Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results
Various forms of this quote are attributed to various people, including Einstein… the earliest verifiable print reference is the Narcotics Anonymous handbook from 1981 or so…
But you’d think after I made a stupid mistake, thought about it, and even spent a very interesting hour trying to find the quote above that I knew I’d heard somewhere that all those things would come together to keep me from repeating my folly?
But no, I have not been good about learning from my mistakes. What mistake in particular?
Just wanting to pretend that I was all better and could take care of my family the way I want to. Wednesday morning the kids went back to school-school after a four day weekend. Sam had a BIG deal math test, a qualifier for the US math olympiad team. So I got up early, thinking I’d just putter around a bit and pretend to be a mama who could just tidy up her kitchen and make a little breakfast, like mamas are supposed to do, you know?
I wasn’t up for that long… just enough to clear out the dishwasher, use several pounds (not really) of comet on the counters, make biscuits (from a can) and some scrambled eggs to make sandwiches….. and sit in the kitchen and talk to my children as they ate, and check backpacks for two weeks of papers and forms, and notice that we still need to replace the handle on the microwave door.
So maybe 50 feet of walking, if you add up every step, an hour or so doing a few little things in my kitchen. Nothing more strenuous than cracking eggs that our friends’ chickens made for us. Sometimes I forget how much I really, really like my job. And it’s not the big exciting parts that make me love it, it’s the moments… when a 16 year old smiles at you in the morning because you sneak extra cheese onto his sandwich… when a 4 year old sits on TOP of you every time you’re not standing, just to make sure you stay where he wants you…. when three children say “Hey MOM, can you” all at the same time by accident and everybody laughs….
But once 60 % of my children were out the door, I sort of fell apart. Well, no, not sort of. Totally. Into a big wet puddle of tears and coughing and just about the most pathetic self pity ever. Of course Dixon came running… what in the world was going on? Did I have a fever? is my port OK? Where are you hurting?
Let’s get you right back to bed where you belong.
Sob. THAT was the problem. I wanted to have my nice morning of pretending that it only takes a couple of days home from the hospital to be all back to normal. …. which of course leads to having to admit to the fantasy that I had gone INTO the hospital healthy, but that’s another story…
I just wanted to pretend for one morning that I wasn’t recovering from invasive pneumococcal disease, that I wasn’t on way too many medicines, that I didn’t have a broken foot, that I wasn’t anemic and short of breath…. and I wanted everybody to play along with me.
Oh well. Dixon was ever so kind and understanding once I explained… however, repeating the same game and expecting not to crash and burn again yesterday afternoon wasn’t very smart, I don’t think.
So today I resolved not to pretend. I decided to truly listen to my family when they told me it was who I AM that they value, not what I DO. But this is so not easy for me. I just started to wrap my mind around the concept this morning, and then had to go to the pulmonologist’s office for a hospital followup visit. Out to the car, ride in the car, out of the car, walk to the elevator, up the elevator, down the hall, stand in line to sign in. sit down in waiting room. walk back to exam room. climb up on table. talk to doctor (who tells me to take it easy, please… do you see the irony here?) and then repeat it all backwards to get home.
But you know, a week ago I wouldn’t have been able to get from the car to the doctor’s office, no way, no how. So even though I ended up in a big soggy puddle of tears and runny nose again this afternoon, I must be making progress, don’t you think? I just wish it were faster.
So I’m back to bed, where I will stay for a while. Or at least until the urge to pretend becomes too much to suppress. Meanwhile, everybody else here is thriving. Emily’s out getting her passport renewed… McGill University in Montreal is on her short list of schools, and she wants to go visit over spring break. Sam gets his math competition results today. Brian has taken over a big chunk of night time Danny duty, from bedtime reading to pumper management, and I am so proud of him. Danny has given up his computer for lent. No kidding. And George… what sunshine he is, pure joy and love.
And I will stay in bed and think about Lent. Speaking of Lent, my friend Rowena found a children’s stations of the cross on line that i really like. Check it out: