First Posted: 7/2/2013
I know I preach about finding your own happiness all the time. But the truth is, most days, I’m a cranky old bag. The sheer depth of my frown line should convey this to anyone within a foot and half of my person. I think I’m better after my fourth cup of coffee, but prior to that…well, you know that saying: “Don’t poke a sleeping bear?” I would be the bear.
My husband and I were walking to the church bazaar the other night. I was, as usual, whining. I believe it involved how far away he parked. Anyway, I was ranting in my own Maria Heck way, when I fell flat on my face - right smack in front of the church steps.
Remember when you were young and you would fall down like a piano being thrown out a window and your heart would drop to your knees as you shot your little arms out in front of you to break the fall? Then, when everything stopped spinning, your palms and knees were skinned and bloody and all you felt was a pure, dense cloud of humiliation? Yeah, that was me.
As my husband picked me up, it dawned on me - this was a sign from the Big Guy. Maybe he tripped me in front of His house to wake me up! Maybe it was His way of saying: “Be nice! Be patient! Be a better person!”
Or maybe it was just the uneven sidewalk.
However, I chose to take it as a divine symbol that I must change.
My kids tell me I’m irritable all the time. That’s because I actually have rules and boundaries and curfews and crap like that. I’m pretty certain if I let everyone run rampant, they would consider me the perfect mother. The happy mother. The stupid mother. The blind and deaf mother. The disengaged mother. They wish.
I told my husband I was going to attempt to be less cranky. I was going to experiment with happy. He barked his disbelief so loud I wanted to punch him in the neck. But that wouldn’t be a good start to my project, would it? It might very well make me happy, though. But not the right kind of happy. Not as happy, as say, when I hide his golf clubs. That’s freakin’ happy!
Also, I need to add “patience” to my internal motherboard. I’m infinitely impatient. I’m the self-centered Queen Interrupter of The Land of Me. I interrupt everyone with my constant irritable banter, I don’t care who it is - every single person in Pilates, (but mostly my poor, defeated instructor, whom I attempt to distract in order to catch my breath), every patron at the library, my co-workers, my husband who has the same compulsion, so when witnessing a conversation between the two of us it’s like watching Wimbledon. Back, forth. Back, forth, back, headache.
I think I may be too young to be so cantankerous, but life has thrown me a few stinkers and it may be getting the best of me. Sometimes I actually say aloud: “I’m 50. I don’t need to be nice anymore.” But in my soul, I know I must. Because you know how that Karma enjoys coming back around to give me a huge, metaphorical enema every so often. It hurts.
So this was the week I turned my thorny personality around, allowing calmness to reign and be more, you know, joyful - or something like that.
I was absolutely lovely to my children, more patient with the husband unit (although he didn’t notice) and I didn’t even yell at my dog for peeing on my bare foot. Twice.
This was easy. I swallowed my inner witch and inhaled deeply to invoke calmness. Ommmm-mmm….calmmmm. It was working great for awhile. Until my son came home from and I quote, “pretty much the best time of my entire life.” Senior week - or, as I like to call it: “Let’s Get Arrested Week.” I spent the entire seven days praying as he sent photos of his shenanigans. The fact he was on a “party bus” wearing my best sheet as a toga didn’t make me as crazy as it once would have. In fact, I thought it was hilarious.
I didn’t lecture him about the photo of his bloody mouth I saw on Facebook nor the fact he returned my car on empty, filled with water bottles of phlegm, spit and stench. I let it all go. I inhaled. I exhaled. I meditated. I prayed. It was all good.
Then, he walked through the door after a week away from his cranky mother, tanned, smelly, happy, with a spring in his step and…and…an earring in each lobe. Sparkly. Pierced. Earrings.
Keep calm. Carry on. Keep calm. Carry…
This is never going to work.
The Good Lord can trip me as many times as He wants. I will always get up, brush myself off and be the miserable, unfiltered, crotchety old lady I was born to be. I might even be happier this way.
See, I did find happiness!
Now pass me my coffee.