Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sunday Promenade

It is dusk.
The setting autumn sky is casting strange shadows.
Arm in arm, my family heads outside for an evening walk.
Our dog, Zoe, wags her tail and prances beside my husband.
My son grabs my hand and walks beside me.
We play little games as we walk.
We practice going "slow" and "fast".
"What's that sound, mama?" he asks.
We hear a chirping noise from our neighbors fenced garden.
"Hummm.... is it a cow?" I ask our two yer old.
"Nooo." he giggles.
"Is it a bear?"
"Is it a chicken?"
"Oh your right. It's a cricket!"
"A cricket?" He delights in this new word for a few moments
Then we continue our promenade through the quite Sunday streets.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Conflicting with Conflict

I hate conflicts.
Its something my body naturally avoids.
I can't function around angry people.
Irrational anger is an emotion I cannot relate to.
Very little makes me uncontrollably angry.
Sometimes when people yell, it makes me want to laugh.
I brush a lot of things off my shoulder.
I'm selective with my battles.

But there are times I am forced to speak up.
There are times when conflict slaps me in the face.
There are times when I can feel my heart pounding in anger,
Even when my head is saying "calm down."
What do you do in times of conflict?

Some people love it,
They roll around in it.
They blow it out of proportion, just to make it last longer.
You can see the raised heart rate is exciting to them.

Some people blow up fast,
They get everything out of their mind,
A volcanic eruption of emotion and profanity,
And then they restore themselves to rational and calm.

Some people swallow it,
It becomes a part of their bitter being,
The object of their anger may never even know it.
The anger remains long after their memory fails them.

I maul over conflicts,
I will think about the issue for days,
I lose sleep, I lose my appetite.
I meditate on my anger, trying to find the root of it all.
And I won't act until I know what the perfect solution is.

I'm not sure what the best approach to conflict is.
My way results in many fewer conflicts, but it isn't really great on my health.
It can take me days to get over something, I think I may have gotten an ulcer.
Sometimes I wish I could just blow up and move on.
Sometimes I wish I'd come up with the perfect words that would be the slap in the face the offender needed at the moment.
Mostly I just wish conflicts were more avoidable.
Can't we all just be kind, and curtious, and get along?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Surprised by Guilt

Parenting is surprising.

When I was pregnant,
I wondered how I could love someone I never met.
I was surprised at the instant love I felt for my son,
the moment he took his first breathe.

I was surprised at all the things I've done,
that I swore "I'd never do."

I am surprised that I daily say sentences like,
"Yay! Pee Pee on the potty!"
"Sharing is a lot more fun. See it's nice when we share."
"Stop that is enough. I said stop! No!"
"We can watch choo choo trains after we eat dinner."

I am surprised by my strength.
I am sometimes surprised by my shortcomings.

But mostly, I am surprised by guilt.
Parenting a child has a unique way of highlighting all your faults.
I never thought I was very selfish or short tempered before,
But somehow my sweet two year old,
points these faults out in me in a way only he can.
I feel guilty that all my parenting trials and errors are tested on my first born.
I feel guilty for washing dishes when my son wants me to play.
I feel guilty for taking shortcuts when I'm exhausted.
I feel guilty for losing my temper sometimes, on stuff that is no big deal.

All this weighted guilt compounds itself with an overall uncertainty.
Am I doing this right?
Is this okay?
Can I trust my instincts?
Will my son talk about me to his psychiatrist one day?

Raising a child in love is one of the most self-less things you can do,
I knew it would be hard,
It's the guilt, the uncertainity that is hard to swallow.
I can't get a parenting report card... maybe that is a good thing.