Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Foul Winds

Here's another good thing to remember:  sometimes when people are giving you honest feedback, it's actually their own bullshit they're feeding you.  I'm not saying it's a good idea to always be like, "Hey, I don't need to listen to what you're telling me, you're just projecting, I'm really over here on solid ground."  I mean, if there's a fairly good mass of evidence indicating that you've got a problem to work on, you might want to listen to that.

I'm just saying it's good to also remember that other people have their own stuff to deal with, too.  And sometimes they shovel that stuff your way, not really meaning to.

My mom's pretty sick right now, and I can't write about it too much because it's her private struggle, and I don't want to betray her trust or tell her story without her permission.  But the past few days she's said some things to me that I don't think she meant to say.  I didn't know she didn't mean to say them at the time, and I felt them pretty deeply.  I mean, really, they knocked me off my feet pretty good.  Now I know that wasn't really her talking, and that all that pain I felt was me being overly receptive to someone else's critical words.

Or, I have some friends, who don't have kids, who are struggling with their friends who do have kids (and sometimes with me).  They are feeling all sorts of loss about this, and wondering why anyone in their right minds would want to have children, and are sad and angry that kids take up so much of their friends' time.  I get this, and I have a lot of compassion for it.  Loss is loss is loss.  But also?  This stings a little, personally, because it feels like I've just let someone else down.  I'd like to make everyone happy, and it's so hard to be a good friend and a good parent, and also work and work out and volunteer and think about making the world a better place and also find time to take a shower in the morning, and I just would sometimes like to tell my friends without kids to freaking be a little patient, because in a few years, my kids will be older and then I can pay everyone some more attention, okay?  And I love my friends.  Would be lost without them.  Know their feelings are real.  But Christ's sake. 

I'm just saying.  It's good to find your own ground, and to look down at it, and to see your feet anchored there, and to not get blown over too easily.  Hurricanes are a good sign your ground needs to shift, that you're trying to hold too tightly to a position that isn't tenable anymore.  But a cranky, foul wind from the next state over might mean the next state over has the problem.  You probably shouldn't let those blow you over quite so easily.

You know what I mean?

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if I'm one of the people you're referring to re: child-free friends, since we haven't talked about this in quite awhile, but I hope you know that I haven't meant to guilt or pressure you. The flipside of being patient, though, is that not wanting to bug my parenting friends who have very little social time, it's easy to just go silent and fall out of touch. That's been my experience with other friends, at least. Anyway I'm here if you need and my approach is to invite you to stuff, not take it personally when you can't do it, and wait for you to be in touch if you need. For whatever that's worth...

    Glad you're standing your ground in all respects. Parenting is a sacrifice and you handle it gracefully.

    - Nan