Because whenever I write anything sappy about Bing or Liv, I get lots of e-mails telling me that my life is perfect, that they wish that their life could be perfect too. Invariably, this leads to someone telling me that they wish that their marriage, partnership,etc. could be as healthy and wonderful as mine.
Well, probably. I don't really know any of you, so maybe it isn't, but...probably it is.
Seriously, I don't tiptoe through the tulips with Bing on a daily basis.
Sometimes we fight. Sometimes I look at her and wonder why I stayed. Sometimes she irritates me to the point where I have to stalk away from her and take the dog for a walk, even though it's snowing, slippery, and cold.
My marriage is pretty much just like yours. But, my truth is probably like yours is too: If I knew I had 24 hours to live, I would look at Bing (and Liv, of course) and my heart would fill to the breaking.
But, she's human. I'm human.
Like yesterday, I had a really awful case at work. A three year old boy to be assessed for a behavior disorder. I flipped through the back report before he came in.
He was born to a mother in Texas who used meth throughout her pregnancy. Strike one.
At four months, child services got involved because a postal carrier made a report to them that every time he delivered mail, he could hear a baby crying in the home and that the one time he saw the child, it upset him.
"That baby didn't look normal. It looked like one of those photos you see of starving kids in Africa," he reported.
The child was nearly five months old and had not seen a doctor since his birth. He had only gained 4 ounces since his birth weight.
The child was removed from the home and put in foster care. The mother was strident about the whole thing:
"Hey, I'm not a millionaire. Formula costs money, ya know? Time for the little dude to learn that he wasn't born to Miley Cyrus. I eat once a day, so can he."
Of course, she still managed to support her meth habit by selling herself and venturing out to the streets to steal food from grocery stores and do a little pickpocketing work.
This little boy is now almost 4. There is more of a back story involving the father who never really stepped up to the plate until a month ago ago and then he ended up calling his mother, the child's grandmother to announce that GUESS WHAT?,she had a grandson whom she'd never met and EVEN BETTER!, would she take custody?
The grandmother agreed to do so provided that he and the birth mother signed away all of their legal custodial rights. They did so faster than you can say I AM NOT FIT TO PARENT! and now here she is....a forty something single grandmother doing the parenting thing all over again now. She's taken a four month family leave from her nursing job and is determined to help this new child of hers.
And then I was drawn in when health and human services told her to have her grandson tested since it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that he has brain damage due to the neglect visited upon him by his
Thank goodness for that postal carrier.
So, I spent an hour assessing this beautiful, but damaged little child. And then I held him as his grandmother filled out all the necessary forms.
It was like holding a much younger baby. His pediatrician noted that he appeared to be about as big as a 1 1/2 year old. I thought he was a little off, maybe about a year old at best.
He didn't talk, walked with great unsteadiness and while initially he cringed away from my touch, by the end of our session, he was content to sit in my lap as his grandmother worked over the forms. He played with my hair, fingered my jacket and slipped his tiny fingers under my bracelet and held on gently.
I kept it together, because that is what you do when you are a professional. But, when I waved them out the door, saying goodbye? Well, afterwards I went to my office, shut the door quietly behind me and sat down and cried in my hands. I felt queasy.
So when I arrived home last night, I was still feeling sad. And Bing was in jackass mode. She has had some back pain recently (actually, it is more like butt cheek pain) and has had a lot of problems sleeping. She can't sit in a chair for more than about 10 minutes before it just hurts too much and she needs to stand.
This is driving her crazy. She no longer can do her workouts and it makes her very, very crabby. She has seen an internist, a chiropractor and is currently going through physical therapy. She gets a bone scan and a MRI next week. Tomorrow she goes in for blood work to make sure that she has no infections.
So, yeah...she is crabby.
Did I mention that she is a HORRIBLE patient? She claims to hate "hovering" (and believe me, I am not prone to hover) but walks around talking out loud to herself ("God, this really, really, really hurts!") and since driving hurts, I do it all.
She has been non stop complaining for the last 2 days. Because when Bing is sick or hurting, she brings everyone in the house with her into crabby ass town.
She can't sleep well, so is sleeping in our guest room. She claims that she doesn't want my sleep to be bothered. But, she walks around muttering to herself in the middle of the night and goes downstairs and turns the television on, which invariably wakes me (although Liv sleeps right through it...lucky duck.) When I sleepily go downstairs to see if she is okay, she looks up in mock surprise to see me and then asks me if I want to watch television with her for a while?
Um...No! I do not want to watch television at 2:45 in the morning. And I absolutely do NOT want to watch Suze Orman. Bing thinks she is a financial genius. I think she is smarmy and condescending.
Bing refuses to take ANY medication that might help her. This includes Tylenol, folks. TYLENOL.
"I don't want to put drugs into my body," she says.
I know she sees this as a goal to be met. I see this as idiocy.
HEY ZEUS, TAKE SOME MEDS! And then you will get some uninterrupted sleep and not be so damn bitchy all the time. And then you can do your share of the dog walking and driving and maybe even go to a movie with me again.
But no. She is adamant.
I tell her that it is hard to sympathize with her when SHE REFUSES TO HELP HERSELF.
She retorts that she refuses to be "drug dependent."
God. Shoot me now.
I try to be patient and kind. I have many ailments and she has always been supportive. BUT I TAKE DRUGS WHEN I HAVE TO DO SO.
If I have a migraine, I take my anti-migraine pills. If it's too late, all I ask for is peace and quiet for 12 hours and I will be fine.
If I am ill, I have NO problem taking medication. Medication has saved my life. Literally. I am diabetic and would die without insulin. I have rheumatoid arthritis and would barely be able to walk without medication. I would NEVER think it was okay to refuse medication to help myself.
But, she refuses. She's looked into some herbal remedies, but none have worked.
And because she is in pain, she bitches about other things because IT HURTS and she's MAD.
When I drive, she points out that I am not even going the speed limit.
When I walk the dog, she points out that I have not properly wiped his paws when we come back.
When I try to watch American Idol, she sits in the chair next to me and spends the entire hour dissing everything from how dumb ass the contestants are to Randy Jackson's idiotic remarks.
Apparently, I am still not wiping the shower down correctly after I take a shower. And must I use so much hot water that the bathroom gets steamy? (That would be a resounding YES.) It wastes energy.
I missed a crumb on the counter when I cleaned up after dinner. And that rice tasted like I put a little too much salt in it.
Thanks for buying her that chocolate milk that she called me at work to ask for, but why did I buy 2%? She prefers 1% or skim.
She believes that I am overwatering the houseplants. (Don't mess with me on this one. My poinsettias bloom WAY after Christmas, my jade plant is almost a foot tall now as opposed to the four inches when it was purchased, and that cactus just bloomed.)
So..no...dudes, my life with Bing is not always pretty. And last night when I came home mentally hog tied because of a long day of seeing too many kids at risk, the first thing she said to me when I walked in the door was NOT "Hi, sweetie! I missed you today!"
Instead, she said, "I hope you wiped your feet well. It is snowing outside, you know!"
Do I still love her? Of course! Don't be ridiculous.
Is my marriage the gold standard for others?
Absolutely not. And please don't think for a moment that I go starry eyed every time I look Bing's eyes.
Last night, I wanted to take Liv and move to a hotel for a few days. And bring the dog with us.
Life happens to all of our marriages. And we just keep plodding through.
Because underneath all those deep sweet words? There is a living, breathing person who is human and flawed and messy.
And she's all mine, just remember that.