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Stoic

December 16, 2009

I went away, because I had to fulfill various duties pertaining to family and moneymaking, and now I’m back, and I was so het up about the little five-day trip I had to take that I completely repressed the fact that we are now perilously close to Christmas. I’d love to phone the whole thing in, but here’s the rub–when you have a seven-year old, you can’t. So I’m forcing myself to perform ritual after cheerful ritual, and if Epictetus were alive, I’d love to ask him just HOW LONG until Right Action produces Right Thought? At what point will my feigned enthusiasm morph into the real thing? We’re on day three of Faux Cheer, and I have to put the lights on the tree before the kids get home from school. I always put the lights on the tree, so it’s not as if I’m shouldering more than my share of the holiday burden this year. It’s not even my first Christmas alone–that was last year, when some combination of terror and adrenaline got me through the holidays. (I’m guessing. Truth is, I don’t really remember.) My present low spirits must therefore come from some kind of sophomore slump.

My ex-husband picked me up at the airport (high road: I was grateful, and the kids were happy. Low road: he popped the trunk and didn’t get out to offer help w/ my huge suitcase, even though I had thrown my back out somehow and was hobbling like a cripple. Happy ending: the thirteen-year old hopped out to help without being asked. Good boy.) He dropped the kids and me off, and I must confess that coming home to my freezing, dark house (which seemed much messier than when I’d left) on a Monday night, with nothing in the refrigerator for supper or breakfast, and a couple of wild children running amok, was a downer. I wanted someone to make me a lovely omelette for supper, fetch me a cup of tea, ask me how my trip was, and herd the children off to bed while I read a magazine with my feet up.

This would probably not have happened even if I had five husbands, each more considerate than the last, but still. The exhilaration of piloting your own ship can easily give way to exhaustion. The kids punched each other and yelled and said it wasn’t their fault and jumped on the furniture. I had a headache. My flight had been late. My back hurt. And there wasn’t even anyone around I could complain to.

I’d been visiting my mother, and seen a bunch of relatives, most of whom were nonplussed by my divorce. This pissed me off in an obscure way. “How come nobody’s asking how I’m holding up, or even saying anything particularly NICE to me?” I whined to my mother one night. She smiled. “No one in our family ever thinks you need help, or even sympathy,” she said. “They don’t think, Oh, poor thing, she’s had a rough few years. They think, Well, she left her husband, and she has a boyfriend now, so she must be happy. She’s ALWAYS happy.

Competent Action producing Competent Thoughts–at least, in other peoples’ heads. Epictetus would be proud.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 21, 2010 7:18 pm

    Heh heh – I remember that meme about needing 4 or 5 men: The Great Lover, the Financial Provider, the Loving Understanding one, Mr Fixer-upper… & then being certain none of these men met the others!

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