It’s amazing how much of your life you can put on hold at once. I put everything on hold when my classes started in September, and you won’t believe how clean my house is now that I’m no longer doing so much math homework that my hands are going numb. I normally try to post an entry about what I am thankful for around Thanksgiving. This year, my thankfulness begins on a sour note, but ends on a positive one. This is going to come across as bitter and mean at first, but I don’t intend for it to be. I just have a knack for expressing my emotions in the worst way possible. I apologize for that, but the end result is positive and wonderful and light. I promise.
I know that I’m being criticized behind my back for not getting the housework done, for putting all of this additional stress on my husband, and not going out to get a part time job. I know it, and it has affected my marriage to the point where I cannot talk about my school work with my husband because it just wears him down. Those people who are being critical of me are not people who have ever been in my specific circumstance. I don’t know anyone who’s trying to raise two pre-teenage children, one with ADHD, maintain four fish tanks, take care of a chronically ill dog, a chronically ill cat, be a supportive wife to a husband with ADHD and mother, clean a six bedroom house and go to college full time. This is not to say that I am balancing all of these tasks perfectly. I’m not, and if I told you that I was then you can feel confident that I’ve lied. I don’t believe that anyone can balance all of these things perfectly. But I’m trying to do it. I think if you checked your rosters, you’d realize you probably don’t know anyone like that except me. My circumstance is unique, my life experience is unique. It’s one thing to identify with a similar experience, it’s quite another to say that you’ve been there.
I find it amusing that many of us, myself included, look at the experiences of others and say to ourselves and perhaps even to them, “Oh well I’ve been to college.” or “I’ve raised children, so I know what you are going through.” None of us can truly say that we’ve been in someone else’s shoes. All we can say is, “Well when I went through a similar circumstance, I did this.” Which is all well and good. We want to help. It is in our nature to want to help others, particularly those we care for. We do this, because it pains us to see our loved ones in pain. It hurts to watch them suffer and in our efforts to ease their pain, we often forget that they should be left to make their own mistakes from time to time, even though this is the advice we would give them as it pertained to their kids.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
That’s one of the few quotes that I find myself repeating often. My good intentions have hurt people that I care about to the point where some of them don’t even bother talking to me anymore. I miss those friendships, but I also believe that people who don’t, can’t or won’t realize that I meant well, that I wanted to help and did not mean to harm probably are not my friends. So.. when I think about those people who have been critical of me over the last three months, even though I am bitter over the absolute plethora of arguments they have caused between my husband and I, I know in my heart that they merely wanted to help because they wanted what was best for us. The execution was bad, but the intentions and feeling were sound and that means a lot. I’ll get over being bitter, and the arguments have already faded, but I will never forget how much they cared.
This year, I’m thankful for good intentions and well-meaning friends and family who put their concerns for us at the top of their list. Knowing that others care about you so much that they are willing to risk screwing it up to express their concerns is one of the most heart-warming and touching things you can have.
I hope that you found something as precious to be thankful for on your Turkey Day this year.