Saturday, October 29, 2011

Brave Face

Today is my husband’s birthday! And he is in Macau...

We miss him terribly today, and even with our iChat videos we can’t manage to really connect and make him feel close to us. The internet is amazing, but sometimes a rough connection can make us so frustrated that it would almost be better not to talk at all. Henry is having a rough day, very clingy, and the weather is miserable so we can’t get outside and run around. All in all, it’s not a very fun day.

Or wasn’t, I should say. I started this post at naptime, and the first half of the day was really hard. But, as is often the case, if I set my mind to it, naptime was a bit of a reset, and we ended up having a really fun afternoon. We made pumpkin bread, Henry helping dump in the ingredients; we bundled up and shoveled a little snow; we watched most of Monsters, Inc. in several 20-minute segments. I’m waiting now for Matt to wake up on the other side of the world and praying for a better connection this time. It would be nice to see him smile on his birthday.

Days like this are hard. And sometimes I wonder if I make them harder by not grinning-and-bearing-it better. By not putting on a brave face. I felt awful that I couldn’t fake a smile for Matt this morning. But these days I am a terrible faker! When my first marriage ended, I told myself that I was through with faking it. Years of hiding my unhappiness and anger didn’t exactly serve me well, so I just said enough was enough. And until now, it has worked.

But now that I’m a mom, I wonder: Do I need to learn how to fake it again? To put on a brave face? Henry is a very sensitive boy, and while I never want to lie to him or present a dishonest picture of myself, does he really need to see how stressed and upset I am? Does Matt? Do my friends? My colleagues? Who really needs that information? Is there a way to maintain my honest living and not make everyone around me as miserable as I am??

I’m laughing a bit as I write this, because in this moment I am not miserable. Tired, yes, but not miserable by far. But I’ve been thinking about this this afternoon. How did I change things around for us today? I think I just gave over to what was happening, to the day that was unfolding. A day we can’t get outside is a day that Henry will need a lot of holding, lots of reading and lap time, lots of convincing that he is really tired and needs a nap. (Two out of three of those are really not bad at all...) So this afternoon we just did those things. And it was fine. I gave up on getting to the laundromat (in the snow?? what was I thinking, anyway?), gave up on getting any studying done (sometimes I can while he’s awake), and just gave over.

There is something to be said for that at work, too. Accepting your fate and just deciding to make the best of it. I guess that’s different than putting on a brave face, though, isn’t it? It’s not faking it. What is it? Making lemonade? Accepting? Giving over?

Maybe it’s just living the life you have and not the life you wish you had. I like that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, girl, I am so with you. The things our babes can teach us when we let them... You have written about it here so simply and beautifully (as always).

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