THE BLOG
07/09/2014 05:07 pm ET Updated Sep 08, 2014

One Way To Keep Perspective Around Family

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I've been breathing, a lot.

It's not really breathing as much as it is sighing.

I actually looked up the reason for sighing online. What it told me was I either needed to get more oxygen to the brain or that I'm depressed. But I don't think it's either case.

I've been sighing a lot, because it's the only act I've found that calms my nerves. It's a moment where I remind myself that everything is OK and that my life doesn't have to be like what I've grown up with or been surrounded by these last two weeks at home with my parents.

Here's what these weeks have looked like to me:

Even though my dad said he'd take the trash down, he sits at the table working on his laptop. His wife, my mother, stares at him in disbelief, thinking he said he would do it, why isn't he on his feet with bag in hand heading down to the basement. But instead of saying something like, "Honey, I'd love it if you could take the trash down now because... " or better yet trust that he will do it, she rolls her eyes gives me a look like can you believe him, and grabs the trash on her own. She slips out the door without him noticing, and when he looks up he says, "Where's your mother?"
"She took the trash down."
"Now why would she go and do a thing like that?"
My mom walks in.
"Why'd you take the trash down? I said I would do it."
"I just wanted it to get done. It's fine. I did it, OK? I decided I wanted to just do it."
Dad shakes his head and lets out a small huff.

He opens the refrigerator and peers inside.
"What do you need?"
He doesn't hear her, because he's deaf in one ear or because he's learned to decipher what is and is not important.

"Hello," she walks up behind him, "What do you want? There's turkey, eggs, lox."
He pulls out a Tupperware of hard-boiled eggs.
"Honey, if you carry it like that the extra water that's gathered inside is going to spill out."
My dad doesn't listen.
"See, see what happens," she takes the Tupperware and opens it for him.
"Why can't you just let me do it? We have different ways of doing things."
"But why would you want to get water all over yourself?" My mother looks around, "Now what did I just do with my coffee mug. Ugh, so stupid."
My mom picks up the coffee pot. "The day I decide to make less coffee, your father wants some. This happens every time. But, it's OK. I'll just have to make some more."

I sigh.

A couple of years ago, I would have let this scenario seep into my pores and cause a physically negative reaction that made its way quickly, like vomit, up and out my mouth resulting in remarks of disbelief or a shake of the head or a rolling of my eyes; but today, I remind myself that while we can't choose our past, we can choose our present.

Today, what I take away is how I want my world to be different. I close my eyes and think about my relationship. The following is how something similar to the above situation would go.

Even though he said he'd take the trash out, he sits on the couch playing video games. I look over to my man and note how attractive he is when he's fully paying attention to what he's into. How passionate of a person he is when he's moving his hands, then how he pauses to look on his computer to learn how to crush the bad guys. I smile. I walk over and sit next to him on the couch. When he's finished a level, I lean into him and give him a kiss. "I love you."

I go upstairs to do some work while he's enjoying his free time, relaxing playing video games. An hour or so later, I hear his steps up the stairs. "Hey," he stretches his arms out to the side.
I get up and give him a hug. "Hey."

"You hungry? I was thinking of going to the store and making some kind of stew."
I nodded. "I'll go with you."

In the kitchen we lay out all the ingredients. I clean the vegetables. He starts chopping for preparation. We are different, him and me. I would just throw herbs and spices, liquids and such in as I felt fit, but he follows a recipe. "I believe they're guidelines," I say. "Rules make me nervous."

He laughs, "You make me nervous."

He does a bit, and then I do a bit. A call comes in, and I take a break. Then I go upstairs.

An hour or so later, we're sitting down.
"This is so good, babe. Thank you." I gently tap my foot against his under the table.

It's nighttime now and I'm snuggled in on the couch. He walks to the kitchen ties up the trash and takes it out, like I knew he would.

I open my eyes and know that I'm still at home visiting, but where before these scenes would drive me batty, have me anxious and even worse, make me think that was how relationships had to be, now I sigh and take mental notes so that I can go back home to where I live and do better. I sigh. I sigh because these events are no longer predictions of my future, but now reminders that I have a choice in how I want to live and love.

How about in your life? What are some scenarios you could start to see differently? Seeing them less as the only way to live and more as a reminder that you can choose to live differently.