The days have marched on since my eldest moved away to college. I’ve lost track, to be honest. I know it’s been just a week since the youngest has started high school. Of that I’m certain… I think…
Not that it matters, of course. This isn’t about them but about acceptance. Acceptance is a bitch. It’s not something I’ve ever been good with. Perhaps I felt it competed with my own excellent bitch factor, who knows. From my earliest memories, acceptance and I didn’t see eye-to-eye:
What do you mean I had a baby brother and now I don’t? (I recall this moment with perfect clarity. I looked down and watched my tears hit the parquet flooring far, far below. Funny when you’re small the ground is so far away. I was four or five. That was an early age for such an ugly bit of acceptance. I think that’s what made me dislike her so.)
What do you mean we’re moving from New York?
What do you mean we’re taking a Greyhound Bus to California?
What do you mean I can’t take all my Dr. Seuss books?
Oh, sure, the years passed but the hits just kept on coming…
What do you mean Kirk smiled at another girl today?
What do you mean we don’t have any bread? What am I supposed to spread on my bread if I don’t have any bread to spread it on?
What do you mean you were too busy working to pack me a lunch so you’re sending me to school with a box of donuts?
What do you mean we have to learn The Hustle and perform it live in front of the school?
Flash forward. We needn’t go down the all too painful adolescent stages of life. I’m sure you get the picture.
What do you mean you gave away my cat (fish, birds, etc) while I was away at school?
What do you mean we have to go to the desert for Christmas?
What do you mean he likes me?
As I aged (and, boy, have I) my ability to deal with acceptance hasn’t improved. I think I’ve got an unfair disadvantage though. I’m married. I’ve been married for a long, long, long, long time. That’s forced acceptance – an oppressive and archaic form, but a bleak and grim acceptance nonetheless. Sort of like prison without the great allotted times for exercise, art classes, TV viewing on the big screen…
What do you mean you can’t take the baby to the doctor? I’m working!
What do you mean we’re expected to go to your dad’s house for Christmas?
What do you mean your mom didn’t mean it the way it sounded?
What do you mean you shouldn’t have bought that?!
What do you mean you forgot who you were talking to?!
Ah, marriage. Let’s not trip further down this pot-holed memory lane, it will only piss me off. Let’s move on to other fun-filled moments:
What do you mean she’s had a heart attack?
What do you mean she’s had a stroke?
What do you mean she’s in a coma?
What do you mean we have to take her off life support?
What do you mean she has cancer?
What do you mean she’s got lymphoma?
(And one for a certain Englishman) What do you mean you’re ‘trying’?
I’m not good with acceptance, as I said. I haven’t improved with age in that regard. However, those of you who read these posts regularly will be happy to know that I have mellowed in my dotage. Prove it? Well, OK. The painting that had so plagued me lately has been put off to the side. Most likely I will never finish it. The person to whom it was going will never know I had these plans to surprise them with the gift. There. See? It’s not driving me crazy or anything…
In place of that, I’ve turned my eldest’s room into an art studio. After all, he no longer lives here. I can use that space as I will! I’ve begun my largest oil canvas to date: 30″ x 48″. It is the picture from my last blog post – and, for the first time in many years, this painting is just for me. So far, so good.
I won’t describe how being in my son’s room, listening to music he used to play, and sitting on his bed has made me crumble many times in the last few days. I won’t talk about the many tissues I’ve used, or the stuffed animals I’ve dug up just to give a cuddle to. Instead I will say he texted me yesterday with this: “I just saw your exact car and it bummed me out.” It’s nice to know I’m missed!
I hate acceptance. But the days march on and each blow we take we learn to accept (in whatever form we can). In some small part of my mind, I’m sure I’m proud of myself for withstanding this much. It’s either accept it, or give in, and you know I hate giving in.