Walking on eggshells

The post title is an idiom, or figure of speech, meaning one must deal with a sensitive or delicate situation or that one must tread carefully. I had the misfortune of a literal case of walking on eggshells earlier this week.

I mentioned that a mallard hen had nested behind the clematis trellis. Yesterday I was cleaning up the storm mess of leaf clumps and twigs and noticed nine broken eggs. The duck was not on her nest. Raccoons are known to raid duck nests and there were a couple of “calling cards” left in the yard suggesting one or two may have been responsible. The hen was on the roof of the house looking down at the nest. She was favoring her left leg. When I checked on her an hour later, she was gone.

It has been quite stormy since Thursday and we may not see a turn for the better until Monday. Monday is the only day without a rain chance all next week. A church has a sign up front reading “Thank you, God, for the rain. We’re good now!” Sometimes you get what you pray for.

It is not a secret that I am clumsy, and I have the scars to prove it. I have had to tread gingerly, to “walk on eggshells”, because of possibly exacerbating an injury or repeating an embarrassing stumble. Thankfully, the platform shoe era of the late 1970s and early 1980s is no longer with us. I had a couple memorable face plants courtesy of those evil contraptions. The only thing more dangerous was dressing in combustible polyester clothing and dancing in a crowded disco where everyone had lit cigarettes. Darwinism must have taken a break during the disco years.

We have all had to “walk on eggshells” at some point for differing reasons: fear of hurting someone’s feelings, fear of reprisal, handling a volatile situation, gently encouraging or supporting someone. As a manager, I would deal with occasional volatile situations, especially dealing with clients. I gave performance improvement plan recommendations that could result in job termination if not completed. I recently was on the receiving end of some news delivered very gently because the other person was concerned about my feelings and reaction. It was very touching, and it turned out the walking on eggshells was unwarranted. Being concerned about someone’s feelings while having the courage to deliver the news showed a lot of compassion and class.

Expressing feelings to another person is another common reason for walking on eggshells. I still find it hard properly expressing feelings, though I think I have gotten better at it through the years. Perhaps we should be more open with our feelings towards those closest to us. It would greatly reduce misunderstandings, although it would completely eviscerate the romantic comedy and romance novel industries.

You may notice many of my posts end with the hope that you give a meaningful hug to your loved ones. Lucy would give me at least a dozen hugs a day; now I go weeks without receiving a hug. Do not take a hug from a loved one for granted, and do not waste the opportunity to give one. I know how hard it is to tell someone how much you care about him or her, but you should do so occasionally. Actions speak louder than words, but actions in addition to works are louder still. It is a wonderful form of positive reinforcement.

Whether you have recently started dating, or you and your spouse are married long enough to reach the precious gemstone anniversaries, take a moment and consider how lucky you are to have someone who wants to spend time with you, and how that brings joy to you. Joy is contagious but not harmful, so infect the world around you.

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