Behind but Thankful

Ok, so I’m already behind on the NaBloPoMo – who was I kidding thinking I might do the NaNoWriMo?! I still WANT to do both! But now isn’t this just so telling of my personality?! Life to me is like going to Golden Coral – I tend to fill my plate with much more than I can ever consume. Next time, I do the same all over again.

I am so grateful that I still WANT to do things, even though my body sometimes (ok, often, but I’m an optimist) doesn’t cooperate. Dr. Lapp asks me that question when we have our every six month follow-ups for the chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia that has plagued me for … it will be 24 years on November 25. “Do you still have interest in things?” At least 85% of the time now I can answer that question in the affirmative. Thank God. The other dark, lonely, flat place is no fun at all. Still, in hindsight when I am feeling better, I am grateful for the low days, too. They are part of the contrast, which makes me appreciate so many little simple things at this stage of my life. Today I am grateful that I WANT to do so many things, including writing. I may fall short of my goals, but I am alive, awake, aspiring for more.

I know I must get on with my day, yet my heart is so FULL of gratitude, so I really only have time to make a list:

* I am grateful for my loving husband, with whom I can be myself, graying hair, pooching belly and all. He adores me and we both agree there is no one we would rather be driven crazy by than each other! I respect him, his values, his strength, his even-tempered personality, and especially the way he walks the dog each night, helps in the kitchen more and more, and does all those fine motor kinds of things that elude me – like the efficient and gentle way he got two splinters out of the palm of my right hand yesterday. He’s the best and deserves his own LONG post! But that will have to wait…

* I am grateful for my beautiful home with its newly remodeled kitchen, the gorgeous yard my husband tends with its now red and yellow and falling leaves; the purple, blue, white and yellow pansies he planted for me in containers on the back porch; the cozy, way it feels when I return to it. Last night, after ten days at the beach, I unlocked the back door, juggling bags and my purse and the keys and all and I walked in, trying not to get bruised again by the heavy storm door. I turned on the lights – the new funky pendant lights – and I couldn’t help but smile. It smelled like home. You know that smell. Every home has its own. But this one was ours, and it felt like putting on my favorite faded, stained sweater on a chilly day.

And now the timer has dinged and there is no time to even finish my list. Shocking for me, I know. I must get in the shower so I won’t be late to appointments. I am grateful for the nice hot shower I am about to have. Many people in this world do not have that luxury you know.

“If a Job Needs Doing”

Prompt: 15 minutes: “If a job needs doing”. GO!

“If a Job Needs Doing”

If a job needs doing, I write it down on a list to either do myself when I’m feeling up to it, or to remember to delegate to my husband or Lisa those things I can. Iron the clothes, change the linens on the bed, water the plants — well, actually, I don’t delegate too well, come to think of it. I prefer to do the plant watering myself. Then I know it’s done “right.” Actually, I feel this way about a lot of things, and so this journey of chronic illness has been a challenge in “letting go.” Releasing. Releasing control. Expectations. Perfectionism.

I’ve learned to bite my tongue for the most part when someone else is doing the job I “should” be able to do myself, but can’t. Or shouldn’t, as I need to preserve my energy for other things.

I am reminded of my first husband’s grandmother all those years ago, confined to her wheelchair for the last decade or more of her life. I was in unfamiliar territory as the new girlfriend, then the bride, when we visited them on Lake Wiley. Paw Paw Lockwood did most everything while Grandmother Lockwood tried her best to hide her frustration as we helped get ready for a meal.

“Which plates did you want to use?”

Greg and I rifled through cabinets, drawers, getting all the things Grandmother wanted. Sometimes I watched her painstakingly do things herself, taking God knows how much longer to fold the paper napkins than for one of us able-bodied family members to do it ourselves.

I know the feeling of frustration, as I sit in my own kitchen now, watching Lisa cut up onions with the “wrong” knife. Clearly she’s just learning how to cook. Not that I’m an expert, but her husband has been the cook in her own family. Yet she goes about this job she’s paid to do with a smile on her face, hiding any uncertainty and doing the best she can to help with anything I ask. And so I sometimes bite my tongue, close my eyes, and silently think to myself, “Ginny, do not criticize! Be grateful someone else is helping you do what you can no longer do for yourself.” Other times I speak up, choosing my words and tone carefully.

“Girl, don’t you go hurting yourself with that knife!”

I get up and go to the knife drawer and pull out the one I use for onions, remarking to her, while I’m at it, that the one I saw her use “wrong” last week is a special tomato slicing knife, “isn’t that cool?”

Then there are husbands, bless their hearts. I’m guessing all wives know this scenario, even without illness as a factor. Just like I’d never attempt plumbing or trying to fix things with tools beyond the basics I know how to use – screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches every now and then, how can I expect him to know which dish he “should” use for storing the leftover soup? It seems logical to me to put it in Pyrex for easy reheating instead of dirtying up a plastic container which can’t go in the microwave tomorrow. But I keep my mouth shut, grateful that Michael’s helping clean up the kitchen after dinner when I’m feeling too lousy to hardly even eat.