Wednesday, September 7, 2011
I Am A Real Pain-in-the A**!
I never realized what a pain in the ass I am to live with--until now!
I am a single girl. I live alone. For the past four years I've been basking in the silence and enjoying the luxury of my own space. I do what I want....when I want. I answer to no one. I can spend all day at the beach because there's nobody waiting for me to come home. Okay, I have a cat but all he ever does is eat and sleep. As long as his food and water bowls are full, it's all good.
I don't need to cook. I can have soup or cheese, crackers and wine for supper. Or nothing at all. How refreshing after years of juggling a husband, a son, work, school, cleaning, shopping and preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. If I don't have time to shop or cook, I can order take-out. No one ever whines: " Oh no! Not CHINESE again!"
I try to keep things nice and orderly. My house is so small. A few items out of place makes it look cluttered so I have to be disciplined about putting stuff away. I have my home organized and decorated to suit my taste. I can put things just where I want them and nobody is around to move them or complain. I have ten pillows on my bed- some covered with shams to match my comforter and some decorative pillows. It's just me climbing beneath the covers at night so I just push all those pillows aside or toss them on the floor. Next morning, I make the bed and arrange them again. It's not a big deal. I like how it looks. Same with the couch. Only I sit on it, so again, plenty of pillows- six color-coordinated, strategically placed pillows. On my coffee table, I have a big basket filled with my favorite books. And there's the a candle in a tall bronze candle holder. I light the candle every night. These things never obstruct my view of the television. My little personal touches make the living room warm and cozy. I have everything exactly how I want it.
My LIFE is exactly how I want it-- at least for right now........
A week ago, it all changed.
Enter my twenty-two year old son. He originally left home at eighteen. Once he got a job and a car, that was it. He wanted to be on his own. He just moved back in. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE having him here. I missed my little boy. But he is not so little. He's 6'4" and about 230 lbs. That's big. When he stretches out on my couch, there's not much room left for me. The back bedroom I recently converted to an office is now a bedroom again. He needs his own space so now I do all my work at the kitchen table. A small sacrifice. Thankfully I have the extra space or my son would have no place else to go.
Since he's been here, a few things have happened. A wicker shelf I've had hanging over the toilet in the bathroom for years has fallen off the wall three times in the past week. I store my skin care products and other toiletries on that shelf. Someone keeps forgetting to put the toilet seat down. The cat has fallen in the bowl twice already. And when the shelf falls off the wall, guess what happens to all my little bottles and jars. Hundreds of dollars worth of face cream down the toilet- LITERALLY!
All those pillows on my couch? Thrown on the floor. Not gently removed or piled up neatly someplace else. Thrown-- in frustration. I keep picking them up, putting them back and my son keeps tossing them off again. "Ma, you have too many pillows! There's no room to sit!" After listening to my son complain for the 20th time about all my pillows, I snapped back at him. " There's plenty of room for me!"
So far, I've tripped over his work boots in the middle of the living room more times than I can count. His backpack (that's been dragged on and off the train and up and down the streets of the city) and dirty work sweat-shirt are tossed on my white - yes, WHITE- chair near the door the minute he comes home every night. He ate pizza on my brand-new couch (thankfully, not white) and the other day he fell asleep with a beverage in his hand. The big basket of books on the coffee table has been removed. The candle holder, too. Apparently, they block his television viewing pleasure. Well, son, if you sat UP to watch TV, you would be able to see perfectly! Personally, I never lay on the couch. I sit. And I alternate the spots on which I sit. If the cushions are going to sag I want them to sag evenly. I know this sounds crazy but I love my new couch. I paid good money for it and I don't want to it to get all worn-out and lop-sided.
My sink is filled with dishes because my child is an eating machine. Every time he eats, he takes a different dish rather than wash the one he just used. He asked about paper plates but of course those are a no-no in my house. I would rather wash dishes more often than be responsible for killing another tree.
He needs to save money so I suggested he bring lunch to work rather than buy it every day . Then I realized I don't have anything to prepare for him to actually bring for lunch. I sent him to work today with the rest of the mac and cheese he had for dinner the other night but with his appetite, I don't anticipate a whole lot of left-overs. He likes turkey breast on a roll with mustard and mayo. So now my fridge and pantry is stocked with cold cuts, bread, rolls, cookies, chips- all the things he likes. I never keep that kind of food in my house. And now I have to think about what to make for dinner every night, because my boy comes home starving!
The kid gets up at 4AM every morning to catch the train to Penn. I've been waking up at the same time to make sure he's up. I don't know how he managed before but I did hear rumors about him being late for work quite a few times. That's not good. I serve him coffee every morning and off he goes with the lunch I prepared the night before. I am an early riser but this 4AM business is kind of tough because once I am up, I'm up. There's no way I can ever slip back under the covers for an extra hour or two. So I get busy and manage to put in almost an entire day's work before most people even open their eyes. At the end of the day, I am worn-out. Last night I was in bed by 10 o'clock. I woke up at 2AM. Every light in the house was on. The television was still on. My son was in his room, fast asleep. Later on today, we are going to set up a few house-rules.
My perfect, peaceful life and orderly home have been turned upside down. I clean up messes that are not mine, relinquished control of the television remote and I am constantly rearranging all my stuff. I even have to put on a bra first thing in the morning now. My son has upset the delicate balance of my little world just a little. When you're accustomed to having everything exactly how you want it--adding another person to the mix can be a bit of an inconvenience.
This morning I scurried about fluffing pillows, cleaning up little messes, taking inventory of the toilet water-logged face creams I now need to replace and picking laundry up from the floor and putting in the hamper (where it belongs). Then, it hit me. I am a real obsessive-compulsive, pain-in-the-ass! I am selfish and I want things my way. I am so bent on creating and maintaining a haven for myself that I forgot that my child needs a haven right now even more than I do. I won't go into details, but he's broken and needs to heal. My nagging, fussing and following behind him with the vacuum cleaner isn't helping. I certainly don't want to make him feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. I need really need to lighten up a bit. What is the purpose of having a lovely haven if no one else is able to reap the benefits?
I am so happy to have my son here and truth be told, I enjoy the company. It feels good to have someone depending on me again. He needs to be spoiled in the ways that only a mama can spoil a child. I am doing his laundry, folding it and putting it away. We watch movies together at night, play Scrabble, or sit around talking. He needs to talk so I just listen. I am cooking all his favorite dishes and he's loving it. Last night I made him strawberry short cake. Tonight it's Penne with Vodka Sauce. I'll probably gain twenty pounds with him living here, but it's so nice to see my boy smile.
I think I will just suck it up and wash dishes a little more often, wipe up the whiskers in the sink, secure that wicker shelf in the bathroom with stronger hooks, and keep arranging and re-arranging my pillows. I won't complain, shake my head or roll my eyes. If my couch begins to sag unevenly, I will deal with it. It's just a piece of furniture. It can be camouflaged, covered or replaced. The body, heart and soul of my child are irreplaceable.
I have worked very hard to create an atmosphere of warmth, peace and love- in my home and in my life. It is vital that I keep it that way. But, honestly, what's the point of it all if I am possessive, selfish and uptight? It's meaningless if I am not willing to share............
And this is my Daily Cyn......