Control not always worth keeping

By Anita Doberman: CNJ Columnist

I am trying to learn one thing as I grow older. Yes, even I attempt to grasp higher truths, and these are not tips to be a better cook or crafty mom because they are impossible tasks for my incapable hands, but notions that I really have no control over most things that happen in my life. I am a passenger, OK a backseat-driver kind of passenger, but a passenger nonetheless.

On some level I know this from clear empirical data, no matter how much I plan things they always unfold in different ways, but on another level I resist it. My weak and faulty nature tries to convince me that I am really the boss, so I keep trying to exercise some type of control over my life, much like I try to exercise some type of control over my frizzy hair with poor results on both accounts.

I shouldn’t have been surprised when this weekend my frizz reached uncontrollable levels and my husband woke up with a “ginormous” swelling on his back. His ribs were significantly pushed back in some sort of hunch. I cheered him up by telling him that he could audition for a Broadway production of Hunchback of Notre Dame and told him to immediately go to the emergency room. But he, being a man, rejected both suggestions and told me that it was probably a pulled muscle or something — of course he didn’t elaborate on the something — and instead insisted that we go on about “our plans” of getting to church to meet some friends.

While in the car, he got violently ill and we rushed to the ER while he turned a dark shade of blue. After a few hours of waiting and tests, we were told that he was sick indeed, thus his blue coloring and hunched back, and that he had a large infection in his stomach, perhaps related to his burst appendix and numerous complications from two years ago, and that that they were going to do surgery in the next few days.

For someone like me, who likes to be in charge, it’s not easy to deal with change that doesn’t originate from my busy mind and come to terms with the truth that I have no control over this situation, especially when I see my husband sick and in pain — he is now a light shade of blue. I alternate between telling myself that everything happens for a reason and feeling frustrated and exhausted — I still have my six little children to focus on while I go back and forth between hospital, home, and their various activities.

But, things could be much worse. So every morning when I wake up, I have tried to accept my frizzy hair and our present circumstances the best way I can. I try to remember that I have to enjoy this ride with frizzy hair and hospital stays because I am not the one in control and hopefully I can find peace to face whatever comes next.


Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at:

dmcalavy@telescopelab.com