Emotional Midget

My mom has this cousin named Dan. Before we go any further, I need you to know that I belong to the type of family where you know your mom's cousins quite well. They are like bonus aunts and uncles and their kids are bonus cousins. And when you're little, they teach you important things at family picnics, like how to mislead people into thinking they have a stain on their shirt and then to knick them in the nose when they look down to check.

Dan married the truly lovely Shauna early enough in my childhood that I don't ever remember her not being there. Their growing family began with twin boys and all the fun and rough-housing you imagine that would entail. They were blessed in the years that followed with Jessica, Jaide, and Jaicee.

Visiting through the years, the boy influence prevailed. I remember one summer one of the twins running in the house stunned, noticeably shaken as he confessed to his dad that he'd been going fast enough on the 4-wheeler to overturn it. His dad sternly emphasized how lucky he was to be alive.

We were visiting a few years ago after the twins had grown and were out of the house. Feigning his disgust in a classically hysterical Dan manner, he talked about what living in a house full of women had done to him now that he was surrounded by only daughters.

"There's barely any of me left," he said. "They have reduced me to an emotional midget." He winked as he pulled one of his daughters close and kissed her on the cheek.  

One day she finally grasped that
unexpected things were always
going to happen in life.
And with that she realized
the only control she had was
how she chose to handle them.
So she made the decision to
survive using courage, humor and
grace. She was the queen of her
own life and the choice was
-Lupytha Hermin

I remember the day I discovered this quote. My friend Amber had posted it on her Facebook wall. It was a breath of invigorating air. I had never read something that rang so true to who I wanted to be. I remembered seeing a print option on my smart phone whenever a picture was displayed, and so I used it this time. I was pleasantly amused to find the quote lying there waiting for me when I got to the printer. I knew where I wanted it to go. 

Unloading the dishwasher was something I could expect to do at least every other day if not every single day. And this quote would hang on the inside of the cabinet door where the plates were stored, so that every time I was loading plates back into the cupboard I could remember and hopefully become that kind of woman.

I loved that quote.

I wrote to a friend, "I can be fine one day and in utter complete despair the next. It's nice in that I do come up for air, but I feel like I have been programmed, as optimistic as I try to be, to know I won't be able to maintain it, to know it will only be a matter of time til I end up in that pit again. So I try to prepare, and write myself nice letters to strengthen my faith and cheer me up when I go down there. But without fail, it is hell down there. I lose my confidence. I lose everything that holds me together, no nice song or picture or quote or even scripture has ever worked to encourage me when I am down there. When I am down there, it doesn't matter how many times I have come back up, I am certain that I will never come back up again."

These words swirled through my mind at the end of another day I had survived by trudging along.  My energies were focused on my next goal, an emptied dishwasher. I opened the cupboard door, ready to shovel clean plates in, and knew what was hanging on the other side. 

I hated that quote. 

It was everything I wanted to be. Everything I tried to be every moment of every day. But I did not handle the difficulties of life with courage, humor, and grace. Minor inconveniences crushed me. It hung there on the cabinet door, mocking me.

I was an emotional midget.

Next Chapter: Graves


  1. Your description of the pit is perfect. Yes I have been there. And it's true--you feel like you will never emerge.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.