This month has been so hard for me to write. Not because of something that happened and conversely, not because nothing happened either. I somehow just struggled to find the words to begin. Continuing is usually not my problem as you know. Once I get started with the intention of writing a page, somehow 6 usually eventuate but where to begin this time got me stumped. So maybe I’ll commence by telling you a couple of stories.
I once had a brother by a different mother. In another life and another land, I shared a family with a young teenager who had the sweet tooth that so often is found in youth. Actually, junk food in general was like manna from heaven to this boy be it sweet or savoury but I believe that chocolate did hold a special place in his heart. So much so that after he had gone through his cache of Easter goodies, he was more than happy to start on someone else’s. With permission of course, which was why one afternoon he asked “Mama, can I have the Easter egg that is sitting on the window sill?”. Unfortunately however, the rights to this egg were not exactly hers to bestow and she told her son “That egg belongs to your father, you’ll have to wait to ask him when he gets home”.
“But that will take ages!” moaned the boy. Because after all, when you’re hungry, three hours is a LONG TIME. I’d hate to think of the emotional strain of knowing that chocolaty goodness could possibly be days or even weeks away. Although allowing that it is a mother’s prerogative to bribe and / or indulge her children on occasion, that was never really a possibility in the first place and a solution soon presented itself to the teenager. “I’ll tell you what, if you promise to do me a favour, I’ll let you have the Easter egg”.
“What will I have to do?” was the boy’s immediate reply. Which, I’ll grant you, is not an unintelligent question. He should have known full well though that the answer was something like help me bring in the groceries from the car or gather all the dirty clothes for a load of laundry. Tasks that were simple as opposed to shovelling snow on the sidewalk which would have been rewarded with money. Tasks that were also quick and not at all like, say, dedicating the rest of one’s life to solving the problem of world peace. Whats more, the favour was just as likely to be forgotten as it was called upon but it was decided that the unknown (as the favour couldn’t be appropriately defined) wasn’t worth the potential inconvenience and he finally came to the conclusion “I don’t want it then”.
I was with a family member once when I was invited by friends to join them at their house for drinks. I’ve never been one to ditch present company in lieu of a fresh offer although on this occasion, I actually asked my friends if I could bring my family member along. This was what I ended up doing and the night progressed with conversation and laughter and apparently a number of undertones I wasn’t aware of at the time. It wasn’t till I got home that I received an sms from my friend which said “you know that you are always welcome but next time, leave your family in the car”.
It would be an understatement to say that I was livid. I was furious, outraged, pissed and angry. I thought the text was rude, inconsiderate, insulting and unwarranted. I’ll grant you in hindsight that my family member may have rubbed my friends up the wrong way and that they were entitled to declare a state of future unwelcome for that person but I think they went about it completely the wrong way. From their feelings of discomfort and defensiveness came my feelings of temper and hurt and I don’t think anyone won in that situation. And as it was, after we were no longer geographically close, we were no longer emotionally close either.
I knew another someone who somehow managed to grow up bypassing those life lessons that we tend to assume are a by-product of reaching one’s maturity. Things like:
Money doesn’t grow on trees
- If you want something, you have to work for it
- Trust, once lost, definitely needs to be earned before it is bestowed
I am not sure if they were never realised, never understood or merely never deemed applicable because a good tantrum will solve just about anything – no matter what age you are.
I wonder about this person sometimes. I wonder if they regret some of their decisions or are even aware that they made them in the first place. I wonder if everyone around them stopped the messages from getting through or they blocked the awareness themselves. I wonder if truly learning these lessons is like getting your wisdom teeth yanked…Its painful, sure, but when you’re younger, it’s a whole lot less traumatic. And ironically enough, before it happens, you have it all and you think you know everything and then you lose something close to you and you become a whole lot more educated.
Story Three is not much of a story, I know. There is no apparent conflict nor is there a plot but together with the others, it creates a sort of picture. One from which I can pull out:
You don’t really get to choose your family
- Some people just don’t get it
- Others are plain lazy
- There are ways and there are ways of dealing with situations
- I agree with you wholeheartedly – some people really need to grow up
So thank you very much for your restraint, your forbearance and your patience. You know what I’m talking about.
With the rest of the month, we enjoyed what little summer there was to be had this season. We enjoyed a particularly nice morning where we took Reuben to Bondi beach to catch up with one of my high school friends and her 18 month old. The sun was out, there was a warm and gentle breeze, not a cloud in the sky could be seen and it was fun to watch the puppy romp through the water with a little German shepherd. What was not so much fun however was the torrential rain that was plummeting down by the time we got home. It was absolutely pissing. Which was pretty much this last Summer all over. It rained a good two thirds of the time and I think Summer didn’t actually show up until the 27th February. But then it disappeared just as quickly so it may as well never have really come at all.
Apart from beer fridges (your new one), beaches, birthdays (Neighbourette’s son) and merely being this month, the only other noteworthy thing was that big thing in the corner. You know, the white thing with the trunk. The elephant in the room that neither of us wanted nor knew quite what to do with at the time? The one that began with an “M”. Part of me thinks it should have been one of those ‘better luck next time situations’, and in a way it was but I think it actually surprised both of us at the time as it was also not cool. What do you say when your wife has just had a miscarriage? I can’t help you with that because I certainly didn’t know what I wanted to hear. Which was partly why it was easy for me to not say anything immediately and let you race out the door to play golf. You had been looking forward to that game all week and I wanted you to have that. There was nothing at home that couldn’t wait.
When you did know however, there was nothing that you could do anyway. You can’t fix it. You can’t make it go away and you couldn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. It’s not my fault. It’ll be ok. It doesn’t mean we won’t be successful in the future. The chances are like 1 in 6 so its very common. Its often the body’s way of protecting itself and keeping healthy…I was telling myself all that stuff already. It doesn’t stop you being sad or upset though. About the only thing you could do was be there for me but you seemed to think of that as being strong for me which meant that you didn’t really talk to me about it much and internalised your own hurt. I think we’re doing a lot better than some other couples who have been through the same experience. We seem to be adjusting fairly quickly and looking to the future and not the past but occasionally a feeling or a memory catches you unawares and you think crap! that sucked all over again.
But here’s hoping for bigger and better in the future. We have an indulgent wine weekend to look forward to and plenty of other things besides and I’m glad you are there to share the journey with me.
Your Loving Wife
* Photo from last year’s Vivid Festival