Saturday, 16 April 2016

Things Get Better

Katherine has a super power, an absolutely magical super power. She can walk into the room and, without saying a word, brighten my day, easing my doubts and soothing my pain. Then she hugs me. She wraps her arms around me and no matter how deeply distressed I am, I feel better. She tells me everything will be okay, and I know it is true. She loves me, she protects me. She defends me. She has my back, no matter what the fight. Like I said, she has a magical super-power.

Yesterday I needed that super-power. I managed to get myself into quite a self-pity state during the day. It's pretty easy for me to do, all I have to do is compare myself with other people, sometimes specifically and sometimes generally. I can always find a way to make myself lose in the equation. I can always find a way to see myself as the failed part of the comparison. It's not a natural skill; it's human nature.

Comparisons are dangerous. No matter what your situation, there will always be someone better off than you, and worse off too. If you compare finances, there is always someone with more than you, and someone with less. If you compare health, there is always someone healthier, and someone in worse shape. If you compare yourself emotionally, there is always someone crazier than you, and someone saner. That's just how it works.

I've heard it said that the only real comparison is to compare yourself with yourself. But even that is unfair. The circumstances you were in yesterday were different than the ones you are in today, and different again that the ones you will be in tomorrow. Even this comparison fails, because time changes everything.

So yesterday I got myself into a state, thinking of how my children loved their Mother more than me, how they did so much more with her and for her, how she gets to see our grandchildren so much more often than I do. Then I got myself into even more of a state, thinking about what a failure I was as a Father, and as a man. I can't even pay my own bills these days; I am dependent on Katherine, on family, on friends, on begging, just to make ends meet, let alone to have anything more.

Then Katherine walked in the front door of my apartment. I felt better. She came over to hug me, clamping her arms around me like magnets to steel. I felt better. I told her how I was feeling, how I was jealous of my ex-wife, that she had so much more time, so much more of a relationship with our children and grandchildren. I told that I couldn't make the insurance payment on my truck; my credit card didn't have enough room on it. I told her I felt like such a loser, such a failure.

The first thing Katherine told me was to not worry about the truck insurance. I know what she meant, but I still felt like such a failure. Then she listened and talked with me, reminding me that I did not ask for this situation, that I was doing the best I could. Then she said one of the best things she could have said. She asked the question, "Why are you jealous of your ex-wife?" She went on to say how my ex-wife might have better relationships with my kids, but I didn't really know that. She might see them more, and spend more time with our grandchildren, but I had something my ex-wife could never have. I had her.

I felt like I had been hit by lightening. In that startling moment I realized that I didn't care if my children loved my ex-wife more than me. It was a stupid comparison anyhow. I didn't care if my ex-wife was happy or not happy, lonely or not lonely, rich or poor. What I really care about is my life, today; the life with Katherine in it to remind me of how lucky I am, how fortunate I am to have my children, how fortunate I am to have her.

I am a fortunate man. I have children who love me, who make every possible effort to see me whenever they can. Katie is here at least once a week and often twice every week. She sees me a lot more than she sees her mother. Mary moved mountains last week, getting her husband to take time off work to drive her and the kids to the ferry, dragging two small children on a long ferry ride, taking them home late at night, all so she could spend a few hours with me. Meaghan made the extra effort to come and see me at the hotel one night, even though she was going to see me the next day at my Mom's place. Ricky took the time one night, time he needed to rest for work, so that we could sit together at Moxie's for an hour, chatting over a beer.

I am a very fortunate man. I have Katherine, a woman who does everything she can to make sure I am happy and safe, a woman who has never criticized me in a harsh manner, a woman who supports me in every battle, stands beside me in every fight, takes up my sword when I am too weak to carry it. I have a woman who loves to be with me, yet is wise enough to leave me to myself on occasion.

She also has her magical super-power. When I am alone, when I make stupid comparisons, when I talk myself into pity and misery, all she has to do is walk through the door, and things get better.

1 comment:

  1. My favorite blog entry so far! You are a lucky man.