Rhymes With Fuchsia

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Beyond My Control

I had every intention of going to Cummington this weekend. Having arranged rides to and fro and a place to stay on Saturday night, I packed on Friday night and got up at an ungodly hour Saturday morning to feed Taz, take a quick shower, and begin the adventure.

To discover that not only had Taz pulled out his feeding tube, something he's been doing way too much lately, but he'd broken the water balloon that holds it in place, and we didn't have a backup. Grant got the broken one back in somehow, and we faced the prospect of tracking down a replacement during a holiday weekend and/or standing constant guard over Taz to make sure he didn't pull the tube again. Only a scumball could leave her beloved spouse to deal with that by himself, so I didn't. (Things turned out OK: he did pull it out Saturday night, but by then we had acquired a spare.)

(Replacing a feeding tube is somewhat like changing an earring: you put it into a hole that connects the stomach with the outside world, then insert a syringe into a port and fill the water balloon with about a teaspoon of water. The balloon acts like a post while you're inserting the tube and like an earring back once it's filled. The whole process is very easy and quick to do, unless the balloon is ruptured. Imagine trying to insert an earring that has the consistency of cooked pasta. I really don't know how Grant did it.)

Thus did the universe whack me over the head yet again with the message: you are not in control, and any plans you may have are subject to change without notice. Living with this fact is probably the single biggest challenge of parenting — or of life, for that matter, but when you're a parent it gets in your face much more often.

People deal with this challenge in myriad ways, of which the most popular seem to be religion, denial, and/or OCD. Any sort of organized religion is out for me, and I do OCD very badly (as anyone who has seen my house can attest), although it does come out in my knitting. I think it accounts for my extreme difficulty with knitting other people's patterns and my general preference for solid-colored yarn. I will decide what I want the pattern to do and when to change colors, thanks just the same. It may also explain why I get 13 stitches to the inch in Trekking and about six in worsted weight.

If only I could follow a short list of rules, it's tempting to believe, I could get back in control. I could practice the seven habits of highly effective people, or take eight steps to financial freedom, or learn five never-fail ways of conquering clutter. The desire to reduce everything to a manageable, a controllable formula has made lots of people lots of money, but for me, anyway, it turns out not to be so simple.

So I go for denial: not noticing how other people's worlds expand as their kids get bigger, not imagining Taz playing catch with the two brothers who live across the street, not remembering that he's almost exactly the same age as the twins who mow our lawn, not envying my friends while admiring their pix of family trips. Not thinking too much about, well, much of anything, except dealing with today, and not planning too far ahead, because you never know.

I have a horrible suspicion that all this not-thinking is stunting my brain somehow, and, worse, all the not-feeling is shrinking my heart. I fear I'm less of a mom, wife, friend, human than I should be. This is not new, and I try to look up from the straight path once in a while, to realize it's not all about me, to remember the rest of the world and try to brighten it a bit. But I know I could do better.

I did finish a Dulaan hat this weekend, and I started a pair of Magic 28 socks. And we went to the town parade, which we'd never done before. I don't have time to upload pictures now, but in penance for the whiny post I leave you with yet another tree-in-bloom shot.


Tomorrow, I think I'll talk about knitting.

21 Comments:

  • Hi Lucia,

    Thanks for your post(even if it is making me tear up at my desk!). I have an 8 yo son with mental illness and I recognize that feeling of life jumping up and slapping you! Knitting and Law & Order dvds are my drugs of choice. I enjoy your blog for all kinds of reasons. I usually just lurk but your post brought me out of hiding in Watertown MA.

    Roxanne

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:15 AM  

  • Oh Dear Heart, between your health and Taz's, you have about twice more than your share of trouble. Life IS out of our control, but you get it shoved in your face a lot more often. You are a brave, loving mother, wife, friend, and I don't see your brain atrophying one little bit. As for feeling less, just because a guitarist gets calluses on his fingertips to protect him from the daily abuse, that doesn't mean the rest of his skin has become insensitive. It's ok to build a few calluses.

    Is there anything I can do to help?

    By Blogger Roxie, at 9:41 AM  

  • Hi!
    I got to your blog via Claudia's one, and I dont know exactly how is our life, but please, dont say you're not enough a mom, a wife, etc...With all the things that seam to have happenned to you,it turns out that you do more and better than many people! It's a tendency to feel that way when you are inside the problems : you think you dont do enough, but someone from outside will see the contrary! And I know the power of knitting when you're in trouble!
    Courage!

    By Anonymous Jocelyne, at 1:12 PM  

  • You are a terrific human being with more compassion than many, don't ever forget that. I'm sorry you have daily struggles and I wish I could ease your burden.

    By Blogger Carole Knits, at 1:24 PM  

  • I think that out of control bit was the definitely the hardest part of parenting to adapt to and you're having more than your fair share. It's great to hear some venting now and then. I, for one, am never forward enough to ask questions but it doesn't mean I'm not interested and at least now I'll be a slightly more informed listener. We appreciate what you have to give all the more knowing how much of your precious resources are tapped already. The bread making lesson offer still stands for my house or yours though obviously I can't do it til I'm a bit more recovered. So sorry to hear you missed Cummington. Perhaps next year we can both make it!

    By Blogger Julie, at 3:33 PM  

  • I see no signs of Life stunting your brain or hardening your heart ... in fact, I'd say that you have a very pronounced empathy bump. You didn't go to Cummington, did you?

    You're doing fine, sweetie. All any of us can do is to keep on keeping on.

    By Blogger Ruth, at 3:38 PM  

  • out of control you say... I think that is a standard state of parenthood. Sorry to hear you didn't get to Cummington, but there is alway the Harlot field trip and Fiber Frolic coming up. Don't be so hard on yourself! You are a wonderful mom and a great friend. We love you!

    By Anonymous Lynne, at 3:40 PM  

  • We missed you this weekend, because you're a wonderful friend with a not-shrunken-at-all heart and you're a joy to be around.

    By Blogger Cheryl, at 3:45 PM  

  • Roxie said it so well, I don't know what I can add except: every single day you deal with the sort of problems I don't think I could handle *at all*, and yet most of the time you manage to do it with grace and good humor. It's amazing to me, frankly.

    You don't sound like someone in denial at all. It's a very hard job you've got, and it's okay to acknowledge that, as you've just done.

    By Anonymous Beth S., at 4:08 PM  

  • Yikes, poor you. You definitely shouldn't feel that you're less or a wife, mother, etc. You do all you can and that's the best you can do.

    By Blogger WandaWoman, at 4:50 PM  

  • The truth is that few of us have control over our lives...we just delude ourselves into thinking we do. You have more than your fair share of problems and you handle it, deal with it in many creative ways. Just remember your friends are here and we gladly listen when it all gets to be a bit too much. It's OK to whine (just don't make a constant habit of it, K?) ;-)

    By Blogger Margene, at 5:07 PM  

  • You know what, honey? We're all a little less than we hoped at times. And we're all way more than should be humanly possible at others. I've noticed a lot more of the second in you than the first. But vent away anyway -- we've got your back.

    By Blogger Annie, at 7:49 PM  

  • I'm sorry you had to give up something that you were looking forward to.

    I admire your courage and your strength. I wish I could give you a big hug.

    By Blogger Nicole, at 8:18 PM  

  • I think you are doing a really good job over there... stuff happens and you are able to roll with the punches better than most. Others would be laid out but you just keep going. This makes you More of a Mother-Wife-Friend and a Better Mother-Wife-Friend. Just Keep Knitting.
    high 5's from over here

    By Blogger RC, at 10:16 PM  

  • Ah, L... my dear, you are such a good soul. I knew it the minute I met you in "real life" and wanted to hug you. Taz is a lucky boy and while you may not prescribe to any organized religion, I do believe that we are never given more than we can handle.

    I didn't make it to Cummington either... but for a nice family trip: we went to the Roger Williams Zoo in RI--- the animals were great and yes. I saw a sheep.

    By Blogger Mini, at 7:59 AM  

  • Though I'm sure it never seems that way when you're in the midst of something, you are managing admirably and doing a wonderful job as a mother, wife and friend. Life is keeping you on your toes, surely, but you are dancing on those toes.

    By Blogger Jena the yarn harpy, at 9:51 AM  

  • Lucia,

    I've lurked for some time - you are doing a fabulous job of dealing with it all. As Mini said, "we are never given more than we can handle", although I have to admit I've wondered at times (maybe you have, too?) why God thinks I can handle so much...

    By Anonymous Chris H, at 4:04 PM  

  • I'm not up to speed on all of the details of your life, but I would say that it's completely reasonable to want a little of yourself to yourself now and again. Not turning your back on the struggle is what makes us human. I would say that intermissions, though, are an excellent idea.

    By Anonymous Suzanne, at 9:00 PM  

  • You have much more than most, and handle it with grace. Whatever it takes to cope is what it takes, and should not be fuel for self-recrim.

    By Anonymous Laurie, at 8:06 PM  

  • Dear Lucia,
    Take heart - there are many of us out here who feel life is running out of control, and many of us have far fewer responsibilities and worries than you do. You are a strong, caring, loving person, mother and partner from what I've read.

    Once when I was very down, I came up with a set of rules for living (and damn me if I didn't find a Fay Weldon book in the library some years later called just that - Rules for Living (or similar name) - AND the rules were pretty much MY rules - so that shows you have universal these feelings are ... either that, or Fay Weldon was reading my mail, as Johnny Cash once sang... anyway, Rule No. 1 was/is "always be glad life is only as bad as it is, because it ALWAYS could be worse"; Rule 2: "Just when you get comfortable and let down your guard, Life jumps up and bites you on the bum" (or pulls a feeding tube out or ...so it goes).

    I like Roxie's wise words too - it's ok to build a few callouses - good grief, we wouldn't survive without them.

    Keep knitting - it is a form of spiritual renewal, and gives you the opportunity to take time out for yourself in the company of friends.

    By Blogger Grandma Flea, at 2:28 AM  

  • i'm sorry i missed this. thanks for poking me just now.

    By Blogger maryse, at 2:07 PM  

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