Monday, 25 February 2013

The grass is always greener. Always...

So we are at the end of "the weekend of tonsillitis". It was a weekend of paracetamol, throat lozenges, tissues and tag team parenting. George and Ella had a cold at the beginning of last week. Ella shook it but George's developed into tonsillitis with a dose of ear infection thrown in. Poor baby. Blocked and running nose, watering eyes, sore throat and fever. I succumbed on Friday and on Saturday I had a headache that threatened to push my brain out my cranial orifices ( hyperbole is totally allowed when ill). Hubby succumbed on Saturday and was in the thick of it by Sunday. Thankfully it was the weekend, and our suffering was staggered so that one of us could be horizontal while the other maintained feeding and watering children, laundry, dishes and comforting of very unhappy wee man.

It is at times like this weekend that I think "Why on earth did we have children?!"
I mean, when you feel sick it is not unreasonable to feel a little regret that the days of feeling sick and being able to stay in bed and get better are over, at least for the forseeable future. My perspective fails to acknowledge there is a horizon or that kids grow up when I am feeling this way. By Sunday I was feeling more chipper and while hanging out the 5th load of laundry for the day, I realised that wishing I was at another stage of my life really has nothing to do with the specific situation I faced this weekend, it is more of a habit and fact of how I think.

I always think the grass is greener in someone else's life. Our neighbours are an excellent example or this and a constant reminder of how it could be or will be. We love our neighbours on both sides. On one side we have a couple in their 40s with late teen kids. They are doing some home improvements at the moment. New kitchen and solar hot water heating. When I hear the Mum yelling at her kids it is usually about midday and she wants the lawns mowed. She has trouble waking her kids. I have trouble getting mine to sleep.

On the other side are a younger married couple who bought the house soon after we bought ours. They both have good jobs and have a couple of flat mates to help pay the mortgage. They all are a busy, going to the beach, going camping, going mountain biking, to music festivals and having parties. They leave the house when they want, sleep in at the weekends and generally burn the candle at both ends. We often share meals with them and I don't think we give the best impression of life with preschoolers. One commented on the amount of laundry on our line, another on the fact she got home late from a party and heard hubby asking Ella rather the forcefully to please "Do a wee, just do a wee" at about two in the morning. They told a story about going to a one year old's party for a friend's child who has had the first baby in their social circle. "There were babies every where! They were all over the place!" Oh the shock, oh the horror. But as I heard them heading off to Laneway the other weekend, I admit, I was jealous.

But my lovely neighbours haven't caused these moments (or days) of wistfulness about the past or the future. I have become a professional admirer of other people's life stages and situations. Before we had kids I was just desperate to become a Mum and have our own. It got to the stage where I was certifiably obsessed. I mean, it was understandable. We had talked about kids and having a family for years before we got married and then finances dictated waiting a while longer so that my biological clock had moved from clanging to some kind of earthquake. That kind of wanting and waiting is really not healthy. And for those people who have to continue to wait and want, I have absolute admiration that they can keep on or the ability to have some balance and joy in life. I definitely was quite unbalanced. The lost and grief of losing our baby was piled on top of that.

Now I find myself with everything I ever hoped and dreamed of. A genuinely fantastic hubby who I joke about cloning and selling online because he is such a great model. I could make a fortune. A lovely home which we hope will be our forever home and a wonderful suburb which gives us a quality of life we can't really believe. And to complete the perfect picture, two beautiful kids who are a delight to watch grow and get to know.

But despite this it is still possible to look at the people around me and wish my life were different. While Ella and I were shopping yesterday I saw a dreadlocked guy sitting in STA travel. I imagined he was booking some exciting trip to an exotic destination and continuing his journey to see more amazing places and to discover more about himself. I started quickly calculating the cost of four round the world tickets and talking to Ella about visiting her godfather Paul, in Spain. But of course we couldn't do that. Young kids, mortgage, no money yada yada yada. Later on we saw the same guy. Except this time he was accompanied by his wife and toddler. Mmmmm maybe if you want to do something you should just do it Marion instead of assuming your life is so different from the guy with dreadlocks.

And I think that is what it comes down to. Whether by choice or chance, I am where I am. And I do love my life. There are always tough things about life. Some times are tougher than others. But at the moment anything I have to complain about is small and fleeting and kind of symptomatic of my age and stage. Nothing is massive or disastrous. Admittedly, some things are painful, especially the growing up and facing facts kinds of things. But I think most of us have those experiences.

Before I go and knock on every wooden surface in my home (paranoia anyone?), I am trying to focus being content and to appreciate my life as it is right now. It is hard when I am tired and sick and George is waking hourly at night cause he is still sick. But wishing I were 24 again or wanting to fast-forward to world trip in our twilight years has some pretty obvious draw backs. So focusing on my own green grass and being grateful. Cause I love my life and if I keep looking over the fence I might miss it.

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