Hello all. You know how we have lives, right? Like normal lives. Like here’s what we do every night when we’re all home, here’s who’s involved, etc. And how sometimes those lives get… well, disrupted. Take last night, for example.
I got off work. I was stressing. Sent a text message to my counselor and my middle sister and my husband, RMB. (Separated) The text message was: “Am so p____d at the world right now! Would dearly love to pummel something! Back to being worried about ________, feel like no answers, no plan, no nothing! Grrrr!”
RMB called me. I was just grouching about what to fix for supper and decided to stop and get some pizza. He asked if I would like it if he came over and joined us? I said sure.
I was still at the pizza place when he got to town, so he met me there and we went to the house. The Boy was in the driveway with two little neighborhood girls and their scooters. (Those little girls just love him!) RMB helped carry in the pizza and we sat at the table. He got up to get us napkins, got up and fixed The Boy some ice water, brought me a butterknife to Deconstruct my salad, and we all ate supper together. It was nice. I took the boxes outside and fed the pizza crusts to the dogs, and then I started cleaning up the kitchen. It wasn’t a huge mess, but there were a few dishes I had left from earlier in the day. And maybe the day before. Not the point. As I started to wash dishes, RMB was in there with me and started cleaning stuff up, too. He cleaned and put the drip pans and the burner coils back in the stove. Then he started drying and putting away dishes. We wiped the countertops and he hung up the dishrag and towel.
It was so nice. It was like we were all cozy and familyish. The Boy kept hugging RMB and telling him he loved him, and he returned the sentiment. He teased Daughter 1 and complimented her braces. He gave me hugs and squeezes. We stood outside on the front porch in the light of the streetlamp across the road while he smoked. The Boy ran in and out and showed off his most recent scooter tricks.
It was like the Old Normal, and I miss it. The New Normal is me and the kids: one kid on the computer or playing video games, the other one ruining her hearing with an overly loud Ipod, flopped across her bed staring at posters of Jonas; The Boy running amok, and me either in the kitchen making supper by myself or flopped on the bed or the couch, too pooped to bother with supper, telling the kids to fix themselves a sandwich.
Of course, I delude myself. Old Normal would probably have been quite similar, except it would have included RMB either away from the house hanging out at the convenience store, or shut away in the bedroom working on homework, or farting with his computer amid a forest of styrofoam takeout cups, or sleeping away the 2oth consecutive hour. Hmm- see a theme developing here: AWAY.
Not quite so Rockwell-esque when I remember that detail. Guess it’s just nostalgia and stress and loneliness that made last night seem so lovely and bathed in an aura of Family Happiness. I was about to ask somebody to just smack me with something and tell me to get back to reality, but I don’t really need it. I’ve already acknowledged the reality.
The reality is family life is complicated. The dinner table doesn’t always resemble The Best of the Brady Bunch. The house isn’t always a Martha Stewart Showplace. The Modern Mom isn’t always June-Cleaver-In-High-Tech-Sneakers, making cookies, pouring milk, and smiling calmly and benevolently on All She Surveys.
The reality is, sometimes the dinner table is a cross between a firing line and a chipmunk convention. Sometimes, dinner is mushy rings of pasta soaked in bland tomato sauce, just barely above room temperature. Or Mystery Fish or Hamburger Life Support or whatever. And sometimes Mom is less June Cleaver and more Son of Sam. Sometimes the kids don’t come home from school and mow the grass and clean their rooms and polish their SuperKid trophies. Sometimes they get severe depression from wading through the cesspool that is adolescence and have to take a Time Out from Life.
But in the end, as long as there is still faith that God will take care of what’s important, combined with a family who loves each other and keeps trying to do the best they can and never gives up, appearances are unimportant, and Reality is just Continuing to Move.
Until next time,