Sara Whitman

The Pressure to Perform

Filed By Sara Whitman | September 02, 2009 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: LGBT families, Maine, siblings

I was just told by my lovely son Ben how he is going to get me some wrinkle cream for Christmas. He pointed to my forehead, my eyes, and said... here and here...

Just sayin', Mom.


So poetry and beautiful words were easy in Downeast. Now we are home, back in Newton, back to reality. Not so easy anymore.

The reality is, I have a relatively small house. Built in 1910, rooms are small. It has not been added on, with the exception of a horrid addition in about 1970. Think fake wood and stucco.

It's packed to the gills with Jeanine's studio, studio stuff, old computers who are her long lost children, probably close to 500 technical manuals... my sweetie is a pack rat. I need her mom to come up and toss stuff.

She won't yell at her mom.

And her mom is the only one who can yell at her about all the crap she has everywhere.

It would be great to think Jake and Zachary could seamlessly share a room. That's not the case. The basement has to be cleaned up so the drums can fit there. Then rooms, beds, desks, shifted, balanced... in the meantime, Jake tells me he's not brushed his teeth for the last week because he couldn't find a toothbrush.

Ew. I mean... ew ew ew.

The camp laundry has been fermenting for an additional two weeks and I can barely stand the smell as I stuff it into the washer. Most loads have to be done twice. The towels all need to become cleaning rags because they are too far gone.

I'm trying to fit in a depressed, sick woman into this. I love my sister. There is no question. But I find myself beyond stressed in trying to make it all happen. Jeanine and I had a terrible fight last night. Steam popping from both of us, for no real reason except the pressure to perform.

Did I mention the Maine Campaign is in full swing and I've promised to work as hard as I can for it? I believe in Maine, I believe the vote can be won. But it won't be easy.

I want to open my house and I don't want to open it right this second. I'm caught without a moment to breathe, a desk full of promises and bills, my mother's estate, now years later, finally wrapping up.

And I have wrinkles. Clearly, bad ones.

One of the old cats (not the fat one, she's healthy as a horse) has heart issues and I have to chase her around twice a day and get some pills into her. Take her to the vet for another chest xray. Doing better, still not the best. My god, I think. She's 16 and still breathing. Still quite content to sit on my keyboard as I try to type. That's better enough for me.

It all felt doable in Downeast. It was simply a question of opening arms, and wanting to. Here I realize, it's not that easy. I finish a conference call and have to see if I'm headed to the emergency room today or not. Ben is hanging out with friends, Zachary and Jake over to Tom's Pizza for a slice, have the dogs gone out?

I love my sister. But I have no idea how I'm going to do all this.

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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | September 2, 2009 9:58 PM

You do it the only way you can. Day by distressing day. Try and keep your calm and tell Ben mom is going to a nice SE Asian country for a full "do" when she is ready.

If anyone can handle it, I have faith that it will be you.

I'm sorry you and Jeanine had a fight. For us, sometimes we just have to pull away and disengage until we've both calmed down. Stress only magnifies our ability to get angry easily.

I love your sense of humor.