The Green-Eyed

Nope, not Iris’s. Hers are still a soft, beautiful shade of what is not quite blue and not quite gray. Carl thinks the inner rims are starting to go hazel, but I, perhaps in denial, still fail to see it. Not that I prefer blue over brown. I never have. I just happen to prefer the eyes she already has to the eyes she might have at some distant point in the future but not right now.

Now that we’ve sorted that: mine. I’m the one with the pest problem involving green eyed monsters.

Was looking at pictures online the other day of some friends of ours with a baby about Iris’s age. Pictures of them going to the park. Pictures of the husband doing housework to give the wife a much-needed break. Pictures of the new daddy grinning with his baby snugged up in one of the snazzy baby carriers. Just walking around like nobody’s business.

Made me want to cry, but with great personal strength I resolved to do the mature thing. I began snarping to Carl about how nice THEY had it and the general unfairness of life. Because Carl would be all over that much-needed-break thing if he didn’t have 18 pins holding his leg together. And Iris is going to be six months old before he can carry her across the living room, never mind the park.

Not cool, happenstance. So not cool.

Carl said the right thing, if not exactly the friendliest. I mean in the moment few things feel better than a good vent, but it’s maybe not the best long term strategy.

He said they could just as easily envy us.

We bought a house we love. In a terrible economy, Carl has a job he likes that pays more than we need. Our baby is healthy. We have family nearby.

The problem with envy is that it’s so dang irrational. I don’t envy anyone’s actual life–I envy this imaginary compilation of one friend’s job and one friend’s closet, another’s easy circumstances and another’s (cue irony) sense of contentment… The other problem with envy is that it’s so dang isolating. If nobody understands what it feels like to pull a Cinderella on no sleep and minus the helpful singing rodents then what’s the point in talking to people anyway? Might as well sit alone. In my hut made of sticks. Eating thistles. If there are any thistles. Which I doubt.

(Is it still mixing metaphors if they’re all Disney-themed?).

It would be nice if I could share some awesome story about how I learned to accept my circumstances and let go of the envy and stress. I almost did, in fact, because earlier this week I spent the day with my cousin and her kids, and it was fantastic. She couldn’t tell me the secret that would make it all better, but she listened and sympathized and generally treated me like I was not a crazy person. And then, listening to her chat about her own life, it occurred to me (brilliant insight, this) that she also deals with a particular set of stressors that I don’t have. None of us have the corner on crappy circumstances. Maybe the point isn’t to resolve all stress and live in bliss. Maybe the point is to learn compassion and help each other.

I wish I could say the day with my cousin was transformative and totally cured my myopic view of the world. It didn’t. Today I spent 3 hours in the car trying to get Carl where he needed to be, trying to keep Iris fed or asleep or whatever she needed to be, late to everything, miscommunicating, having my feelings hurt, hurting Carl’s feelings, trying to get ready for a friend’s shower, do dishes, catch up on laundry, think about my dying aunt, figure out what to do about my cat that my parents no longer want and my husband is allergic to. It’s been a highly myopic day.

And you know what? It’s ok. I survived, maybe not with grace but certainly with all my limbs and relationships intact. Iris has forgiven me for stuffing her into a ruffly dress and is drifting off to sleep in milky coma. Carl and I are good. We might even have a few episodes of The Killing left in our queue.

We don’t have grace for all time. Nobody does. We have grace for today.

I’m trying to be ok with that.


4 thoughts on “The Green-Eyed

  1. Dude. I almost called you crying today. Sometimes life is rough and there’s no way around the fact that it sucks. So sorry! You have my realest solidarity and sympathy. I know it’s trite but it sometimes helps to remember what a wise woman once told me, “It’s no fair comparing your insides to some key else’s shiny outsides.” xoxox

  2. “I don’t envy anyone’s actual life–I envy this imaginary compilation of one friend’s job and one friend’s closet, another’s easy circumstances and another’s (cue irony) sense of contentment.” Yes. Yes. Yes. SO totally true. I like Carlie’s “trite” quote on envy, too. Also true, but way too easy to forget.

  3. Your observation of envying “imaginary” circumstances is spot on. I have to be cautious about the mommy blogs I read for that exact reason! Otherwise, I end of annoying the crap out of my husband by showing him blogs that only present the shiny happy moments.

    Keep on truckin! 🙂

  4. I’d tell you about my woes with a husband who was totally unwilling to change diapers or get up with our baby during the night, even though he was in perfect health, but would that help? I didn’t envy anybody, but I sure battled depression and self-pity…for years, as I’m sure you recall! Life is just tough. My latest theory is that God intended family units to live closer together so that Grandma could help out now and then, sisters could cry on each other’s shoulders, and the misery would be divided by the company. It’s also my theory that God allows us to be crushed in the crucible of life for our own good, even though it hurts, so that we get just a small insight into what real love, grace, and forgiveness are. I’m glad you’re heart-wrenchingly honest and able to focus on how to overcome! That will help others who are trying to bale out the same leaky boat.

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