Going Green

Someone once said if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, water your own lawn. I don’t know who that was.

Saddly I had a conversation with a friend last Saturday who was at the end of her rope. She is a single mom, has two children both on the cusp of teenagerhood, and an exhusband who is constantly telling her how to improve her mothering skills while taking the offhanded approach in parenting. To see her in church you wouldn’t know the tumultous life she leads.

She is a tough girl and puts up with a lot. I love her because she is true. She is generous and kind and works hard at making others feel comfortable. So imagine my surprise when I got a call from her from the highway saying “I don’t know when I will be back.”

My heart ached for her. So much so that sunday it was all I could do to keep from breaking down, but I didn’t. I started to wonder how did it get so bad? How could I not notice? I thought she was just venting when we talked.

Today I had a conversation with a mom in kindergarten who has a son that has kidney problems. She has known the situation since she was 18 weeks pregnant but this friday he is going to the childrens’ hospital to have the surgery. He is 19 months old. She has always been one of the kindest moms asking me how I’m doing, showing great sympathy for my roughness of pregnancy. As I gave her my best wishes for her and her son, I felt guilty that not once in the conversations we have had in the past did I ask her how she was doing.

I’m not trying to be hard on myself for not noticing or being aware. Ever since I have been pregnant (I’m trying not to use that as an excuse) I have been walking around in a fog of self importance. Yes I’ve been puking, yes I have had multiple floods in my appartment, yes we have been helping my parents get their house ready to sell, and yes we had the flu run through our family this last week, but when did I get so self absorbed? I admit like theses other ladies I too haven’t shared my inner most hardships and I can see me sometimes heading down a highway of my own screaming “I can’t take it anymore.” Don’t worry I’m not there yet, at least not today.

We as women often look at others and think they have it all together at the same time thinking we are so not meating the bar. I wouldn’t have known about my friends PPD, if she hadn’t blogged about. We see each other in their tiny little microcosms and think thats how it is. The snapshot at church or school is all we let people see. Its like we are constantly putting on a show for the few hours we see someone, so we don’t have to be real. Why do we do that? Why is it so hard to be real? We know everybody has problems, at least we say we do, but we only let others in to help when our facade is already visually crumbling around us and it will take more that a couple of fingers to hold back the raging flood waters behind the dam. Sometimes even then there is no help and its too late.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’m just typing what I feel. Maybe I’m just asking all to be a little more kind and while you are busy watering your own lawn to make it greener let some of the water trickle on to your neighbours (unless its pool water right karen) lawn. Sometimes thats all they need.

Just an after thought: I may not be able to help my friend somewhere out on the highway but I bet the mom with the little one in sugery could use something, maybe even a meal.


7 thoughts on “Going Green

  1. You are such a wonderful person.

    Now that that’s said, you are so right. I find myself doing this with everyone around me. I walk away after a conversation and realize that I didn’t genuinely ask them how they were doing? I’m ashamed at myself for not being more aware and I hope that I can learn to push harder to help people.

  2. What a great, thought provoking entry. I think I am not totally honest with the world …real…due to a fear of judgement. Maybe this is true for others as well? Your entry puts things into perspective for me as well. Recently I left an email & phone message for a friend (who is going through a separation) apologizing for being so self-absorbed in the last while…and yes I chalk that up to that being pregnant at the time as well. Don’t be too critical of yourself, we all just do the best we can in the moment.

  3. Some of us are just plain self-absorbed, even when not pregnant (yes, I’m totally talking about ME!!). Al, I have never found you to be that way. I loved that after I had Aiden, you called just to talk to me and find out how I was doing, not how the new baby was. You have called me on numerous occasions because you were just thinking of calling to see how I was. You never call and vent to me, but you let me vent like crazy.

    Anyway, I wish I could think about people half as well as you do. And don’t forget that sometimes it’s good to tell on your friends. Thanks for mentioning a needed meal. If I lived north of the border, perhaps I would be able to do something about it! Oh well. Hopefully someone else will be able to do something, too.

    Oh, and if you find yourself ready to head out on that highway, give me a call before you get in the car. I’ll at least join you for the ride. πŸ˜‰

  4. I think we all go through phases – you know that time and season thing. Sometimes we HAVE to take care of ourselves first or we’ll crumble all the faster, and sometimes we have to forget ourselves and get to work.

    And sometimes the lack of sharing is a defense mechansism – it is for me. When we were going through our stuff with Jacob I pretty much hid because talking about it made it even more painful. When I was ready I finally did.

    The appearance thing is a toughy though. I once had a mom tell me in a grocery store that I made handling 4 kids in church easy and I wondered which Sunday she managed not see my wrestling match with my 2 year old ending in my hauling him out kicking and screaming from the chapel. I felt rather baffled and made some witty comment about she should see me at all the other times.

    Now I am rambling, but I think you wrote a wonderful thought provoking post. We definitely all can afford to be a bit kinder and open to the needs of others. πŸ™‚

  5. I think there is a lot to say on this topic…
    I feel like I’ve been on both sides, for sure. I often feel guilty for not extending myself further, because I would have to go outside my ‘comfort zone’ (for lack of a better term). Even though I think it’s important. Maybe even crucial.

    I also would say that I don’t like to let on how ‘real’ things are at times. It’s difficult to let people know that you are in need, or even unhappy. I think we try very hard not to let others know.
    Especially as mothers. I love my kids, but I still want to run screaming from my house at times (lots of times). What kind of mother says that?!

    I would love to have this conversation with a room full of women. Eeek. Sounds like a RS lesson!

  6. Amazingly the pool water went down the neighbour’s driveway this year. I guess because they decided to seed their half of the boulevard, and if they flooded us out as usual, they’d be killing their own new grass.

    But I am straying wildly from the topic at hand. It’s often easier to look inwards rather than outwards, and a certain amount of self-absorption can be forgiven, as long as it’s not malicious (as in, “I don’t care about YOU because you are beneath my notice). Every once in a while though, we need these moments where we recalibrate. Your post is a good reminder.

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