Monday, April 27, 2009


I am okay with the fact that I am relatively intelligent. I am not bragging. I am not mensa material but I do pretty well figuring out things and by and large, school was very easy for me. But I think I suck at EQ.

Remember all the talk about EQ a few years back? It was emotional intelligence quotients. I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it at the time. Partly because emotions aren't a big part of Chet's vocabulary and at the time he was our only child. Partly because I think it is also mumbo jumbo. Or at least I thought so.

Recently I have revised that opinion a wee bit. The thing is, I do know my kids emotionally. I can tell at a very deep level, and pretty easily what they are saying behind what their words are. I don't have that level of confidence though, with adults.

With adults, some times they seem to want solutions, sometimes they want to b*tch. And the line between those two is often very very blurry. What the heck, how do I know which is which? It was about 6 years into our marriage before I understood that Kirsty complaining about Chet's behavior was not asking me to come up with new behavior management strategies. Or her sighs over the time to balance her checkbook did not mean that she wanted me to set her up on Quicken. . . I know now that I can ask her outright if I don't know which it is that she wants or needs.

But other adults in my family are less comfortable with that. I am supposed to divine psychically or something if they want a solution or they want me to spend 20 or 30 or 40 minutes saying "mmmmmm" every few minutes. Sigh. Mmmmmmm. Oh, excuse me, I was practicing! (laughing)

Right now, my mom is going through some hard things. Her husband of 21 years is dying. It is never easy to be present at the passing of someone and dealing with the staff at the nursing home where he has spent his last years has been difficult. It is a sad reality of our society that we don't spend much time working on handling the passing on of our elders with dignity and understanding.

She has also had a questionable mammogram. My grandmother died of breast cancer back when I was 9. I think my mom feels that this automatically marks her for breast cancer. The reality is that at this point we don't know that. She has a scan on Friday which will hopefully tell us good news that it is not a cancer situation. But I can't tell when she calls with these issues if she wants ideas on how to get more help at the nursing home or if she wants something else. And I worry that I am not giving her the help that she needs. Or the support that she wants. My mom would never want me to ask what she wants. My whole life I was supposed to just know. So this isn't a good time in her life to try and change that. I do hope however I have chosen the right words for her, and I hope with all my heart that she has good results on Friday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was VERY pertinent for life here. As a couple, we still have a little learning to do (or be reminded of again) when it comes to how the other deals with stress and various other emotions and even once we recognize that how best to address it. You've given me a good way to reframe this.