Wednesday, May 19, 2010

If a Nana Says Something Crazy in the Forest and No One Pays Attention ...

A few commenters have wondered about a) how TH grew up to be not particularly crazy and b) what he thinks about my being happy.

I thought about interviewing him about this. Then I realized that the interview would go something like the following:

DM: How did you grow up to be so awesome and relatively normal despite your batshit crazy mother?

TH: I’m awesome? I’m relatively normal? My mom is batshit crazy? Oh yeah, that’s right, she is.

DM: What was it like growing up with her?

TH: Not good. I don’t remember.

DM: Um, ok. Well, what do you think about my being happy?

TH: You’re happy?

DM: Remember, I told you about this? I’m all different and nice and stuff? I let you read those posts about it?

TH: Oh right. Um, it’s good? … wait, what was the question again?

DM: How was that race you did Sunday?

TH: Great! Riding kit shaving cycling bikes drafting intervals training pack sprint collarbone Cat 3-4 cleats riding Masters power meter laps turns monkey butt holding the line criterium time trial bonk leading out road rash drops watts course hill VO2 bridge the gap embrocation tubes wheels chamois max heartrate shelled monster climb breakaway chase points chafing podium ...

TH is kind, nurturing, tolerant, and overall wonderful. He also lives in a sort of happy fog. He puts a laser focus on one thing at a time, and everything else blurs out. This is actually quite nice for me; I like to fly under the radar most of the time. I’m capable of taking his face in my hands and saying, “Eye contact! Here! Now!” when necessary. He has a hard time remembering things that he has not focused upon. (For instance: our neighbor dropped dead and he forgot to mention it to me.) He also sleeps. A lot. As in 10 hours weeknights and 11-13 on weekends. I think he slept through much of his early years. He really does not remember a lot of the stuff that went on. He has his anxieties, but they’re different from mine. He worries about what’s in front of him, not what might happen down the road — so we tend not to be worried about the same things at the same time, which is good. He is an optimist.

TH’s dad is very much like TH. He was a steady, no-drama support through it all, as was his second wife. TH wishes he’d moved in with them for high school, but he was still too afraid of his mother’s reaction to go through with it. (Nana kicked TH’s younger brother out when he was fourteen because he wouldn’t obey her; he did move in with their father — and gave him a pretty wild ride too. Once past his Rumspringa/rehab years, he grew up just fine; I really like him. The sister, well … she’s sort of Nana minus the Histrionic Personality Disorder, which makes her more tolerable, but only to a point. She regularly dumps her two sons — aged 5 and 3 — with Nana for a week of free babysitting, despite having issues herself with how Nana treats them. Her older son is a rather timid, biddable child, so he just does what Nana says, poor kid.)

TH says he just figured out over time that he couldn’t take any of Nana’s advice or criticism seriously. He has always sided with me in any disagreement. Nana can be very fun, and he decided he was willing to take her as she was. This changed with the arrival of HB.

TH has a lot of healthy denial — he doesn’t dwell on the past or the legacy of Nana’s craziness. When I said he was having flashbacks with the newest drama, he said, “Oh, I wouldn’t say flashbacks.” When I reminded him of recent instances when he’d gotten upset over something small and then said that it was because of something from childhood, he said, “Oh, you mean those flashbacks.”

I’m not complaining. I think one navel-gazer per family is enough.


Jul said...

The "TH Bike Monologue" just made me spit out my diet soda. I think it might actually make a cool techno song, kind of like a two-wheeled version of Sparks' "Perfume".

And you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT about the one navel-gazer thing. A navel-gazing folie a deux can be managed, but only with lots of time and work. There have been times when my relationship has been like... well... imagine if each person's emotions were represented by those giant jousting Q-Tips on "American Gladiators". Yeah, like that.

Lisa said...

My husband is a lot like TH, but I think it's because he BENEFITED from "middle-child syndrome" instead of suffering from it.

My MIL smothered both her oldest child (BIL1) and her youngest child (BIL2). My husband was kind of left out in the cold, so he became more detached from her in a way the other two weren't (or couldn't be because she wouldn't let them). As an adult, he sees her more clearly, I guess.

Thank you, god, for benign neglect, I guess. :)

ozma said...

I love this. And it is fascinating.

I love that your neighbor dropped dead and he forgot to tell you. Amazing.

I am so envious of your husband. He's so lucky. I hate being a navel gazer.

I've met men like this. I have never met a woman like this. Are there any women like this?

My husband can be like this now. It's strange. He was a huge navel gazer when I met him but he can sometimes do what your husband does. He doesn't fret like I do. The world is not full of terrifying threats for him. And occasionally, I resent him because I want someone to stand vigil so I can take a rest. He's not up for the job since he would not be aware of the many terrifying terrors that should terrorize everyone, all the time. In a cool moment though, I recognize that two in one family would be an utter nightmare.

Now I have to go re-read how you got to be happy again. I think I already decided that it is impossible for me. But maybe if I try again?

DoctorMama said...

I love the idea of emotions as giant Q-tips.

I also love benign neglect.

Are there any women like this? Yes. My mom, for one. My sister too, though I don't like her. But the male:female preponderance seems quite high, doesn't it?

(And not only did he forget to tell me that our neighbor dropped dead, when I found out I dropped everything to tell HIM. He was a little abashed. I had to give him a new rule: If someone drops dead ...)

OMDG said...

You forgot "peloton."

DoctorMama said...

I was wondering if someone would notice that omission! I didn't say peloton because he never says it unless he's watching the Tour (de France, of course). I guess in the bush leagues of cycling you only have a "pack." Everything else I have actually heard TH yammer on about.

Anonymous said...

I think your husband and mine were separated at birth. In every good way. -victoria (And I'm not complaining either. Absent my marriage I wouldn't know what it would mean to be "on the rivet," or all the things that can be done with Epogen.)

Val said...

Ha - change out some of the lingo & that could be a transcription of one of me & MY hubby's conversations!
But sometimes his lack-of-angst leaves me, well, at a loss...