Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A love affair with misery

Have you ever enjoyed being miserable?  Ok, me neither but have you ever been miserable and felt so grateful for it?  I have.  The last few days I have felt intense misery at least once a day, usually more than that,  and almost cried I was so thankful for the emotion.  Why?  Because my misery meant I was in love. 

Love makes people miserable?  Yes it does.  The movie Hitch starring my long time crush actor, Will Smith, explains how love makes one want to be miserable.  When someone is truly in love there is a whole array of emotions that come with it.  When that person’s significant other is gone for whatever reason there is a miserable feeling to fill the void. 

The age of the relationship typically determines the level of misery for the length of the absence.  For instance, a newly married couple may feel anguish while the other is at work for eight hours.  Over time that anguish fades to a simple feeling of missing the other person.  Now if a spouse is absent long term the anguish returns.  In February Heath and I will celebrate our 10th anniversary.  I still consider us as newlyweds since 10 years isn’t that long, really.  But my guess is that even more mature couples feel some sense of anguish while their spouse is gone.  I hope that’s true.  I hope we don’t celebrate our 30th anniversary and when he’s out of town I don’t look fondly at his pillow at night.  That would be so sad.  They weren’t lying when they said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. 

Heath will be home in less than an hour and I am so excited about it.  He left early Sunday morning to fly out to Austin to meet with a client on Monday and flew home today.  I hate when these relatively short client meetings take him away from me for days but it is what it is.  We’re grateful he has a job.  That is a huge blessing.  We ought to know since we’ve done the whole unemployed thing before.  Not fun. 

Another thing I’m thankful for is how busy I have been while he’s been gone.  The time has flown by.  He laughed saying I must be having a lot of fun.  I wouldn’t say that.  Doing the single parent thing at church with a constipated toddler and substituting a Primary class was stressful.  But post it note from heaven – Gwen was never brought to me and I already talked about how angelic the kids were during Sacrament Meeting, a meeting I used to dread even when Heath was there to run zone defense with me!  Gavin’s Primary class was naughty but it was ok.  I just didn’t give them the treats their teacher normally gives them at the end of the lesson. 

I tried to take each day one moment at a time.  As soon as I got one task done I congratulated myself and moved on to the next.  I was grateful I remembered to call to confirm babysitting with my friend on Monday.  Another post it note from heaven – I was able to get all four of us ready on time plus, I had extra time to get video of Gavin’s speech before he went to school.  I got Parker and Gwen to my friend’s house in perfect timing.  So perfect in fact that I was 30 minutes early for my endocrinologist appointment!  Huge post it note from heaven was that I was home exactly when I needed to be to get lunch ready and get Parker off to school. 

I have handled raw meat and fed my children well each night, including tonight!  (While the phone has been ringing off the hook!)  We baked cookies together even.  Heath wanted fresh baked cookies for when he got home.  I did not promise to do that and it’s a good thing because there are no fresh cookies.  There are five cookies from Sunday though.  Another post it note from heaven was that the scheduled power outage yesterday afternoon was canceled.  Mondays are long homework days so having adequate light was a good thing.  And the package that required a signature was delivered around 6:30 pm.  I thought I would miss it with how much I had to be gone yesterday. 

Laundry has been washed, folded, and put away.  The downstairs is clean.  The upstairs has been clean each night but as of right now it’s a fire hazard with all the toys littering the floor like a landmine.  I ran errands today except I didn’t know we were out of sour cream or I would have picked that up too. 

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because being a single parent is harder than one would think.  Even if most of the things I have done I usually do on my own.  It makes a difference knowing I was flying without a safety net.  I don’t know how people in unhealthy relationships do it.  It makes me so grateful for the wonderful marriage Heath and I have.  We trust each other and communicate and love each other so much!  Ok, I’m making myself gag now.  Sorry.  I will clean the vomit our of your carpets if you need me to. 

Oh!  And I made him buy me a Diet Coke.  He grabbed a six pack of 16.9 oz. bottles.  My thought process on Saturday night was that I was already miserable anticipating missing him and worrying about him that I would really enjoy a Diet Coke at night.  Do you know what?  I haven’t even touched them!  I would get the kids to bed each night and work on other things or fall asleep trying to indulge in a movie or What Not to Wear.  The Diet Coke never even crossed my mind.  That makes me happy because I have known many a Mormon to be addicted to Diet Coke, aka Mormon alcohol.  I know I like to emotionally drink it thinking it will make a difference but I don’t need it.  I can quit anytime.  Doesn’t that make me sound like an addict?  It’s true though.  If I needed Diet Coke I would buy it for myself whenever the craving hit. 

Anyway, let’s hear it for misery!  Misery really can be a beautiful emotion.  Those madly in love, I’m sure will agree. 

3 thoughts:

Heath Westover said...

Those were miserable days, I just can not seem to sleep when I am in a hotel without Tristan. I am glad to be home safely.

Fulkerson Clan said...

i was totally impressed with all you accomplished as a "single" mom while heath was gone! i could never raise my kids by myself, i've even warned my parents that if anything ever happens to steve, they will find me and my brood on their doorstep. hopefully heath won't have to go out of town again for a long time!

The Piquant Storyteller said...

Thanks Erin. For a while there Heath was going out of town once a month for 2-3 days each time. This trip was after a bit of a break. Hopefully we can have another break. I'm kind of a baby when he's gone!