(Read how I attempt to answer a common but difficult question about Mormons at Mormon Women: Who We Are.)
I must say living with three clinically depressed people makes being cheerful a bit of a challenge. This is why I asked you for ideas and I appreciate every single one. However, this is the part where I have to confess--I set you up. All of the things I suggested in my post as ways to beat the blues (and many of the ones you all suggested) are ones I can’t participate in for one reason or another.
Due to the combined mood disorders of our offspring and the Little Guy’s vulnerable lack of size, the Spouse and I have been unable to leave the house without any of our children but a handful of times in the past three years. (I'll bet you're wondering what this has to do with decor, French country or otherwise. Don't worry, I'm getting there . . .)
For the same reasons, we haven’t spent the night away from all three of our darlings since I was expecting our 15 year old.
I can eat what I want but not only do I pay for it in extra pounds and sugar crashes, I experience a great deal of pain when I eat comfort food because of the problem I have with wheat. (I ask you, what’s comforting about that?).
I have a shower but I think the hot fudge sundae wouldn’t hold up very well in the downpour.
Family vacations? Well, let’s just say I’m so glad we took the two or three of them we did when we had the chance. It’s been a few years but I’m hoping to live on the memories for as long as possible.
And girl friends—I’m afraid that I’m too gun shy for many of those. I might be able to keep up my end of the relationship bargain for a while, but then something will happen--I’ll have a fibro flare or one of my loved ones will become dangerously depressed or I’ll be worn out from every day living and I’ll retreat for a while to refuel. When I have something to give, anything at all, whether it be time or talent or energy or friendship or money or encouragement or whatever, I share it pronto b/c it feels so good to have my personal resources go to anyone who lives outside the walls of my home. But, when things get hairy around here, I have to retrench, reform and renege on my relationship obligations (much as I have done with blogging—notice I haven’t been to yours in ages?) and that’s just plain painful.
If you think that’s sad, check this out. I can’t read fiction anymore. Being published has ruined it for me. I have heard this is not uncommon (I am just too distracted by the construction to have my disbelief adequately suspended) so reading a good book is out OUT OUT. (Pray for me)
To distract myself, I watch a lot of décor shows on TV and look at pretty magazines. This might be an indication of my recent brain decay (or the source of it) but this is why so much of my blog lately has been about décor (also, blogging about what is really going on in my life right now is depressing and might worry people I don’t want to worry).
One evening I got it into my head that my rather plain bench (see above)that lives behind the dining room table needed some bling, so naturally I started surfing eBay for the appropriate jewels when I realized that 1) I can’t afford to buy much right now 2) I can’t justify it, either and 3) I had the perfectly appropriate bit of bling sitting atop my gold mirror which I purchased at an antique store in Ramona (near San Deigo) for eight measly bucks thirteen years ago. This bit of carved gesso would be worth a pretty penny today if I were to offer it up for sale. Instead, I felt riche, indeed, in spite of the mirror’s sudden aura of nudity, as I snatched it from its perch and tested it out on the bench.
Now comes the part where I feel obligated to share some precautionary measures.
Do not merely toss your outdoor holiday décor extension cords into that red and green plastic tote. One is tempted to think it is the work of a moment to tame the tangles the next time they are needed—after all, there’s tons more Christmas stuff to put away TODAY, right? Au contraire! What would take 30 seconds per cord to wrap and secure translates to long, exhausting, frustrating and agonizing minutes of pure, procrastinistic torture. (Not sure “protastinistic” is a word. I’ll look it up later.)
The extension cord was needed for the electric drill/screwdriver. Oh, how I love my power tools! This is something I never anticipated when I was a young girl dreaming of my future life (partly because they didn’t have power tools and partly because I had the wrist-strength of boiled noodles) but don’t they look smashing amongst the pink and white? Which brings me to my next warning. Do not attempt to drill a hole anywhere you might encounter something metal with the tip of your drill. Ai Chihuahua!
Needless to say, the end result made all the pain and suffering worth it. I adore the French country flair of it all. The dog seems to agree because she has spent an inordinate amount of time snoozing on the bench compared to its bling-less state (she’s such a princess).
However, the uplift of this project did not last for long. The truth is, the best way to beat the blues (unless they are caused by a lack of chemicals which requires the imbibing of prescribed meds which is something I highly recommend should you be one of those people because there isn’t much you can do at all whatsoever when you are huddled in a dark corner biting your nails and refusing food and water) is to serve others.
I must say, I do a lot of serving of others in my own home (as do you, I feel confident in assuming). However, I can’t help but feel that being 45 years old and having been married for nearly 24, most people in my position are pretty much done with the child-rearing. Since my youngest is only eight and my special needs twenty-year-old eldest is akin to Baby Huey---mostly loveable but a ton of work, often annoying and about 95% of the time utterly shirtless—I’m not really seeing a light at the end of this particular tunnel.
True, there are times when I absolutely cannot serve anyone outside of my home. And then there are times when I’m afraid to spend any of my resources on those outside of my home because all the tanks are so empty and I don’t know when I, with plenty of my own needs, weaknesses and challenges, might be needed to charge in and save the day again.
However, I have come to the conclusion that service is 110% about sacrifice and that service doesn’t serve us in any way, even if it serves someone else, if it doesn’t pinch a bit. In other words, I can no longer justify looking around and asking from whence the cavalry cometh when I am not able/willing/ready to saddle up myself. The truth is, most often all that is needed is a word of encouragement, a phone call, a kind smile, a card in the mail, or any other small means of letting someone know that you care.
Pres. Thomas S. Monson said "We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindess. Be they family members, friends, acquaintances or strangers, we are the Lord's hands here upon the earth with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. How often have you intended to be the one to help and yet, how often has day to day living interferred and you left it to others to help? We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step backwards, however, and take a good look at what we're doing we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the thick of thin things."
I am grateful for and love all of you. Thanks for being there for me. (The good news? No more "blue" posts!) (Promise.) (With cherries on top.)