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Cathy: Oh Well

I’ve been having an odd week or so, and it continues into next week.

Baby C’s 1st birthday is approaching, and nothing seems to be working out to get people together as planned. There is an event conflicting with my planned party date that the couple of baby friends we wanted to invite will be attending. My parents are up before their town zoning board around the same time, trying to split their property so they can keep living in the house we grew up in, so they can’t travel from Connecticut. My aunt-in-law’s son is competing in a statewide math competition on the same day I planned the party, so they’ll be in Richmond instead.

My husband has some kind of lump in his neck that hurts, and he’s been bringing it up to me for well over a week now. He vacillates between thinking it’s cancer or a tooth infection that is swelling a gland to press against his carotid artery, and hurting all the way into his chest. I’m somewhat worried, his mother is worried, but I’ve reached a level of impatience about his not making an appointment to see a doctor about it, which is making me say inappropriately, “Call the doctor, or shut up and die. I‘m tired of your complaining about it to me and not doing something about it!” On one level, I’m trying to be humorous, but I’m worried and annoyed he’s stalling making an appointment.

I also have a few friends facing bad mammos and other tests, setting them up for consultations with surgeons of various types and one whose house just burned down on Friday.

My novel is progressing in fits and starts, and I just want it to end now so I can move onto the next project, or breath between them, or fly a kite or something. I’m getting tired of not being finished with it. It’s been so close for so long.

Spring has officially sprung, but now it’s cold again and seems to want to remain that way just so I can’t get out there to garden. I still haven’t finished that darn room excavation of boy numero dos; and I can’t seem to find baby gates like the ones I used to have ten or so years ago, where the press handle is at the top and you can easily open and reset it with one hand, while holding the baby in the other and don’t need to screw it into the walls or stair rails.

Nothing seems to be going my way, but surprising, I’m calm. I have a very casual attitude about it all. “Oh well’ has become a mantra.

I took a silly facebook quiz: Which of the Seven Deadly Sins Are You – and came up as Sloth. The way the multiple choices were phrased, just struck me that my answers weren’t of the prideful, gluttonous, pornographic, jealous, wrathful or particularly greedy persuasion. If nothing bothering me too terribly much makes me lazy, so be it, but I prefer to think that it shows I’m remarkably well-adjusted in my mid-forties. If all of the above mentioned personal dilemmas going on isn’t fazing me too much, I’d say I’ve reached a milestone in my life. I know in my twenties any one of these would have sent me into dramatic reactions played out before an audience, and if I didn’t have one at hand, I’d go looking for one.

But for now, I press my husband to make an appointment a few times a day. I walk away from the computer to go read or play with the baby or something else entirely rather than sit on facebook with my manuscript open and pestering me on the same screen. Instead of taking everyone else’s conflicting plans around C’s birthday as a personal affront, I just say, “oh well, guess it’ll be lower key than I thought, and now we can do cake on her birthday rather than the weekend before.” S’s room stays messy for another week, and the gardens remain unplanted until the weather warms a bit more. And I feel pretty confident in telling my friends that I’m sure everything will be alright for them, the important thing is they are taking care of what needs to be taken care of and only a cat was lost in the fire — a beloved cat, but not a human loved one.

I’m hoping this sense of everything being okay anyway is grace. I’m taking a page from my friend whose house burnt down. She took it as a harbinger of change to come, rather than dwell on the loss.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Your friend is a wise, brave woman. And I think “Oh, well,” is a good mantra to have–temporarily–but that it’s far wiser still to look for the opportunities and change that every new situation brings us rather than focusing so much on the past and what we did then.

    And I envy you you’re intimate party for baby C. For John’s 1st, we’re having at least 2. And one involves out-of-town guests (from waaaay out of town–Australia) and 2 dozen children, most under the age of 3. I love to entertain but this is bordering on insane!

    And as for your hubby’s neck issue, ave you offered to go with him to the doctor? Tom always wants me around for moral support–even for routine trips to the dentist. Men! 🙂

    March 26, 2009
  2. Cathy #

    i agree brittany. it’s good to watch for how you can change what isn’t working. i feel like for now, i’ve hit a stride where i no longer have to force the changes i want on everyone – for a change!

    yeah, 3rd kid syndrome re: bday party. k’s 1st was an extravaganza, i don’t recall s’s 1st, poor kid, i don’t recall much of his toddlerhood that wasn’t suffering thru the noise of it…she won’t remember it, so might as well make it small and pleasant for us all to enjoy rather than to entertain the masses or get hung up on the no shows.

    dh finally went to dr, got an antibiotic and is supposed to make a dental appt re: an abcess. erg. he won’t. you don’t want to know about the last time he went to the dr and i accompanied! that is a tale for private discussion only! lol!

    March 26, 2009
  3. Cathy #

    i feel you, too, brit, on the 2 doz under 3! last time i did similar i invited k’s whole kindergarten class to bowl, and then some! just try to keep track of 30 5-6yos in a bowlodrome with huge arcade, pool room, etc….

    March 26, 2009
  4. Kristine #

    I’m sorry about your bummer week, Cathy. I know the stress in playing the Big 1 party. My daughter is born in December, which presents some interesting planning challenges.

    I’m not a party planner. I had enough stress this year with just 10 people and 4 kids! I can just imagine what it’s going to be like when she’s older and I have to invite entire classrooms. Yikes!

    I’m glad you’re taking it all in stride. Hope all turns out well with your DH.

    March 26, 2009
  5. Cathy #

    thanks kristine. i think, even with everything seeming to go south, i was alright anyway. i hoped i got that across in the end. maybe i didn’t?

    as for big class bday parties, as a seasoned pro mom for many already, my advice is just their core friends will do at any age!

    March 26, 2009
  6. i’m glad that DH finally went to the doctor. men!

    i like your “oh well” attitude, cathy. best lesson i ever learned was to not to worry (or at least try not to worry) about the things i can’t control. it’s taken me a while but i’m getting there! and like you said about baby c…..she won’t remember a thing about her first birthday. it’s all for the parents, so do what makes you happy! 🙂

    March 27, 2009
  7. Cathy #

    thanks, kelly, yeah, men!

    it is definitely a long tough lesson learned for me, too.

    March 27, 2009
  8. I think “oh well” is the best attitude to have when you’re juggling family and work and writing. Part of you has to be laid back or you’ll go crazy, right? The party will be lovely, no matter how low key it is.

    March 27, 2009
  9. Cathy #

    thanks, kate. we haven’t seen you in a little while!

    March 28, 2009

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