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Smells like teen spirit February 22, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in parenting & family, politics, WAHM/WAHD Stuff.
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Actually, it smells more like dog spirit. My house that is. It’s been three days since the offending canines have left my house. (See “A morning in doggy hell” for that horrid story.) I’ve finally reclaimed the house, or rather, returned it to The Toddler, but the house still retains a ghost of the doggy odor. Thankfully, it’s only the smell of wet dog and not dog crap, but nonetheless, it seems to linger. I’ve febreezed. I’ve lit candles. I’ve lit incense. I’ve sprayed with fresh lavender mist. (Real lavender that is from my favorite little oasis.) Perhaps the smell is up my nose or in my brain, as I’m still a bit ticked about the whole experience from the weekend. I know, I need to get over it…except for the fact that when Darling Husband told sister-in-law about Saturday’s events, she laughed. No “sorry.” No “that’s awful.” No concern over her nephew eating her dog’s crap…just a laugh, bordering on a giggle. (Had the shoe been on the other foot, she’d have gone ballistic and found it to be the furthest thing from funny.)

But that’s not the point of my post. I’ve learned a few things about this experience. After almost five years of marriage, I’ve learned that dealing with in-laws can be a constant learning experience, a delicate dance even, that perhaps is not always mastered, if I listen to those who have been married longer than my husband and I. (Then again, it does depend on the in-laws.) It’s hard to say no to relatives sometimes, but even more important is knowing when what it is that you may have to say “no” to is really something that you should say “yes” to or whether your buttons are being pushed, heart strings being tugged on and generally, manipulated. Let’s face it, family (whether by blood or chosen through marriage or partnership), seems to know just how to get to you and work on the sympathies. (Guilt stick anyone?) There is also the fact that when it comes to family, they often still see you (or your spouse) in their former pre-marriage, pre-family roles. Ah, family politics. My husband, being the youngest of his siblings, being the single one who could often be called upon at a moment’s notice, is often still seen in that role. But now, he has a wife and a young child, and at times, it is as if those additions to his life and to who he is are (conveniently) forgotten. It’s kind of unfair. Of course, there’s also the role of wanting to play “the good son,” the “good brother,” to make nice. (Apparently it’s not an affliction that only us women-folk suffer from.) And these parts of the whole can create conflict when they collide with also wanting to be “the good husband,” “the good father.” I don’t blame Darling Husband for the weekend shenanigans, by the way, the circumstances of dog sitting were just a manifestation of the conflict of both of us wanting to be “the good ________” (insert the gender-appropriate family role of your choosing) and needing to be true to ourselves and our little nuclear family. So emotionally, it smells like teen spirit, a reminder that no matter how far we get away from our adolescence, those emotions, games and dynamics can still come into play when it comes to inter-extended-family dynamics. So, we move on beyond this, a little wiser for the wear (hopefully) and have now learned the importance of saying, “no.”

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