The beauty of annoyance is that it is a grace allowed to us because we are alive to experience it. And it’s beauty is that we experience it in relation to others.
My husband drives me nuts sometimes. He leaves his tools everywhere. He can be impatient, and yet be the last one out of the house when we are ready to leave somewhere. Sometimes, he will harass our family into watching a movie he’s rented…only for him to turn the movie on and leave the room to do something and not return…because he forgot he was supposed to be watching the movie he so diligently persuaded everyone else to watch with him. It drives me NUTS. All of these things. They sometimes make me feel like a crazy person.
My kids too. Those beautiful, messy, chaotic, sweet, compassionate monsters. All four of them. Being their mom is this whirlwind of tears, laughter, loneliness, lack-of-privacy, and heart-bursting love all at the same time. And sometimes that feeling, or better- FEELINGS, can be a bit overwhelming.
I’m a little ashamed to admit that until recently, I didn’t fully recognize the privilege I have of being annoyed by these little things. Now, I’m not trying to downplay those emotions I feel- I am, as is every partner and parent out there- allowed to feel annoyed by their family once in awhile. What I’m about to say in no way takes away the fact that relationships are messy and we are ALL allowed to feel certain ways about certain things within those bounds. But what I am about to say is a reflection of the intense emotions I am experiencing because I have the luxury of being alive to feel these things.
A couple weeks ago I got a phone call from my mom at 10:00 PM. This wasn’t normal and so I quickly called her back. She answered with a crackling voice and said “Jenn, say prayers for your Auntie Judy…Dave went kayaking and never came back”. My heart sank. My Auntie Judy has a heart of gold….SOLID FREAKING GOLD. I often feel like the black sheep of my mom’s side of the family. It’s not because anyone has intentionally made me feel like that…I know they all love me. But it’s just the way I feel sometimes. I feel a bit like I don’t quite “fit the mold”. I am quirky. I can be “A LOT”. I know this about myself. My Auntie Judy and my Uncle Dave, and their boys had this unique ability to make me feel like I fit exactly where I needed to be. Like I really belonged. You know? Regardless of what my house looks like, or what the topic is…Judy and Dave would be the first to walk right in, make themselves at home and just love on my whole family with laughter and acceptance. It truly is a beautiful thing to have people like that in your life. That just accept you for all your weird quirkiness and just answer it back with their own special blend of quirkiness too.
Dave never came back from that kayak trip.
A week later, I got more news from others who were experiencing loss too. It seems loss is in abundance right now for so many and my heart aches.
The other day, I had asked my husband to bring some cardboard boxes to my car so I could bring them to be recycled. I went to get in my car with my boys and of course, he had brought the boxes to my car….but he had put them on the seats so I had to move them to the back myself. I felt myself become instantly annoyed. As I shoved the boxes in the back of my vehicle, they all slid out and into my driveway…I started cursing. I’m pretty sure my neighbors watching me out their windows flick off a stack of cardboard boxes got a great kick out of that. (You’re welcome for that if any of my neighbors are reading this). After getting the boxes into the car I thought about what I would say to my husband later- still feeling annoyed. And then I thought of my uncle. As quickly as I felt annoyed, relief rushed over me. “I GET TO BE ANNOYED WITH MY HUSBAND” I thought. Wow. What a privilege. Yes, you read that right. What a freaking privilege I have that he is still here, doing things that drive me nuts. What a privilege it is for me to get to share with him that I feel frustrated with him sometimes, and for him to get to tell me that I annoy the crap out of him too.
Since that moment I have paused several more times to think about the privilege I have to get to experience all the ups and downs of my family. That I get to be graced with their beautiful chaotic presence that most of the time I absolutely adore, but sometimes annoys me. Because that’s life, right? And that’s relationships too. We exist in relation to others…and as such we get to experience the whole rainbow of colored emotions to go with that existence. And THAT is such a blessing. Such a privilege.
So I make this vow. As some would pour a drink for those who can no longer be here to experience it, I instead vow the following:
I no longer take for granted the privilege I have. When I feel annoyance, or love, or awe, or anger, or disappointment, or laughter, or happiness…I will remember how privileged I am to have this existence. I will remember the beauty in the hard times and the fact that I exist in relation to. I will love hard and fiercely, and I will forgive quickly…because time is not a luxury we all are afforded.
I will thank my Uncle Dave for the time that he gave our family, and for the beautiful family that he created with my Auntie. He left behind a legacy of three wonderful men who have kind and compassionate hearts. He left behind a beautiful wife who will forever hold a special place in my heart and soul, who I know she is who she is because of the love and life they shared together. Thank you Uncle Dave. You will be very much missed.
(If my post inspired you, or you feel inclined to do something- my Aunt and cousins have set up a Gofundme page in my Uncle’s honor. The donations for his memorial fund will go to creating an Aqua Alert system for those lost in large bodies of water, as well as to install beachfront surveillance, in addition to other measures to help ensure this doesn’t happen to another family….any donations received on this link would go to this cause and are greatly appreciated: https://gofund.me/1ac08596 )