There is a song that Madeline Kahn performs in the movie “Blazing Saddles” that never fails to crack me up. The incomparable Madeline, as a character named Lili Von Shtupp and in a spoof of Marlene Dietrich, sings about being worn out by unsatisfying romantic liaisons with men.
“I’ve been with thousands of men, again and again, they promise the moon.”
Here is my version of “I’m Tired” sans the sultry look and sexy ensemble –
I’m tired of never finishing my second cup of coffee because Mom is up and needs breakfast.
I’m tired of Mom asking where I am going every time I leave the house for a walk, grocery shopping, exercise class, coffee with a friend, or other diversion.
I’m tired of trying to balance Mom’s needs for in-home comfort with John’s needs for out-of-the-house socializing.
I’m tired of not being able to hop in my car and take a day trip, or an overnight to see either of my children who are in different states.
I’m tired of telling acquaintances that I am not technically an empty-nester when they ask if my house is quiet with the kids gone.
I am tired of Mom not being able to follow more than one direction at a time, and having to repeat even that single direction.
I am tired of Mom flinching and complaining every time a curse word is uttered during my favorite TV shows.
I am tired of not traveling when in fact this was the long-anticipated time when my husband and I figured I could finally accompany him on business trips.
I’m tired of spending limited quality time both inside and outside the house with my husband.
I’m tired of those moments – once rare but increasing in frequency — when I wonder how much longer I can do this.
Let’s face it. Like Lili “I’m pooped.” But here is the other side of the coin. Or — as my neighbor Debbie said after spending some time here – “Life is good in “The Josephine Zone.’”
Debbie was right. Life can be good in “The Josephine Zone.” For the first time in my life I am watching movies all the way through and getting “lost” in them. I am learning the satisfaction of preparing satisfying home-cooked meals more often rather than paying a small fortune for weekday takeout dinners. I have learned the art of “cocooning” and shutting out the rest of the world. I am playing along to “Wheel of Fortune” and impressing Mom with my puzzle-solving skills. I have learned to make the most of my limited time for social events and outings – enjoying them more and not worrying so much about how I look and act. I have tackled the crocheting and sewing and writing projects I had thought about for years. And thanks to my mother’s enduring love and appreciation, now so simple and pure, I have begun valuing myself more as a person in my own right and not a conduit to someone else’s happiness or success. I am finally laughing more and crying less.
Be productive. Be helpful. Be nice. Be proactive. Be better-informed. Be spontaneous. Be a planner. Be creative. Be supportive. Be reliable. Be sociable. Be useful. Be the life of the party.
Finally I know the truth. All I ever really need to do was “be.”