Sunday, November 6, 2011

November Gratitude is here!

I love November for three reasons:

  • There is a 100% certainty that I will eat green bean casserole and homemade crescent rolls.
  • I like running in the cold, wintery weather.
  • I blog about things I'm grateful for.
Wahoo - gratitude blogs are some of my favorite posts to write. I even get a little nostalgic about the past gratitude posts I've written; one of my favorites is this one. I think of the person I was when I wrote them, better perhaps in someways, not so much in others

I think tonight, I am grateful for perspective. I have two stories. On the day that my dad died, I arrived at my mom's house with an anxious heart; the possibility that my dad could pass away was very real, and I had never experience a dying and then dead person before. My parents had - with my grandparents - but it was my first time. I thought of my mom and knew she was a strong person, and that if she had gotten through the days when her loved ones passed away, I could too. I faced the day as best as I could. I fought my instincts all day - after all, I'd spent my children's lifetimes worrying about them losing their lives, and to watch my dad lose his and not prevent it went against my very core being. But I held his hand and talked to him and cried with my family and waited.

I remember one pivotal moment. My dad had aspirated some medicine, and things were very, very scary. He was gasping and I knew he was probably dying and in that moment I did something I am ashamed of:  I completely panicked and ran the four steps from his bedside to the doorway of my childhood bedroom.

I reached that doorway and felt immediately felt ashamed of myself. I recognized I should have been running to my dad - to comfort him, to assure him, to do something to help him - and I was running the other way, wringing my hands and wanting someone else to deal with the situation. I stopped and consciously went back. I wouldn't run away the way I did when Dani cut her finger off in our front door.

The second story. Our fridge has a water dispenser with a filter that you have to change every 6 months. The filter indicator light went off in July. One night, I sent Shane to the store to buy a filter - he went to the Lowes while I went to Walmart and did the weekly grocery shopping. Things went smoothly - I finished my shopping within minutes of him getting back to pick me up. I got in the car and checked the filter.  "So, is this the one you were supposed to get?" I asked.

"I don't know," was his answer.

I questioned him for a while. "Really, like you didn't ask the person at the desk if it would work in our fridge? Or check the floor model fridge that is the twin of ours to see if this filter would fit?"


I questioned him more and more and eventually, I worked myself into quite a mood. I was angry and I kept thinking of the fact that he had (possibly) bought the filter and it might not fit. I wanted to shake my dear husband for not checking that it was the right one. I kept thinking that if it didn't fit, I would have to the one to take it back and return it and why, oh why, couldn't he have just checked so I didn't have to....

It was completely unnecessary. My husband didn't ask for directions because men don't ask. They buy whatever it is that they find and if it doesn't fit, they take it back - whatever. I realized I had pretended to take a backseat in the whole filter-buying incident, but I was really trying to control it from the get go. I got angry and upset and created a situation that didn't have to exist except for my own selfishness. Because, of course, the filter fit. Shane didn't know if it would fit, but he wasn't worried about it fitting either. And, should it not, the world would not stop.

So, two situations that highlighted two unsavory parts of my personality: running away from situations I fear, and trying to control everything in the everyday situations around me. In the past months, I have consciously tried to not do either. When I hear a noise at my house that makes my blood run cold, I fight the urge to cower and run away. I've let Shane and others do things that I would normally do myself or hover over while someone else did it. I try and let my kids do their chores while I am doing something else; no one likes a backseat toilet-cleaner or cat-box-cleaner. When Shane recently recieved a job offer, I tried not to bother him about the reasons why I thought he should stay at his old job and thought of him and the opportunity it was and how he might actually be happy at work should he take it. I didn't sit and do spreadsheets with the amounts of medical premiums and the cost of student loans; instead, I looked at the bottom line, saw it would make things a little better around here and make him happy, and trusted him that he was making the right decision.

Who knew letting go of things I feel I control (that, in all honesty, I never really had anyway) would make things easier for everyone, and maybe help us be a little happier too. I'm trying to be better.

Kind of a strange gratitude post. Forgive my ramblings. Have you made realizations about your personality that you've made an effort to change? Why is it so hard to change ourselves?


Amy Sorensen said...

Oh, this is a great post! I think insights about ourselves are perfect things to be grateful for.

As I am just trying to talk myself into going outside to run in the cold wintery weather, though, I have to say: I HATE running in the cold, wintery weather!!! ;)

Melanie said...

Awesome post! I can appreciate both stories. Did I tell you about Aidan cutting his tongue nearly in half? I had to fight so hard to look at it without gagging and running away, while remaining the calm mom so he didn't freak out. And the whole control thing - I left our house Saturday with things more chaotic than I've ever left them. I had full faith in your ability to take my kids and keep them safe and happy. But someone taking over this mess of a house without the pages of instructions and full fridge that I usually leave? I actually made the conscious decision Friday night to sleep for 2 hours when I could have been cleaning and preparing. And you know what? Everything was OK! So here's to letting go!

BTW, I owe you big time! You guys are the best friends ever!