*Vulnerability enclosed. Faith approved, she felt that others might learn from what our family went through today.*
Journal Entry #28
There is this cool thing that happens when I meditate. Once my focus is entrained on my breath, and I notice that there are gaps between the thoughts, I allow myself to fall into the space between thoughts. It is like everything unplugs, and I become the observer of the thoughts, life…well, everything. I float, I can see the thoughts, I can see my body, I can see life happening and unfolding…I don’t have to do anything…I can just be…in the cool experience of letting go.
Turns out cannabis, does the same thing to me when I take the strain for pain. It is like my body and my brain unplug from each another. I can clearly see and watch the pain, but I don’t care that it is there…I don’t feel it, but I know it is there. I can see it, but I don’t have to do anything…I can just fall into the space between pain…I can just be in the cool experience of being unplugged.
Unfortunately, I can’t meditate my way through parenting. I can’t vape my way through being a mom. There is no gap. There is no space to rest. It is a 24 hour, 7 day a week for a lifetime commitment, that has no room for human comfort. There are no exceptions or exemptions, parenting doesn’t care if you had plans, how you are feeling, or how exhausted you are. When you are a parent, you are “on” all the time.
Which is why, tonight, after conserving my energy all day so that I could go out to see some friends tonight, I am sitting home…writing…while my little girl cries in the next room.
Follow through parenting sucks.
Today, she lost her phone. Her Amazon Alexa, her make-up AND her friends birthday party. She had to write her friend a letter explaining why she wasn’t able to go, after making plans to be there. It was a day of digging holes and testing limits for Faith. The sassiness and disrespect went to new heights today. I know, that this isn’t her normal temperament – that she is stressed and hormonal. The fear of not really understanding what is happening with me took over today. She is scared. She is stressed because the household roles are so different. And these big emotions are ones that she doesn’t know how to navigate yet. Over the years, we have learned to pick our battles with her and on days like today, I wonder if we have let too many things slide? Regardless of the fear and stress, sassiness and disrespect are unacceptable and must come with consequences.
Don’t get me wrong. We gave lots of opportunities for redemption. We used positive re-enforcement. We had lots of rational and irrational conversations today. We set her up for success to earn back the Birthday Party more than 6 times. She just dug in deeper, stomped, slammed doors, held her ground and tried to bring us into her pity party of “I’m sorry I’m not good enough for you.” Which is very concerning.
As parents, we feel that if we are going to “threaten” to take something away should a certain criteria not be met, then we MUST follow through. Years ago, when the kids were really little and Tim was travelling so often, I remember the kids losing the TV as a punishment for their actions. Once they were in bed that night, I remember crying to Tim, because I felt punished too. The TV was my helper when I was getting meals ready, or if I needed to take a call when he was away. And without it, it made life difficult for me just as much as them. It was a big lesson, to know how to choose what to negotiate.
We don’t enjoy negotiating discipline. I am sure most other parents don’t delight in the chore either. It is trial and error. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t. All we can do is our best. Reaffirm love and safety. Pray. We aren’t trying to make clones or perform rocket science here. In the end, we just want to raise strong, independent leaders, forward thinkers, kind and compassionate human beings…and survive the formative years. And with any luck, on the other side of the raising and sculpting, we can be friends.
So tonight sucks, because I was really looking forward to getting out of the house for an hour or two, to see my friends and feel like a normal human being. I battled nausea hard today, slept and took all my medications and supplements and conserved energy so that I could do this one thing. Instead, all conserved energy has gone into mending my broken heart (I hate to see her suffer through learning how to navigate life) and consoling a distraught girl to the point where I have not enough Tic Tacs left to leave this house. And even if I did, I simply couldn’t leave her alone in the state that she is in. She needs hugs.
These lessons are tough. Follow through is rough. Parenting is hard. But just like any anything else in life, it is only temporary. These stages of growth and development will be a blip and then we will be on to the next stage of life and learning. We have to get through this one, to get to the next one.
It must be hard on my family. Me being down. It must be scary for them. The kids are used to being the center of attention with everything in life revolving around them. Although we have worked very hard to maintain their schedule and not disrupt their lives through this journey, they aren’t used to having to share the attention, or not get what they want, when they want it. I wouldn’t say that our kids are spoiled with stuff, but they are definitely spoiled with time and attention. They are still getting attention, they just aren’t getting it the same way that they did 3 months ago.
Maybe the slamming doors and crying is pointing us to the lesson. Where we thought we were raising a strong and independent girl, perhaps we have been promoting a self-fulfilling, self-serving environment. An “I’ll scratch your back IF you scratch mine” point of view. Somewhere, we have missed teaching initiative in compassion…and today is an opportunity to halt all of us, to re-evaluate and find a new approach. An opportunity to have a new kind of heart-to-heart conversation.
The end game hasn’t changed.
We just need to find new stepping stones to get there. I know that there are lots of routes to get there. And I pray that we find the right one for us, for her and for our family soon. Because, this blip, on top of the other blip and all the other little blips that go with that blip is a recipe for a perfect storm. Lord knows we need rain for the flowers, but right now, I could do without the thunder and lightning.
I much prefer rainbows.