Don’t Expect What Isn’t Yours To Have: Transparency

Why don’t more people just talk about what’s going on in their life before they take such drastic measures?” wonder the citizens, as they sip their morning coffee and read the depressing headlines. “If someone is having troubles, why don’t they just open up and tell people? Why do they hide it and try to act like everything is okay? I would listen without judging, if someone came to me! I believe in people being open and transparent.”

 In theory, I’m sure you do. In real life, I’m not so sure you mean it. Have you ever noticed the comments under news articles, the ones where people bemoan a suicide or similar tragedy and lament, “if only they’d just told us…” Sometimes a conversation spins off of those comments, and people decide the main problem with the hurting one was simply that they wouldn’t open up to others. “We won’t let that happen; we’ll make sure everyone knows they can be transparent with us.” Then they go to work and gossip about co-workers, go to school and mock the kid that is different, or go to church and have superficial “how are you doing? Fine? That’s good” conversations. Sometimes someone might actually seek them out and confide in them, sharing the hidden troubles and burdens. And what are some of the common responses? That can’t really be happening; you must be exaggerating. Or, you must be doing something to cause that situation, let’s see what you can do differently. Or, just pray for wisdom and God will show you how to fix it.

 It’s not always that easy. Some problems can’t be fixed in a day or week. Sometimes it’s like a disease that has been slowly destroying your body for years, but there’s no known cure. People can see the physical changes, but rarely take time to learn the cause behind the changes. Or they say you are the cause, and completely ignore the real problem that’s bigger than you.

 When you advocate that honesty would be the key to preventing tragedies, have you ever considered that an individual’s honesty might come with a price? That sharing the truth could ultimately make the problem worse, not better? That “honesty” could negatively affect more people than just the one sharing? Stop. Reflect. Have you ever thought about that possibility??

 I’m not saying that it’s wrong to hope for transparency and honesty.  No, not at all!! To have that in relationships is wonderful and good! The point I’d like to make is that you can’t just expect someone to give you that level of trust and openness, if you aren’t actively caring about them. Not just once in a while. Regularly. Genuinely. If you aren’t close enough to notice the pain in their eyes and wonder what put it there, you aren’t close enough to be trusted with all their secrets.

 And, should someone trust you enough to confide in you, respect them. Offer them a listening ear. Even if what they say is shocking, don’t be so quick to say they can’t possibly be telling the truth. Don’t judge them. Love them, and let them know you still care about them after hearing their secret burdens. They became vulnerable by telling the truth; show them they are safe in your friendship and won’t be betrayed. Don’t be the critical “friend” who sends them away and lets them become just another headline in the morning paper.


Sweeter Dreams

There is hope for Kaitlyn’s bedtime!  Every night, she was turning it into a huge battle, and I dreaded it more than she did.   After trying several things, I think she’s now learning not to hate bedtime quite as much.   She seems to like the new bedtime routine I’ve tried to establish, and there was no fussing, crying, or carrying-on when I left her room last night!  It takes more of my time, so I’m not sure Daddy’s crazy about the new routine yet, but I’m happy with Kaitlyn’s improved attitude.

Kaitlyn’s bedtime schedule:  Obey when Mommy says it’s bedtime.  Go to the bathroom by herself.  Put on pajamas.  Pick up toys.  Choose a storybook.  Get in bed.  Listen as Mommy reads two books, then “read” them back to Mommy and discuss the pictures.  Get a drink of water.  Pray.  Lights out, time to sleep.

And it seems to help her attitude in the mornings, too.  (Said cautiously, because as soon as I say something like that, she seems to do a 180 switch 😉 )  Today’s blessing has been dancing around the kitchen with Kaitlyn this morning, making her giggle despite her stuffed-up nose (colds are no fun, especially when you’re a kid).  With all the silliness, she forgot she didn’t feel good, and her laughter lifted my spirits, too.

Aww, Phooey, I’m Sick

After two weeks of my family taking turns being ill, I finally got it, too. Boo, hiss.  😦 A certain person insinuated that I’m dumb for getting sick.   I’m going to give that guy the benefit of the doubt and assume he forgot who stayed awake during the nights with him and his children, and cleaned up their vomit.  😉

Cinderella Day

Today I updated my Facebook status:

“In Kaitlyn’s mind, every hero is “Daddy” and every heroine is “Mommy.” That gets pretty interesting. Today we’re John Wayne and Cinderella 😛

And at this moment, I do feel like Cinderella.  Does that mean I am in a ballgown and high heels with perfect hair and makeup, dancing with the love of my life?  Um, no, I’m at the pre-fairy godmother stage.  The days of endless cleaning and grunge jobs without any praise or thanks.  Motherhood can be disconcertingly similar to Cinderella, except the mice in my house don’t talk to me. 😉

For the past two weeks, there has been at least one sick member of the family, throwing up, and needing extra pampering and loving.  Last week, we did a “2 for 1.”  Daddy and Baby got sick on the same morning, and stayed miserable for several days.   Then, once everyone was getting well, our water pipes froze.  Thawed.  And burst.  How fun…  I guess we had a date, of sorts.  I dressed up (Carhartts and baseball cap, sexy, sexy…) and together we crawled under the trailer house to fix the pipes.   As we laid in the mud and water, I tried to imagine we were relaxing at a spa, being pampered.  Okay, it didn’t work, but it revived my sense of humor when I needed it most.  Working on water pipes when it’s thirty degrees out and the wind is blowing, isn’t the most fun job.  But at least we got it fixed.

Not quite.  Water was barely trickling out of the kitchen faucet, and the bathroom water pressure was about half its normal level.  It was determined that we need to replace *everything* at the point of origin  –  down in the storm cellar.  We examined the cobbled mess, debated water pipe sizes, and made a shopping list.  I find it funny that Hubby says I was a big help finding parts at Menards; my comprehension of the whole project is still pretty fuzzy, but I do know how to find things at the store!  Before we shut the water off and started tearing things apart, Hubby cleaned all the indoor faucets.  Can you say, “mineral deposits?”  There was a lot of buildup that, once removed, restored the water pressure levels to normal.  I have water in the kitchen again, yay!  (Why is the kitchen always the room that loses water first?)  But I guess we still need to do the big project of replacing the cobbled mess of water pipes down in the cellar.  Time to go get my coveralls… 🙂

The cats got back in the house while we were fixing the water pipes, and we let them stay inside for a couple days.  Bad, bad, bad idea.  Today alone, I have discovered three rooms that the cats designated as indoor toilets.  Cat poop is simply disgusting.  So I’m cleaning that off of carpets and clothes.  Kaitlyn decided I needed more clothes for the laundry hamper, and had *four* potty accidents (despite my taking her to the bathroom every hour).  I didn’t mind the wet ones so much, but cleaning poopy big girl panties is not all that pleasant.  :/  Honestly, I’m sick of poop.  Some days, Kaitlyn remembers to use the bathroom every time and I feel like she’s mastered potty-training.  And days like today, I think she just doesn’t care.  I am thankful, though, that these days are getting farther apart, and we are making progress with potty-training.

I was invited out for lunch but couldn’t go, due to Kaitlyn having gone down for an early nap and because I was cleaning up cat poop.  I’m also trying to get ahead with baking today, so meals will be a breeze tomorrow.  Tomorrow is “pick up chicken” day!  Found a great deal on organic chicken, so we bought in bulk to stock the freezer for winter.  I’ll have to prep it for freezing, which will take some time.  Having a quick supper on hand that Hubby can fix himself?  I say yes to that idea.  🙂


Day of Blessings

I’ve been feeling kinda blue lately: still having health troubles and getting really tired of “three good days, followed by five bad days” over and over.  Admitting that makes me feel like I’m whining, because it could be so much worse and I’m still able to do most things without people knowing I’m not feeling good.  But it has drained my strength and energy, and I feel awful when I can’t keep up with everything. But every once in a while, I get a day with surprise blessings!

Missy had her two-month checkup this week, and even though it was another hot day (and the car kept overheating, so could only have the air-conditioning on half the time), it was a good day.  Kaitlyn was well-behaved and even voluntarily shared toys with other kids in the waiting room!  Missy’s doctor is awesome, because he genuinely cares about his patients.  Before he began her checkup, he asked if I was taking care of myself and getting “alone time”  (which doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally, yes).  Instead of just checking that off his list of questions for postpartum mothers, he reiterated that I need to get more rest and brief times away so I don’t get caregivers’ burnout.  Then he was so good with Missy… fascinated by her, actually, since he will be having his first child in a couple months.  He had lots of questions for himself, wanting to know if it’s true that new parents don’t get much sleep, etc.  It’s fun to have a real conversation, not just succinct questions about Missy’s development.

Had to wait an hour for Missy’s immunizations.  If I’d known that in advance, I would have dreaded it.  How was I going to keep Kaitlyn happy for another hour?  But she read books, and hopped around pretending to be Tigger (I know because she told me:), and played Ring Around the Rosie with me.  We had some nice mommy-daughter time without any obligations or interruptions.  Ya!  The blessings continued when we got a super-nice nurse for immunizations , who gave me lots of compliments on my appearance, saying she remembers what it’s like to have a baby and how important encouragement is for a mom.  I could have hugged her!  😉   Missy did okay with the shots, and slept for several hours afterwards.

Got to go watch a DVD with my mother-in-law and grandma-in-law that evening.  ‘Twas nice to have adult conversation again!

This weekend promises to be busy… visiting friends tonight, going to a concert the next night (and I still haven’t found a place for Kaitlyn to stay that night 😦 ) and then Sunday which is always a hectic day.  But we’ll be going places, which I really enjoy.  So, heigh ho, it’s back to work for me, so we’ll be ready to leave once Jesse gets home!

One, Two…

Sometimes I wonder if Kaitlyn is really listening to what I’m teaching her.  Every time I show her how to count to ten, or name the colors, or point out shapes, I find myself wondering if she “gets” it.  She just smirks and usually ignores me.

BUT then comes a little breakthrough.  Tonight I brought Hubby his supper, and he motioned for me to watch Kaitlyn.  She was holding four pennies, and as she lined them up, she said, “One, two..”  He then helped her say, “three, four.”  I guess she’d been doing that repetitively while I was out of the room.  Ya!!!

And, even though she seems to use fewer words lately, she randomly throws out sentences.  Like the night Jesse put Kaitlyn to bed… after listening to Kaitlyn throwing a fit, I went to her room.   Jesse was sitting on her bed, telling her it was bedtime, and she was yelling, “I WANT MOM!!!”  (she was very disappointed when I told her to obey Daddy and go to sleep.)  A sentence, we got a full sentence!  *clicks heels, does a little jig*


New Injury

I’m rather proud of the fact that my accident-prone husband hasn’t been to the  hospital for issues with his health since our wedding… thus breaking his life-long tradition of going at least once a year.  (Granted, he has been to Quick Care several times for injuries, but it somehow doesn’t seem as bad as actual hospital visits.)  The math equation for this change is probably something like 94% answered prayers, 5% lessons learned by experience  + 1% cautious wife = fewer major injuries.

I can pray a lot, I can occasionally point out the dangerous consequences of certain actions, but there’s not much more I can do.  Except be really nice when he gets hurt because he wasn’t thinking about consequences… like tonight.

He was using a grinder on a piece of metal.  Grinders make metal very hot.  Hot metal doesn’t feel good on flesh.  Grabbing hot metal with bare fingers will cause intense pain.

I imagine it was an instinctive reflex: once the grinder stops, you pick up the piece of metal to see if it looks right.  Unfortunately, his fingers will suffer for days as a direct result of not wearing gloves.  I’m not yet certain how bad the burns are, but – hours later – he still has ice on those fingers to keep the pain bearable.

Oh, honey… sure, it could have been prevented, but we all do dumb things.  (Some more than others = that’s me.)  Right now, I know he’s hurting.   He already knows it wasn’t a smart thing to do; I want to show him I still think he’s amazing, instead of tearing him down with thoughtless words.  I just hope replacing melted ice packs says, “I love you” in a way he’ll hear it.