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Thursday, March 31, 2011

EGR- Extra Grace Required!

Rick Warren in his bestselling book 'Purpose Driven Life' apart from talking about many wonderful things, also talks about how in life we meet certain kind of people who come under the category of 'Extra grace required'. When I read this I found it very funny and kept chuckling to myself. Oh sure, I can come up with a big huge list of such folks I thought. I mean, haven't we all constantly met people who drive us up the wall? That annoying manager, that weird neighbour, that foolish young cousin and so on? Infact, I am sure I could possibly be on someone's list too. Ouch!

No, but you know what, I am having to come over here and vent. This post is dedicated to my neighbour, lets call her X. This lady has forced me to loose it completely. As it is I have this pressure to be a good wife, a good mother, a good home maker, a good daughter, friend, lover, sister, chef, chauffer, pacifier, counsellor and what not and here she comes along and unravels it all with one thoughtless comment or an insensitive remark or some insanely selfish act. I will try and not bitch about her but lets get it clear folks, it is tough not to. So we met last year in the corridoors. While playing with our respective brats. Her's is a two year old while mine is two  going on twenty but that is not the issue here. We started chatting and were happy to discover that we are both born again christians. How difficult can getting along be and what are the chances that living in an Islamic republic you have a Christian neighbour sa? Mobile numbers were exchanged. Promises to visit were made. The mandatory expat-questions asked and a playdate arranged for the very next day. So we went to her house as planned. Enter mamma and Yohaan- wait what's that smell. Smells like poo-literally! And it was all over the living room. X seemed blissfuly okay about this, so we also braved it and plonked down on the couch. Which was unbelievably filthy! Took a deep breath....calm down mamma, she is as hassled as you are with a toddler around and there is only so much one can do. Shut up and dont judge. However, tell me this readers, how can one not be upset about such obvious filth? Without judging, but really it is your house, please keep it clean and okay so the visitors are not the presidential variety still show some consideration no? I can happily let my son play with mud and sand and muck but asking him to fool around in human crap is asking for a LOT! Lets not forget that we are never offered anything to eat or drink, but that is okay because we could die of the germs found all over her house you know! And we dont want that.

And this hygene thingy has been never corrected. Her house is a landmine of germs and I have no idea how to refuse her invitations to visit. But wait there is more. I get asked all kinds of weird questions for eg: how much money does you husband give you to spend on yourself? To me that is as bad as asking me my salary which err, by the way is zilch. While I am trying to come up with a suitable answer I get this- are you happy in your marriage, do you have plenty of sex? I have no words now. Many of you would wonder why did I keep going back to her...inspite of such exemplary behaviour on her part. Well I have to be honest here then. Initially for the longest time, it was out of sheer lonliness. The need to bond with another new mother, some woman- any woman- to get some break. And the bonus of having a child who is close to Yohaan's age seemed like a blessing. So he too would have a friend. I continued it for more than six months. We have visited each other often along with our boys. Cooked for each other. Talked a lot about parenting, our faith, our lives here in Dubai and back in India. But something kept us from clicking, that feeling of 'Oh i have a good friend in her' never happened. Soon I reached a stage in our relationhip where I withdrew emotionaly  but kept up the pretense for Yohaan\s sake because he really loves her little boy. But I now realise I was wrong. I wasn't being sincere in my friendship and am ashamed to admit that I haven't been real with her.

About two months ago, X started fussing about Yohaan's behaviour. Her son is essenially a loner and hates being touched. He will sometimes not want even his mother to hug him or cuddle him or kiss him. He has been spoilt and over protected to the extent that anything and everything which wont go his way will send him flying in to a tantrum. Now Yohaan is the other opposite. He is extremely social, mild mannered and very demonstrative. He is quite the touchy-feely sorts too. Till date I cannot recount a single tantrum of his. Easy going and calm by nature, like his dad I guess. Yohaan has been known to bestow kisses and huggies on random people at malls and parks. Which by the way has been deemed as dangerous behaviour by X what with so many sick people on the prowl. I cannot compare because all children are different and have their own individual personalities. But try getting such polar opposites to play peacefuly and you might want to check in to rehab! So when Yohaan wants to hug his friend he will scream and cry which makes X think Yohaan is being rough or worse, hitting her son! She will then be very stern and ask me to leave or ask me to spank Y. And this happens at every single playdate. Never mind that her son refuses to share his toys, will hit Yohaan for hugging him etc. See what I am dealing with here?

   I have diagnosed that the problem is not our kids, it is us mothers. We claim to believe in the same word of God but clearly we are not on the same page here. We come from very different cultural backgrounds inspite of being Indians. We are from a different social class, economic background, we studied differently, we eat and wear differently, we are married to men who themselves are polar opposites of each other. Even though the body of Christ is above all this I am just so sad that these differences have crept between us. Satan will try his best to cause rifts. However, in all honesty I can claim that I have tried very hard to be forgiving and understanding but now I cannot go on because she has consistently proven to be toxic. From the way I keep my house, the way my husband makes money, to my mothering style, the church I go to, the clothes I wear, the make up I use, to our outings, our lifestyle-she has a strong opinion on everything and will never ever refrain from voicing it out. One remark like ''why do you fuss over your husband's meals so much'' or ''Yohaan will become gay if you let him play with your scarves and makeup'' not only astound me they hurt me to the core. I cannot believe that an educated person leave alone a Christian can speak like this! Often I have come back from her house in tears because I have been hurt and felt judged.

Apparently, she has been gossiping about me to my maid (we share one) and has called our friendship (or whatever there is left of it) a waste of time. I got to know about it this afternoon and this was the last straw. I am  not wanted and it has taken me so long to realise it. I normally dont give attention to what the other wives are talking amongst themselves simply because it it mindless gossip and I have no time to sometimes breathe, leave alone socialise. All I wanted was to get out for a while and meet somebody nice and get my son to have fun with other kids. It breaks my heart to see my son, who is such a social being like his parents, be alone and not have kids to play with. Anyhow, just as I am done writing this post I think hubster and me should get busy and make a sibling for Y, a playmate if you will. What say?

And now that I have vented, please do feel free to send me lotsa love and concerned filled comments. I have finally decided to let go of X. Good from far, far from good!! Should anyone feel I can handle this differently or you have a strategy to basically feel better about this, send me a lecture. Am open to all kinds of advise. I guess I am also looking for assurance that I am doing good by saying goodbye to this so called friendship. She is my EGR person and I want to breathe again. Good, that feels better now. Breathing. (Such a drama queen)

2 comments:

tarabhatt said...

Oh dear! Its very sad that you got hurt so badly.. you should have withdrawn much earlier but i know easier said than done.. now that you have made your mind, put it behind you but not before giving her some piece of mind if you get an opportunity and feel like it..

I am not sure how you can get friends to socialize with but i guess evening walks in n around the house/parks might be one of the ways. I see so many women sitting and chit-chatting while their kids play around here.

n finally sending lotsa hugs your way and hoping you find peace and some really nice (graceful) friends :)
amen!

Neethu said...

Sorry to hear about Mrs. X, Sometimes we are so shocked by people's behavior or words that we are left speechless and cannot retaliate... earlier i wished that the LORD would give me words of wisdom like Jesus when He responded to the pharisees aptly, but now I know better, Jesus could read a person's heart not us, better be the one who is hurt than hurt others and feel awful..
Prayer is the best remedy, remember the hymn "what a friend we have in Jesus all our sins and griefs to bear, what a privelege to carry everything to GOD in prayer, do thy friends despise forsake thee... take it to the LORD in prayer, in His arms He'll take and shield thee.. thou will find a solace there.." Lots of Love