Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Because A Nasty Head Cold Just Isn't Enough...

So, I'm still living with the exploding head thing I've had going on for days. But, that misery and the sleepless nights it brings with it apparently aren't enough for me. We've decided to add on a few things for extra fun.

Lice, anyone? Sure, we'll take 'em. And, don't just leave them for Lambchop #1 this time. Give me a few, too. I don't remember if I mentioned my daughter brought home her very first set of head parasites a few weeks ago. Someone from school apparently wanted to share with her. Sweet, right? So, I got rid of them - or so I thought. It's been a little while, and I thought the amount of time they say it takes for the eggs to hatch had passed. Looks like I was wrong in my calculations, though. Yesterday, while combing her hair, I found a few eggs. A second, third and fourth pass through her hair with a special lice comb revealed some live critters and a few more eggs. Not too many, though, which was a relief. I did the customary check of the family and found everyone to be lice-free, except for me. I only had a few eggs and lice, but this means changing all the beds and vacuuming everything unexpectedly, not to mention the fun of frequent head combings.

So, lice on top of a head cold... is that enough? Can we leave her alone yet? Perhaps we should really pile it on thick with a gastrointestinal virus. What do you say? That's been going around. It's doable. Yeah, I had a grumpy tummy last night. It wasn't too bad, and I'm hoping it'll stay that way, but I think I've had my fair share, now. Don't you.

And, lately, I've noticed that the lives of those around me are so full of bad news (things that make my little health problems seem like nothing). A week or two ago, my ex informed me that his father has prostate cancer. This is one of the kindest, gentlest men you could ever hope to know, and it makes me so sad for him and their family. To make matters worse, you'd also be hard-pressed to find a person more fearful of medical intervention. So, I think frequently of them and their troubles, hoping he can beat both the fear and the cancer.

Then, a few days ago my uncle passed away. I've hesitated to mention it here, because I have such mixed feelings about it. He was a life-time alcoholic. Circumstances in his youth led him to a life of drinking he was never able to stop. It was a sad waste of a promising life, because, by all accounts, he was an intelligent man who was very skilled with his hands. About his personality, I can say nothing, because I did not know him well. I'm not sure anyone did after the changes alcohol comsumption made to him. At the same time, though, a family member has been lost, and he will be mourned. We are all just very relieved that he went in a painless, quiet manner, since there are so many things a severely abused body can do to itself. He did not suffer in death, and for that we are all thankful. One can only assume that this has put an end to a life of hurt and troubles, and for him I don't think that is a bad thing.

Last night, after having processed the news of my uncle's recent death, we heard that one of my husband's closest friends from his youth is having troubles with his girlfriend. It's not the sort of troubles anyone would ever think of, and you certainly wouldn't wish them on anyone. Apparently, she had experienced some amount of loss of balance. After what I can only assume was a battery of tests, they concluded she had a brain tumor that needed to be removed. She underwent the surgery a month ago, and upon awakening had lost many of the functions we take for granted in our lives. She could no longer even speak. I do not know her well, but I have met her several times. She seemed like a nice enough person, but even a not-so-nice one should never have to go through such an ordeal. I cannot imagine the fear that she would have if she were fully aware of her surroundings but unable to move or communicate. It would have to be one of life's worst possible nightmares. So, I think of them, too. We've tried to get news, since it's possible some changes have occurred in the month since her surgery, but since we only learned of it yesterday, we are still waiting. I can only hope things have improved since.

All of these tragedies in the lives of people I know have really made me contemplative lately. I'm sure the hormones that accompany pregnancy have amplified my reaction, to some extent. I've realized, though, that the life I live now is exactly where I want it to be. I see people around me who work hard for money that is used to better their lifestyle. They own large homes, nice cars, maybe even a second home and take great vacations. That, of course, is their choice, but they have so little time to spend with their children and other loved ones. I fear that someday, they will regret this. Watching it all makes me happy that I have chosen a different route.

Years ago, despite having little idea of exactly what I wanted to do with my life, I would have told you I wanted a challenging, fulfilling career. You may have heard me laugh had you told me I would later throw in the towel partway through a PhD dissertation in favor of dedicating myself fully to a life at home with my family. Not so, now. I won't deny there are stressful moments. There may even be a few when I doubt my sanity. Overall, though, staying home with my children and husband and being available to them is the most fulfilling career I could have imagined. I am happy to have realized this.

I think so many women stay home with their children out of a sense of duty. This turns them into martyrs, in a sense, and later, there is always some amount of regret. I just want to be here to watch them grow and learn. I want to be a part of the process that takes them to the people the will become. Ultimately, so much of that lies in their own hands, but watching the children of those around me, I've realized that they seem to do it best with a parent always close by for comfort and occasional guidance. It has become so important to me, lately, to be here for that. So, we are most likely never going to be wealthy, but it isn't even a sacrifice to me if our home is a happy one. Ultimately, for me it will have been more fulfilling than any job outside the home. I can find plenty of ways to occupy myself so that I don't get lost in there somewhere. So, I don't fear becoming one of those moms who lives only through her children. I'm just so fascinated by them that I don't want to miss a thing. And, I'm happy to have realized this so soon.

These are my thoughts these days. I apologize if you were hoping for that knitting picture. I haven't had the chance to charge the camera batteries. You'll have to come back for that some other day. I'm sure I'll have happier thoughts for you then, too. Until then, cherish those that are dear to you, whether they be children, parents, siblings, friends or a significant other. They are what make life worth living. Spending time with them is the way to live it.