If You’re Happy and You Know It

March 10, 2019 at 11:01 pm Leave a comment

I love to write. I have often thought if I could somehow make a living writing, I would. Teaching linguistics deepened that interest as I found new ways to rejoice in the language humans use. I had an entire lecture centered around the “F” word. I took my classes to cemeteries to study the use of language on gravestones (thanks, Dr. B., for sparking that interest). We debated whether behavior follows language or language follows behavior. All of this brought me great satisfaction.

Words are my happy place.

When I came back to “What We Need” several months ago at the urging of Therapist NC, it was pretty easy to write. Even though at some point in the past I felt as though I’d said everything here I needed to say, NC reminded me that this blog could now be about me more than about C. The words flowed. Then things slowed down a bit and I found myself struggling somewhat. The words did not come as easily as they used to.

Writing is my way of working through things. As my happy returned, I had less of a need to process, I suppose. I find it hard to write when I’m happy, even though words bring me such joy. When I’m happy, I’m out living my life, not processing it. Still, it’s practice, like everything else I’m doing to help stay on this road when C comes home. To remain calm amidst any chaos that may occur. To keep peace in my heart and head no matter what is happening in my home. To somehow walk that fine tightrope line of balance between what I need and what C needs.

It does seem like a tug of war to some extent. I’m reminded of that poem about special needs mothers by Erma Bombeck (excerpt below). It always resonated with me because I’ve never thought of myself as particularly patient and I have equally thought myself selfish. Somehow reading it justified those qualities or lack thereof, and I felt less guilty about not being the perfect mother.

Words have power. So I will continue to write, happy or sad, as I make my way through what is to come.

The Special Mother, by Erma Bombeck

“Give her a disabled child”. The angel is curious. “Why this one God? She’s so happy.”

“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a disabled child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel!”

“But has she patience?” asks the angel.

“I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of sorrow and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today, she has that feeling of self and independence that is so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has her own world. She has to make her live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”

“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”

God smiles, “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect – she has just enough selfishness.”

The angel gasps – “Selfishness? is that a virtue?”

God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally she won’t survive. Yes here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider any step ordinary. When her child says “Momma” for the first time she will be present at a miracle and will know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see… ignorance, cruelty and prejudice…and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as if she is here by my side.”

“And what about her Patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in midair.

God smiles… “A mirror will suffice.”

 

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Backseat Driver All By Myself

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