So Halloween is done, and it was fun, it really was. It’s the fun of seeing all those traditional things like halloween and Christmas roll around for small people. It’s exciting and fun in a different way to when things are directly exciting and fun. I was going to say that it’s even better because your own expectations of things don’t get in the way, but that’s not necessarily true. I think sometimes we can get even more het up about creating the “perfect” traditional experience of things for our kids. Even when we might not have ever had said traditional experience ourselves. Maybe all the more so in cases like that.

And then, of course, sometimes kids just aren’t excited about the things we expect them to be. It’s the toy vs the box it came in analogy, but applied to experiences. Sometimes all the children want is to stare at one interesting street decoration, or climb up and down on a particular boring (to us) wall, and we rush them on to the “main attraction” (a puppet show, a parade, whatever) and that’s just not what they’re into. I often think we (well, I, let’s own this, I) get wrapped up in my own expectations of what they should be enjoying and I fail to pay attention to what’s actually interesting to the small folk.

Now, today, I’m going to have a house full of small folk. A friend’s mother has an early morning appointment and needed eyes on her nearly-three-year-old for a few hours. So I suggested she spend the whole day and that some other friends come over to play later in the day too.

Was this a good call? Am I falling into the old trap of offering more than I truly have to give? I hope not. I don’t think so? There’s this idea that keeps coming up in some of the alcohol-recovery podcasts and blogs I occasionally check in with: service. I don’t know why it’s supposedly so important to those escaping from alcohol usage, but I have read that you get way more benefits from attempts to make others happy than attempts to make yourself happy. Crazy, right?! I guess we’ve evolved to be such society-dependent creatures that in a way it makes sense for there to be a reward for helping others in society.

So maybe this is my offering to some of the small section of society to which I belong. I mean, God forbid I’d actually be altruistic, right?

There are others in my small personal society that I’d like to help too, but I don’t know what to do and I’m always so conscious that I might be overstepping bounds. And so I do nothing. Which externally looks (and feels to others, no doubt) the same as not caring. So maybe it would be better to make ham-fisted attempts to help and at least those people, for whom I care so very very deeply, might get some small benefit from knowing that they’re not on their own in this cold spiky scary adult world.

But I’m too much of a coward.

I’ve had several (several is how many? More than two anyway.) friends mention things not going particularly well in their marriages. And I don’t really know how to respond. I can’t really say “everything is fine, don’t worry, that’s normal”, because – and I don’t dispute the “normal” aspect of it – the truth is that sometimes things don’t work out for marriages.

But then sometimes people go through really rough patches of feeling disconnected from the person who’s meant to be their life-raft, right? Coz the storms of life are just as bloody hard on the person sailing with us, and when things are at their hardest, I think we’re at our worst at connecting and placing ourselves in another’s shoes. When things are at their hardest, a lot of us have the tendency to isolate and curl into ourselves. When things are at their hardest, sometimes the last person we want to talk to is the person who’s going through it too, because they don’t have the bandwidth for sympathy for us, they’re sinking under the weight of it themselves, so then you’re more likely to look elsewhere for connection and feel less connected to your partner.

But some storms and hard times can make a couple stronger and closer. On the other side of it.

You know, I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’ve relatively little direct experience, though me and G. have sure had our own hard times. I guess I just wish I could help, but I don’t always know the right things to say.

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