Love Can Be a Rice Ball


In my family I was always the one the children went to for hugs and kisses. I was the mush, the softie, the emotional dishrag. My husband on the other hand was the cool one who sometimes was even perceived as distant. We are ying and yang, Mars and Venus and most of the time it works for us, that is when we aren’t arguing with each other about how we uniquely handle things.

I tend to worry and get upset over family situations, as any good mother does. Donald wants to know what needs to be done and goes into “fix it” mode. My first reaction is to call a friend and cry, Don asks the question “What do I have to do?”
A few weeks ago when our daughter Christine got sick we each reverted to our familiar roles. Then we were told by her doctor that she should have someone with her when she went home from the hospital, since she was experiencing dizziness, as well as overall weakness and fatigue. When my children are hurting I want to be the one to be there for them, but unfortunately making a living and paying the bills gets in the way. Donald works from home so he volunteered to be the primary caregiver each day, a role I was not so thrilled to relent. I wished that I could be there to mother and as Christine puts it, to “smother”.
Armed with his work laptop, Don would stay with Christine almost every day, all day. I would come over after work and on weekends, whenever I could. When I first told Christine about this arrangement, she looked upset that I would not be able to be the one to help her. “Daddy’s not compassionate,” she moaned. “Daddy will learn to be compassionate,” I assured her. I went home and cornered Donald with a threat, “You better be compassionate, or else!” He said, he’d try and I knew I had landed on Mars.
And though Donald is definitely from “Mars” he has risen to the occasion and tapped into his compassionate side. Christine mentioned that every day he brings her a roll and butter for breakfast and he stops to get her a rice ball for lunch. “After all” he said ” she doesn’t feel well, she should get what she likes and she likes rice balls. No big deal.” But it is a big deal- he has picked up her medicine, answered her phone, walked her dog and made sure she ate, all while trying to put in a full day’s work. He looks like he’s handling his role well, but I know when he relates Christine’s condition to the many family members and friends who call that it is upsetting to him. No matter what planet you are from it is difficult to see your child too tired to move or watch them haltingly struggle across the room using a walker.
It seems that we learn our most prominent life lessons during times of stress and crisis. Besides re-discovering that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, I’ve also learned the following:
I’ve learned that letting people help us, is giving them the chance to show us their love.
I’ve learned that sometimes mothers have to let go and let fathers step up to the plate.
I’ve learned that people need to love you in their own way.
I’ve learned that some people like to share their feelings and others want to just show them.
Most of all I’ve learned that love can be a rice ball.
Written by Janet Miserandino, ©2008

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  • Traci

    Simply beautiful!