There are a lot of four letter words that make me cringe. Too many naughty ones peppered in a conversation, movie, or blog post I'm reading turns me off. I can recognize the humor in a few well-placed ones, and I did enjoy a raunchy variety show with Hubby while on a recent trip to Las Vegas (complete with lots of cosmopolitans). While I'm not a total prude when it comes to naughty words, I don't choose to use them very often myself. I feel guilty when I do.
But there are some totally harmless four-letter words that really have my panties in a bunch lately.
The first one is: MOVE.
Say that and people who have moved instantly give you the pity eyes and the sympathy sigh. (You instantly get tons of unwanted advice and unhelpful commentary on how quickly someone else's house sold, too. GAH!)
Moving tests everything you know to be true: the strength of your marriage, the creativity of your decorating style, and the solidity of your ability to multitask and organize.
I'm so tired. I'm tired of trying to pack with a toddler following me around saying, "Don't pack that away, Mommy!" I'm tired of trying to keep the messes of four young boys and their sloppy father contained because we could have a showing at a moment's notice. I'm tired of yelling at them when the stress of it all gets to me. I'm mostly tired of wasting entire days cleaning and organizing my house to perfection for a showing only to receive feedback that the potential buyers, "Liked the house and thought it showed really well, but they are not putting in an offer because of some XYZ stupid thing."
And it's Christmas time and we don't have any decorations or lights up, and that kills me.
The next four-letter word is: LICE.
It's safe to say that one gives everyone the heebie jeebies. Even my mother, who has seen her fair share of hard times and is very logical about everything, said, "Oh my god, Kathy, I am so sorry!"
I always believed lice to be more of of girl mom problem - all that hair and that sharing of hats and bows and girly-things. Hubby and I have said that if our boys got lice, we'd take 'em in the backyard and shave 'em down.
Yeah, that doesn't work on a little three-year-old who won't let anyone touch his head.
We just happened to be at the barber when I opened the e-mail saying that lice had been found on one of Edgie's preschool classmates. I laughed - laughed! - as I read it aloud to the barber. He kept saying Edgie would go last, and I just thought it was because he howls so loudly while getting his hair cut that the barber wanted to wait until the offices across the hall cleared out for the day.
But it was because he knew my long-haired sweetie's curls would have creepy crawlers. All the way to the drugstore I kept itching my head even though Lou, the barber, said I didn't have them. But seriously, did something just bite my back?!?!
My poor little boy screamed and cried so hard while I was treating his hair that he vomited. When we were done, he looked at me with his big blue sad eyes and said, "Mommy, do I still have lice?"
I cancelled a house showing for the next day while I stripped all the sheets and quilts and washed them and vacuumed down the couch and throw pillows (even though the school nurse told me that, like any parasite, lice need a live host to survive so doing all that isn't necessary). Even though he was declared lice-free by the school nurse, I'm still cautious. Murphy's Law tells me this isn't over.
And I sit here ready to cry over it all. I'm spent - emotionally, physically, mentally. As I drove away from my lemon-scented and freshly tidied house yesterday before the showing, I prayed to Saint Joseph (the patron saint of home sales). Really, I begged him: Please let someone love our house. I know we have been yelling at each other a lot lately, and I know Joey died there; but there is so much wonderful energy there, too. I thought of the dance parties and the Easter egg coloring and Christmas cookie decorating and the pumpkin carving. I thought of the blanket forts that have been built and the stories that have been read and the new babies that have been cuddled in that house. I thought of the brotherly love and the family gatherings and all the birthday parties. I know someone will love it. And I just need to keep my eyes on our new home and all the wonderful possibilities it holds for the future.
Then I was thinking about all of the more important four and five letter words that truly deserve my disdain. Lice and moving - these will pass; but what of the issues that never seem to go away?
Guns (and the violence that people create with them)
People are really suffering over these words, these concepts that dig a hole too deep to crawl out of. The sadness and anger that these words create in people permeate our society and divide its citizens.
A few years ago, when friends would complain their woes to me, at some point they would stop short. With wide eyes they would make this disclaimer: But, it's nothing compared to what you're going through (you know, meaning the cancer). I would say to them, But you only know what YOU'RE going through, and it's hard, too.
What I'm going through is nothing compared to what some people are suffering with right now. Yes, it's hard and it sucks, but I still need to remember that "this too shall pass." I need to remember to have empathy and understanding for other people and their problems. I need to not be so consumed with my own misery that I turn a blind eye to others.
There's no denying that certain words evoke certain emotions in us. Hopefully the one emotion that is created in us all is empathy.