Friday, July 30, 2010

checks and balances

do you ever pay self-imposed taxes? a pound of flesh sitting on the scales of checks and balances?
even as a little girl, i believed that all good things come with a price. that there is a universal karmic balance, so to speak. if i did something wrong, if i lied or intentionally hurt someones feelings, i would mentally make a red check in the debit ledger. the next bad thing that happened to me? i drew a line through that check. a mental tally, so to speak.

bryan tells me i'm impossible to surprise. i will probe and ask pointed questions, i will work the situation over and over in my head until i reach some kind of conclusion. perhaps it's learned. there were aspects of my childhood that were so well hidden from public view, i learned never to trust the surface. people are only as good as their word when they're telling the truth. the result, however, is that even the good surprises are hard to hide from me. it's one of my weaker qualities.

have you ever watched a human being develop cognitive thinking skills right in front of you? there you are, eating what most definitely falls into the top five of all sandwiches you've ever eaten, as your man explains to your two and a half year old that showing each other the chewed up food in our mouths (while gross and hilarious) is bad manners. fifteen minutes later she attempts to wipe her yogurt smeared face on the curtains and you stop her. you explain she will get food on the curtains.
she giggles.
bad manners, mommy. bad manners, daddy.
you and the man you created this human with look across the table at each other.
because you realize she just put two and two together and for some reason she knew it was four.
i suppose i'm not that hard to surprise after all.
flesh and balance and bad manners lined up all in a row.


  1. i've always had a sense/fear of if something good happens, something bad must occur as well. even though i've seen how totally f'n false that is. some people get WAY more than their share of bad. some more of their good.

  2. i watch you watch her, your tiny person, and see you be surprised over and over again, you both learning. it is a gift of a place to be in, watching these little people become.

    the karmic thing does seem to happen, while, like Maggie says, there is no real balance.


  3. growing with parents that love each other as much as they love you is the most beautiful gift

  4. I always felt our actions would be returned in kind and that a peaceful home was a happy home. But peace at any price? My "checkbook life" always seemed to be in the red - until you came into my life all those years ago and then Bryan and Finn enfolded me into your family. The love and trust (and yes, blossoming wisdom in this little person) in this circle has given me the most balance I've ever known. Thank you. xxoo Mom

  5. I leave my pounds of flesh everywhere, piles of payment. Thing is....I think they go largely unnoticed. It is only for my benefit, and I wonder at the level of that? The harder I strive for balance, the more tipsy I get. Or is that the wine?????

  6. I like your stories and the way you tell them.

  7. I have the same tendency to make checks and balances in my head... I wouldn't be surprised if it's a survivor thing, as bad things happened to us so we did the math in our minds and concluded that we must have somehow earned it. For fear of earning it again, we stumble through life like superstitious mathematicians, always counting the blessings and curses, always making sure the balance is carefully kept.

    But I'm betting that you, like myself, get very unnerved when justice does not come to those who do wrong, and bad things happen to those who do good.

    It is the most tragic thing about life, that the above happens all too often.

  8. I do love watching the little ones learn. It's exciting and surprising and ever life affirming. What could be really, really unfixable so long as two and two keep adding up to four?


use your kind words.