Joyce was right...there really is a battle going on in our minds. It's a battle between how we feel and what we know, a raging battle with casualties and more losses than victories.
Right now, bogged down with large amount of antibiotics, chemical sprays and anti-cough medicine that makes me drunk, I'm in a really weakened state. And in this state I'm vulnerable.
My husband left for work early this morning and so being in the throws of my infections and bronchitis, I tried bravely to get everyone off to school. I don't know what I imagined I would find when I came downstairs, I mean it's not like my family has ever bothered to clean up after themselves but I sat them down and told them that I was very sick, that the doctor wanted me to take a few days and recover, that the reason it got so bad was that I've been sick for over two months now and not being able to take a break has made it worse and it would help if they were helpful.
I thought it sunk in but apparrently not.
I haven't been able to smell anything in days but even I was overcome by the stench coming from the sink; curdled milk, rancid garlic stuck to a press, soggy taco meat. It was overflowing. There was water all over the counter, spilled fruit punch that stained everything pink and crumbs that were so plentiful it made the floor feel like I was standing on the beach.
Thankfully, my oldest was super helpful and assisted in making the school lunches. That made a huge difference. My husband tried to help last night by having the kids lay out their clothes for this morning but our youngest, the fashionista extraordinaire, changed her mind this morning and there we went, fishing through her closet for just the right outfit.
Here is where the battle begins. There is a huge part of me that wants to get angry over this disgusting house. I think to myself, "you know, this is why I rarely take the time to get sick in the first place, why I push through the agony of sinus infections and stomach flus...because I don't have the luxury of it, that in the midst of my vomiting, someone will approach me with a shirt to iron or ask me to make them a grilled cheese sandwich.
My husband knew that I wasn't feeling well but he spent most of his time shoveling the driveway and sidewalk and left me to deal with the kids. He sulked when I asked him to go to the supermarket. He would never admit to that as he deals in the passive aggressive, a tricky kind of aggressive that gives him the ability to hind behind his not ever having said anything.
"Did I complain about it?" he'll point out? "No. No, you didn't. But if your body language were audible it would have said something like, "why the hell do I have to do everything around here!"
"His body language is kind of a drama queen", says devil on my shoulder.
But the angel on the other side is quick to point out that he did lots of things right, too. He spent hours in the freezing cold this week and lets face it, that's a pretty horrible job! He did many things to be helpful; he made tacos, he brought me water when I needed it so that I wouldn't have to get up, he put the kids to bed, he did go to the store without complaining and from his standpoint, did everything he could to help me. He tried his very best.
"But those are the excuses you always make for him," says the little devil. "remember, he's expected you to bounce right back from everything, even when you had new babies. He never believes you when you are feeling sick. He didn't even believe you when you said you were in labor with Maryn! And remember that time that your back gave out and you couldn't move for 3 days? You overheard him tell someone that he thought you were making it up! It was one of the most painful three days of your life and he didn't even believe you!"
"You're picking apart your blessings," says the angel on the other shoulder. "You have a husband who loves you very much, tries every day to make your life better and who is loyal and caring and a good father. He does way more right than he ever does wrong. Is he flawed? Absolutely! But don't forget about all your own flaws that he constantly overlooks. You have it so good! What about the widows who have to do it alone? What about the women whose husbands don't try at all? Don't ruin your blessings by focusing on what you don't like about them, you complain about your healthy body because it's too fat, you complain about your wonderful kids because they bring with them special challenges, you're bitter about your gorgeous house because it's a lot to maintain. You're like a treasure hunter who uses a golden compass to find his way to a chest full of gold. You're so busy looking for something better that you forget what you're already holding in your hands!"
And with that I flick the devil from my shoulder...and start washing the dishes.