I loved Annie (the little orphan) so much when I was 11 that I wanted to dye my hair red soooo badly. I idolized anyone with red hair. I thought the lady in the church choir with fiery red hair was the most blessed woman alive. One day I’ll have that color of hair, I promised myself. So once I was done having babies in my early 3os, I went for it. Let’s just say… um, I’m better as a brunette. After all, I was closer in age to Miss Hannigan than Annie. One of the songs I love from the musical is, “It’s a Hard Knock Life.”
It’s a hard knock life for us. It’s a hard knock life for us. ‘Steada treated, We get tricked. ‘Steada kisses, we get kicked. It’s a hard knock life…. Don’t it feel like the wind is always howlin’? Don’t it seem like there’s never any light? Once a day don’t you wanna throw the towel in? It’s easier than putting up a fight.
Excuse my whinese, but I’m feeling a bit like I have the hard knock life right now. I’m trying to balance the not-so-easy circumstances in my life with an appreciation of the blessings I have. But today I’m finding it hard to stay in the gratefulness. Instead I want to drop to my knees with my rag and bucket of dirty water and scrub the floors and get all this negative energy out while I chant the words above. In fact, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched as I am wearing overalls and a bandana from painting the kitchen earlier today.
So what’s so bad: for starters, my husband has been in a lot of stomach pain today. He has been taking oral steroids to try and calm an MS exacerbation that won’t seem to let up. I don’t know if it’s even fair to say exacerbation because it’s not as if he had been in remission. He’s been declining in his mobility a little at a time and this was one of the ways his neurologist has tried to jump start some relief for him. And he was doing well. Really well. Until today. Now he sits here in great physical and emotional pain and I whine. I whine for me because I am filled with fear. And I whine for him – that his days are stolen from him and he can’t run outside with our boys as they head to the backyard to throw the football. I whine as I watch the agony he goes through just to do the simple things.
I sing it’s a Hard Knock Life about my dad, the former executive of a major company, who sits in the adult psychiatric ward trying to calm his anxious, racing, delusional thoughts. I wonder if I’ll ever get my dad back. I wonder if I’ll have to say goodbye to the person he once way. I am so thankful he’s alive today. So grateful that he came out of the nasty encephalitis this summer. But I sit here confused at this onset of psychosis after a few months of a miraculous recovery free from any of this wackiness.
I sing it’s a Hard Knock Life about my week, full of sick kids and a nasty cold. I sing it as I try to ready our house to sell, overwhelmed at all the details that need to happen to even consult a realtor. Stained carpet, leaking roof, chipped paint, clogged gutters, on top of the every day chores of running a household while driving kids to and from school, helping with homework, finding restful sleep which lately seems just beyond my reach.
I sing the verses of this song tonight because I’m having a pity party. I know I have friends who are in much more dire circumstances than me. And I want to let it sink in that things are not really that bad. But then I feel like I’m being tricked instead of treated. I’m being kicked instead kissed. And it feels sucky. Very sucky.
I meet with some amazing women on Saturday mornings. We drink coffee and share life. Today I heard many of my friends share how hard it is to be honest. Truly honest. I guess that’s what I’m practicing here tonight. At the risk of sounding like I’m the biggest ingrate of all, I just sit in raw honesty and yell out that it IS a hard knock life. Yet I know God hears me. And I know when I exhaust myself from scrubbing “this dump until it shines like the top of the Chrysler Building…” my dear Father will scoop me up and hold me.
For now though I imagine He watches me.. and He waits for me. Watches me as I’m splashing this dirty, slimy water here and there and demanding that I get out of this little pity party I’ve created. Watches as the tears mix with the water in my bucket. Waits for me to throw in the towel. Then He comes. Not a moment too soon. Not a moment too late.