Videotaping the secret lives of introverts

It was a productive weekend.

The parents are safely back home in Arkansas; my house is clean; the dishes are washed and put away; and life is ready, thankfully, to get back to normal.

Since my parents and I only see each other every six months now, it's commonplace to see changes every time we DO see each other. I think I was most shocked this time by how much older my father looks. He is fifty-six now, and he looks much older. I think a lot of it is that his hair is completely white. Not that off-white yellow that some people get, but a shocking pure snow white.I'd rather have that than grey hair, actually.

My mother no longer colors her hair, for which I'm grateful. I've never really understood why women color their hair to hide grey. I'd say that my mother's hair is now 25% grey; I wonder how many of those I put there?

Growing up, I was never really close to my father. I can't say that I'm close to him, even now. When I was younger, it was my mother that I turned to for advice and for comfort. It surprises me to realize that now that I'm off and on my own, I perceive her very differently than I did a few years ago, and I'm not sure that it's for the better.

I remember my mother as being a ferocious, independent bundle of energy somehow compressed down into a stature of only 4'11". But a few years ago, she had a freak ear infection that robbed her of 90% of her hearing in her right ear, and since then, she's never really been the strong, independent person that I remember from my childhood. Instead she is tentative and unsure of herself, and I don't know how to deal with that.

The past two times that she has visited have been a bit shocking for me. What struck me the most was her reluctance to venture out. Jeff commented on it today after they left—when we were not actively entertaining my parents (meaning we'd left them to her own devices for a little while) she would sit and wait, patiently, silently, until we came back.

That, I think, was the most difficult part about hosting them—having to entertain them constantly while they were here. I'm not the kind of person that can sit and talk to another person for hours upon hours; after a while I need to get up and do something by myself. I find it mentally exhausting to be required to be the center of one person's attention for the entire weekend. I like guests that occasionally want to go off and take a nap, or go read, or relax quietly by themselves.

But I'll spare you the classic rant-of-the-introvert.

In other news, it's a good thing that we cleaned the house as thoroughly as we did, because my mother brought her video camera and videotaped me doing a walkthrough of the house. It's for my grandmother, who may or may not ever get to visit us here. At least she'll get to see our house.

In other news, I took a break mid-post to go to the bathroom. I made the mistake of shutting the door; this, of course, is a cat magnet. (They can't abide a closed door.) They were very proud of themselves because they managed to throw themselves bodily against the door enough times so that the door finally opened. Then they had to twine around my feet, purring, as if to say, "We know you need help, and we're just the kitties to provide it!" Silly catbeasts.

In OTHER news…Jeff's and my second anniversary is Tuesday. Hard to believe it's been two years since I donned the big ol' dress and did the church wedding thing. I had a year's worth of misgivings about having a church wedding, and looking back I think I should've gone with my instincts and had a smaller, more private ceremony. In the end, the ceremony was just that—a ceremony. It meant more to me that friends came in from far away to SEE the ceremony. I greatly appreciated their support and sanction; I sometimes wonder if they understand just how much it meant to me. I just couldn't—and still can't—justify the expense and frustration and hassle of a church ceremony. It's an awful lot of money to spend on a piece of paper being signed by two people and a witness.

Marriages are tough things to live with, especially for someone who can't even stand to host clingy guests for a weekend! I'm starting to grasp the idea that a marriage isn't a stable thing, like a house or a car. It's like any other relationship—it changes as the people in it change. The changing is the hardest part—what might have worked a year ago is no longer workable now. The trick is to learn to be flexible and to trust that the person you're in this marriage with can be flexible too.

Normally I have a nice and neat conclusion for my commentary, but tonight's not one of those nights. Jeff calls this mood my "thinky" mood—where I seem distracted but quiet and unwilling to explain why. Mostly because there's not really a reason; sometimes there are just times that I need to let my brain churn in peace. I suppose that's my brain's way of processing this sensory overload I call life.

Anyway. Tonight's peach cobbler was good. We've got to kill the wasp nest that's growing on the front porch, and the basil's growing like crazy. I got the thyme and savory seedlings transplanted, and if I get real industrious, I'll get some more stuff (trans)planted tomorrow.

Here's to surviving another day. See you tomorrow.