The Things I Don’t Say

My levels of pain and irritability seem commensurate. It might be time to get out of my chair and take some ibuprofen.

But I can’t.

Might be time for new slippers, too.

It’s like a dying ticking clock: scratch…scratch…scratch…

I really think I might throw up. I hate rodents. Do something, Shane. Do something!

See, the problem is, there’s no place else in the house I can go. I can’t go back to bed, because of the snoring. Aislyn still sometimes has accidents overnight in her bed. Desmond is too old, now, for me to camp out in there. There is only the living room with my chair.

Now, if I had a nice papasan chair in the dining room, maybe I could handle this a little better…

Or maybe not. I might be able to hear it from in there, too. Or hear a different one from in there.

I’m literally living out my domestic nightmare, right now.

I can’t say there were never mice when I was growing up. In our Lynn apartment, when I was five, I saw one when my mother opened up a kitchen cabinet. My brain stubbornly insists it was eating oatmeal. I was so shocked by the spectacle that I couldn’t speak.

My mother later would tell this story, saying, “I could tell Leah had seen something by the look on her face.”

I saw one run through our backyard in Swampscott. Never in the house. But I guess that doesn’t mean there weren’t any. Just none as far as I knew.

My parents tried rather unsuccessfully to shelter me from a lot of unpleasant things. When I was four and Grampy died, my mother told me he’d come back someday.

You can imagine my disappointment when, at six, I asked when he was coming and finally got the truth.

When I was ten and got head lice from a friend, they told me it was “dead skin” they were pulling out of my hair, strand by strand. And I believed it! Even with the RID kit staring me in the face while I sat on the toilet, waiting for them to finish combing.

But then one day Paul’s friend, Nathan, came to the door and said, “I can’t come in cus your sister has lice.”

My parents weren’t bad parents. They couldn’t have been, or I wouldn’t be in as good emotional shape (as odd as that sounds) as I am. Let’s face it, things could’ve turned out much worse for me.

Growing up with a mentally ill mother was traumatic. I consider myself lucky. I could’ve landed in a hospital, myself, or rehab, or prison. I came out of it with depression and anxiety. Lots of people have those.

I think they were just young and inexperienced, like many parents. Didn’t always know exactly what they were doing, or the ramifications.

My dad one time, not very long ago, said he was feeling badly about how he parented us back in the day, and my heart just broke for him. He was a good dad. He tried. More often than not, people parent how their parents parent. Not everyone. But frequently.

My dad was the stern one when I was younger. And I had a mouth on me, believe it or not. So we clashed a lot until I hit adolescence and my mother fell apart.

But he helped me through the very worst part of my childhood, and he was the only one. I didn’t tell him that. Perhaps I should have. I’m funny about seeing or hearing my dad get emotional. It’s alarming to me, for some reason.

But still. I should’ve said that. Often, I regret the things I don’t say.

So, my dear readers, thank you for being here for me. Thank you for listening. Thank you for reading me everyday, hot mess that I am, and accepting me in spite of it.

Thank you for seeing me. Thank you for loving me.

I love you, too. ❤️

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