Everything Inbetween

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Today was a crap day. I just could not seem to get into the flow of things, that or my mood fought the flow all the way. We woke up after an unbroken night of sleep which should have set me up for a fabulous day but didn’t. We ate breakfast and then my husband went off to work, although that is a bit of a misnomer. Work, right now for him, consists of waiting in the area that is assigned to his taxi, for a job that never seems to come. It is still early in the season and folks are not yet filling up our little area of the world with their presence and their cash. Business will pick up in a few weeks when people come to the boat yards, where my husband works, to get their vessels sea worthy, but now they are few and far between. He had one job yesterday and made 15TL, about $7. Ho hum… Yet it is not our financial situation that put me into a funk today but nothing in particular and everything in between.

After my daughter and I finished our meal, we sat around; she watching cartoons and I reading the online newspapers. When I finally got motivated, I turned off the TV and suggested that we wash the dishes together which filled one of us at least, with glee. Lots of wasted water and obsessive handwashing (OCD toddler style) and finally we had a tray of semi-clean dishes. I moved on to cleaning out a kitchen cupboard which resulted in the exciting activity of glass-jar-shaking on her part and lots of sorting and clearing on mine. That task finished and we made some baker’s clay for upcoming craft projects – must keep busy. I had her on a chair beside me attempting to stir the concoction over a low heat but her attention span put in it danger of clumping and I had to take over. That finally completed, we moved on to trying to make a curtain for her bedroom. Note the use of the verb: trying.

I got a piece of material and realising it was too short for the job decided to make an addition to it. I cut a piece of cloth to the right size and then retrieved the sewing machine and pins and set about pinning a hem. Once my daughter noticed the sewing machine on the table however, all hell broke loose. She cowered on the couch crying and repeating over and over again: “I’m scared of the sewing machine, I’m scared of the sewing machine”. My first tack was to not make a big deal out of her aversion so I continued pining the hem in a very blasé manner whilst trying to get her to explain what the problem was. “Why are you scared of the sewing machine? Do you think the sewing machine is going to hurt you? What is it about the sewing machine that scares you?” No usable response and continued crying convinced me that was not working so I tried the soft approach: going to her, hugging her (not welcome) telling her to not worry about the machine that I wouldn’t turn it on… Again, this had no effect on her mood or behavior so I tried the hard approach. “OK, that is quite enough, pull yourself together. The sewing machine is not going to gobble you up for lunch! Stop crying and whimpering.” Wholly ineffective and just added fuel to her agitated state. I then tried allowing her to calm herself down (okay ignore her) and continued my work in silence. After a few dramatic minutes (hers not mine but close), I ended up losing my cool, swearing generally, grabbing the sewing machine, which elicited a grand yelp, serious tears, and much couch burrowing, and returned it to its box. Safely put away, her tears stopped as had my work. I ditched the material and decided to have lunch.

I had some cheese rolls which I made the night before so I got them out and served up a quick lunch of tea and cheese rolls which the baby loves. I put the cartoons back on and tried to just relax after the terror of the sewing machine incident. Soon my daughter was happily munching away and so too should I have been but my lunch was punctuated by diva demands. “Mummy, I don’t watch this.” “Okay, do you want to watch this?” “No.” “This?” “No.” “This?” “No.” “This?” “Okay.” “Mummy, I want some more tea.” “Okay.” “Mummy, I want some juice.” “Okay.” “Mummy, I need my diaper changed” “Okay.” After she had finished her lunch and tired of cartoons, she declared that we needed to go outside and pick flowers, a promise I had made her the day before.

Resigned, I left the food strewn dishes on the table, and obeyed her order to: “Put your shoes on, Mum.” We went outside and made our way to the back garden where the daisies have been growing higher and higher in the past few weeks. I showed her how to get them by the stem and pull them out but she ended up just pulling the heads off and crushing them in her hand. I let her get on with it until I couldn’t stand the needless decimation of the daisy population anymore. After we went back into the house and put the crushed heads in some water, it was decided to go back outside and try bike riding and bubble blowing and watering the concrete. I tried to just sit and knit in a supportive role which didn’t work that well, but the meditative, calming act of sort of knitting did seem to put me in a slightly better mood.

When my husband called to say that he was coming home but would swing by to take my daughter to the grocery store with him, I was elated at the promised time on my own. I eventually enjoyed a peaceful 15 minutes that ended all too quickly with their arrival. My daughter was excited to show me her picture and ‘crayons’; that her father had bought her. Upon closer inspection, the crayons were colored sand and the picture was an adhesive piece of cardboard with a rendering of Tinkerbell on it. There was the famous Disney character: all blonde hair and green dress, pale skin and pink lips. My good mood deflated. I told my husband that he better get busy with the Tinkerbell because I just couldn’t face it; cue resistance to me and then acquiesce to the pint-sized dictator. He did set about helping our dictator, sorry our daughter, to create it but as he wouldn’t listen to or follow the slightest instructions, mine not hers, (do the black outline first, start with the darker colors, use the plastic tweezers to take each section of the adhesive off) the fairy looks like Beyoncé sporting a bad yellowish fake tan on her legs, staring in a scene from a music video which has her throwing a whole bag of poppy seeds on herself.

For some reason today, all of this irritates me to no end. I cannot seem to see the funny side of it. I cannot seem to laugh at my daughter’s fear of the machine or my husband thinking that anything involving colored sand is a good thing to buy a two year old. It is not that I am bemoaning the curtain not getting finished, although I have no idea when it ever will due to the fact that I cannot use the sewing machine unless my daughter is miles from the house. It is not the fact that I will have to spend a few minutes vacuuming up the carpet, my daughter and Beyoncé. It is not anything, I am just out of sorts, woke up on the wrong side of the bed, am having a bad day.

People do not like a moaner and complainer, I mean on paper, I am a pretty lucky girl. I live in a beautiful place. I am in a warm country, surrounded by foothills, woods and ocean. I have a much longed for family. I eat good, healthful food and drink clean well water. Both of my parents are living and healthy as are my husband’s. We are all healthy and thriving. I have friends who are now orphans. I know mothers with small children who are dying. I know people who are battling mental health issues, money issues, general life issues and I am not. Sure, we are not in the best financial situation with my husband’s business having had a huge outlay this year and the tourist season yet to begin. Sure, our house is rented and far from grand. Sure, I am thousands away from my family and friends and often feel very homesick but as far as the fundamentals, we are doing just fine.

Despite all of this, today was utter crap for no particular reason and that is okay. I reserve my right to feel like the poo poo I constantly seem to be wiping up. Why can’t I? Even though I am smart enough to know how blessed I am compared to others, that doesn’t mean that I am ecstatic all of the time, far from it. People on social media like to make distinctions between first world problems and those of the rest of the world. The rest of the world being they who are trying to meet their basic needs or are fleeing from war, or have lost all of their family in a natural disaster and I get that, but here is the thing about human beings…our outer circumstances don’t really affect our inner reality. I remember watching on TV, a Honduran man who had lost his house in an earthquake, being interviewed by a reporter. He was smiling and the reporter asked him why he was smiling when he had just lost everything. The man replied: why shouldn’t he be smile through his tragedy? He was still around to smile. That moment has stayed with me because I get it and I get that the converse is true too. It is like the poor, little, rich girl or boy who has everything imaginable materially but interiorly are bankrupt. They say that money cannot buy happiness and this is the ultimate truth. I know that because today all of the things that I have going for me did not buy me happiness but extreme irritation.

Tomorrow I will hopefully, probably wake up on the right side of the bed and I will find joy in the same things in which today I found annoyance. I will pick flower heads and find a cool jar to arrange them in, setting them to float prettily on their delicate, white petals. I will sit outside and handstich my hem as my daughter waters the concrete. I will march to the store and purchase a Tinkerbell sand picture which I will do with my daughter all the while following instructions. I will then take the completed perfectly rendered fairy, go into my daughter’s room where on the dresser I will place her side by side with badly fake tanned Beyoncé and her exploding bag of poppy seeds.

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