Sunday, April 11, 2010

I Was Here First

Having a guest stay more than three days is the same as stubbing your toe and going to the hospital and finding out it's broken. Sure you're going to get over it but you're going to have an unpleasant time for awhile.

Having my teen-aged grandson stay a week and a half was like a toothache that wouldn't go away. While he was here, sleeping on the twin bed in my computer room, he scattered his clothes everywhere, left half-empty pop cans everywhere, even near my computer, left dirty dishes in the living room and didn't shower as often as he should have. He stayed up most of the night and slept all day. If the dog barked, he came down complaining, if anyone did anything that he didn't like he told us.

Unable to get to my desk and computer, I set up a temporary office on the kitchen counter. The first day he came down and asked if I were going to work there. I affirmed I was and he said he wanted to work there. He didn't want to work upstairs alone in the office. I pointed out the coffee table in the living room was free, but he said he wanted to work up high like on the kitchen counter. After each statement, he waited for me to respond he could work there, that I would move.

Now I'm at heart a nice person, accommodating, thoughtful, make everything alright for everyone around me, if at all possible, but sometimes you have to take a stand. So I tilted my chin and said very sweetly. I was here first!

We, women one and all, usually don't do that. We give in. We don't stick up for our own rights. My grandson wasn't offended, he shrugged and went away. Later I told him he could bring his computer and set it up next to me and that's what he did. We sat side by side, talking, blogging and e-mailing. It was fun and it occurred to me that if I'd given in and moved my computer elsewhere, I would have felt ill used and resentful and Eric and I wouldn't have had that moment together.

So it's okay to say, I was here first. I count too.

As for my grandson's visit. Before he left he came downstairs and leaned against the kitchen counter while he looked all around and said. "You know this house is always the same. it never changes." A little miffed, I tried to sort out what he meant. Was he saying we were boring. I asked, "Do you mean it's a stable house?" He replied. "Yes, it never changes. Whenever I come here I know it will be exactly the same. It makes me look forward to coming."

That so touched my heart. So while I'm picking up the single sock he left behind and gathering up the pop cans and putting the dishes in the sink and changing sheets and airing out the room, I'll smile because I learned two things while he was here this week. One that it's okay to say, I was here first and secondly, it's okay to stay the same. There's merit in sameness.

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