Monday, June 04, 2007
Knowing When to Shut Up
Today was a "spin my wheels" kinda day. A rainy, chilly Monday following another overly busy weekend. An ADD type of day. An oh-crud-I-forgot-about-piano-lessons sort of day, where one thing got forgotten, another added last minute, and another cancelled, which had me doing the "need to wash my hair - oh wait, no I don't - oh shoot, yes I do" dance of indecision. (For the record, I write with pony-tailed, unwashed hair. :-) This is the sort of day where I sleep just a little too long, when I get that nagging feeling I should get something done - though I know not what that 'something' is. And this is especially the kind of day where my mind wanders in several different directions, emulating my not-getting-much-done actions. And I realize again, tonight, when the usual reading before bedtime seems a bit moot since I've been in evening-mode all day, that my Pisces mind meandering is really something - something frightening.
All day long I'm writing in my head, though little of it gets through to paper. All day long I'm channeling my unschooling voice whenever I'm tempted to throw a big fat hissy fit about the mess on the floor (and on the table, and desk, and counter, and bathrooms, and....). All day long I've got one eye toward the garden and half a wit considering what's for dinner (and why the hell I didn't think to take anything out or - here's a thought - think about it yesterday) while my hands fold clothes. And I look longingly toward the book I'm reading just about the time I realize I'm going to be late to get Jonathan from theatre camp. When puffed-up and needing a good brag, we women like to call it multi-tasking. For me, it's usually multi-daydreaming.
Rob is afraid of the wide-swinging pendulum of my mind. And hell, he doesn't get to hear the half of it. (More like 5% of it - I wanna keep him around, you know.) Since he's been really laid up since his back injury, he actually started cleaning up the kitchen in desperation for something, anything, to do. Now THIS is a shocker. I mean, he's cleaned the kitchen before. By HIS standards. My standards, well, actually include putting dishes in the dishwasher, food in the fridge, and wiping the counters. (Which probably leads one to wonder what he DID do before - as it should. :) So when I started coming home to a clean kitchen, really clean, clean as in "they haven't eaten in the 5 hours I was gone?" - which, for those who don't know my boys, would be a feat worthy of the Guiness Book of World Records - I was happy. SO happy. Now-I'll-stay-married-to-you happy.
And then I made the mistake of saying that out loud. To Rob. I told him how much I appreciated coming home to a clean kitchen. (That was a good start.) I told him it made my day to not walk in and immediately have my eyes see mess and my brain fire *WORK - DAMN IT*. (That was a nice addition to my gushing.) But see, I just don't always know when to quit. I continued with, "When I come home to a clean kitchen, I'm soooo happy. When I come home to a mess, I just want a divorce."
Rob's head jerked up at this new piece of insight into the mind-of-Laura. (Because while he likes my fawning, I'm sure, he had one eye on the baseball game during the previous two appropriately complimentary comments.)
"That's where you go in your head? Straight to divorce?!?" he asked, eyebrows raised, lower jaw dropped.
I'm not proud of it. And I'm even less proud that I admitted it. Out loud. I mean, some things are better left in one's head, especially irrational, mind-bogglingly drastic, and stoooopid thoughts like "Yes, your honour, I left him because there were crumbs under the toaster oven. Crumbs!!" He really didn't see the humor in it, and I don't blame him... especially considering it wasn't spoken with even a hint of sarcasm. Just plain, showin'-my-hand confession.
There is a monthly collection of blog posts on the topic of unschooling at An Unschooling Life, where the author offers questions as writing prompts and unschoolers submit writings. (I was a recent contributor with this post.) The latest question (which I didn't specifically address) was How has unschooling changed you? You as an adult? And in addition to all the ways I've become a more peaceful parent, I have to say - it's made me a better wife.
When I'm not talking about divorce over dishes, that is.
But unschooling is about more than education. It's a radical shift in how one lives life, seeing value in all things and being joyful and not succumbing to societal expectations of what is valuable and necessary and cool and acceptable. It's about showing respect and love. It's about honoring others and their needs. And that's just the tip of the unschooling iceberg.
And so I think - I hope - my marriage is better for it. I admit I made the transition to honoring the children in their uniqueness years before it even occurred to me to do the same with my marriage. In the early days I worked a whole lot harder to get my way, until I realized one day that I didn't like a man without an opinion. Go figure.
So I re-evaluated. I remembered that the only way to be trusted is to trust, the only way to be loved is to be loving, the only way to earn respect is to show respect.
I sound like a book jacket blurb for Chicken Smarm for the Soul. And you may notice I have a long way to go in the treat-the-husband-with-the-same-respect-I-hope-to-receive department.
Sometimes Rob likes it when I reveal the odd and secret thoughts that go through my head. Like the time when I told him that unloading the dishwasher is foreplay. (And yes, picture Rob doing a slow bend over and saying, "Hey Laura, I'm unloading the dishwasher now...." in Don LaFontaine's voice. Which happens, like, a lot now.) And when we travel together, just the two of us, and he is especially romantic and I am especially carefree, I am more able to be open and acknowledge how much he makes me laugh and how, really, he's such a damn good guy.
So while I've got a little ways to go, I'm getting better. (Really, I am.) I've been seeing a holistic doc to get my hormones in check (my mood swings were *wicked*, and I finally found a doc who figured out I had a raging hormone imbalance); I've been stopping before I spew any sort of ugliness and waiting for option #2 to come to me (thank you Diana for that nugget of wisdom); and I've been seeing my husband for who-he-is and not for who-I-think-he-should-be. And you know what, despite my misguided ideas in the early years, I like him that way. I like a person who knows who they are. I like a person who lives their truth. And Rob does that. And always did that. And I've finally caught on and caught up.