wonder she can see the face of Jesus and I can't.  She's a lot sweeter soul than I'll ever be. That's why she sees the good in everything...even me.