Looking back through my blog, I found I've blogged personal stories twice in the last 6 weeks. The time away has been good for my family. Less computer time is always a good thing! Truth is, I've sat down many times and tried to blog but the things foremost on my mind weren't things I really wanted to blog about. I didn't want to "whine." I've always tried to keep my blog upbeat and humorous. At least I've taken stabs at being humorous! I've tried to be an example for keeping a positive attitude and I haven't exactly felt like the most positive person lately.
Last week I was on Twitter and I found a link to an interview with Stephanie Howell. I've long adored Stephanie so I quickly clicked on the link to listen to what she had to say. Such a delightful interview! I expected it to enjoy it. What I didn't expect was to come away feeling like I'd sat down with someone older and wiser than me, talking and encouraging me through one of life's struggles.
In my younger years, when I was upset about something, I shared it with others. Shared is actually the diet version of what I did. I complained and beat it like a dead horse until I'm sure the people in my life wanted to pluck their eyelashes out one by one rather than listen to me. But they accepted it as me being me. And then along came Shawn.
Shawn is not a sharer. What comes natural to him is to work silently through his problems. So when problems arose between us, I would be out chewing the ear of anyone who would listen while he was hammering away, remodeling a house or sitting in a tree stand in the woods. I thought it was just different ways of dealing. What I eventually found is that I nearly destroyed our relationship during one of my sharing times. I was sharing serious problems between us that should have been kept between us. Not only did I nearly end our relationship, I found myself sitting in my bosses office being reprimanded for being disruptive to the office with my sharing. I vowed then and there to make a change. Shawn became my only confidant.
This has worked for the last 18 years. He's the most amazing problem solver. He's the most honest person I know, he's wise, he's confident, he's diplomatic, his answers are in line with God's desires for us, he's both gentle and firm at the same time. He has all the qualities that make for the best leaders. But there are 2 things in life he's unable to relate to in a way that leaves him giving me the answers I need, my mother and estrogen.
So when I was diagnosed at the end of June as being perimenopausal, I found myself alone with my problem. I know every woman goes through it but it's hard on the self-esteem when you hit a major aging milestone so early. I've always had a whacked reproductive system and pregnancies riddled with complications from insulin dependant diabetes, to sitting for a year after a miscarriage, unable to try to get pregnant again because I had to wait to see if the condition that caused the miscarriage would develop into cancer. It shouldn't have come as a great surprise to me that my system was tired and worn out and ready to shut down early.
My doctor prescribed estrogen and that estrogen has been sitting on a shelf for almost 4 months while my symptoms continue to intensify. Shawn's answer of, "Take the estrogen," has fallen on deaf ears, leaving him perplexed. I'm sure there are some of you who think I must have a screw loose to have a "fix" for my problems sitting right in my own house and me snubbing it, just as I'm sure there are others of you who completely understand! I just hoped my body would snap out of it and get back to normal. I wasn't ready to give in.
This is where Stephanie comes in! During her interview, she said, "I think women need to share . . . I have an issue with women that act like things are always perfect because it's not and you don't have to act like that. We can help each other so much if we're just honest that some days are really hard, that some days you don't know what you're doing and sometimes you're just frustrated."
What she said really resonated with me and I've mulled on it for the last week. I've done some self-reflection and now realize that the sharing of my younger days was destructive because I was not just sharing my own struggles. I was always trying to draw people to my side, to form my army of defense against those who challenged me or hurt me. Finding a wise confidant to help me through my problems rather than stirring up the community of people in my life was the right change. Expecting that one person to be able to have ALL the answers was not, although he's come pretty dang close!
I've also thought a lot about my favorite blogs and why they are my favorites. They are those written by women who don't pretend to have perfect lives. Cathy Z., Karen Russell, and Stephanie are 3 of my favorites and every one of them is self-deprecating, they're honest, and none of them are whiny! They're just real about who they are leaving me feeling like I could walk right up to any of them and feel completely comfortable, not a bit initimidated, striking up a conversation.
I'm going to try and be more open about my personal struggles rather than taking a long hiatus from my blog, thinking I need to hide the fact that I struggle like anyone else. It won't take much. I'm easily fixed emotionally. With this particular problem, I just need to be able to write, "I peed my pants when I ran during a kickball game with the boys today," get it out there and either (hopefully) make you laugh or horrify you. If I horrify you, be careful how you handle it. You must be young. Your day is coming! Or your wife's day is coming. Consider it a little advanced training on how to deal with it. You can thank me later. ; )
Whew! Now that I have revealed that I am in fact not perfect, that when I played kickball with my kids, I peed my pants in the process, it's time for something a little easier to digest mentally!
Will has a really good friend that lives about a mile from us. Caeden loves Lego's about as much as Will does. Even better, his mind works similarly to Will's so he, unlike the rest of us, understands how to actually build cool things with Legos.
Caedan's mom teaches in a neighboring town so he doesn't go to school in our school district. And Will is home schooled, anyway, so they only get to see each other a few nights a week after school. Will can barely contain his excitement on days Caedan is coming over. I found him out on the deck last Friday watching for their car with a pair of binoculars!
And then a silly moment to try and make me laugh.
It did. Then I said my favorite thing to say to him, something that gets him riled up. I called him Cutie Patootie. I think front teeth coming in are way off the chart on the cuteness scale. These are the things that make me realize getting older isn't all about night sweats, bizarro dreams, and peeing my pants. Getting older is all about watching my kids grow and change in ways that make me smile and fill my heart with so much love I feel like it's going to burst. Ah, a benefit of being perimenopausal. I have an excuse for my sharing my weak, sappy moments!
Oh, and I started the estrogen yesterday. Cross your fingers for me.