I’ve been going through the ringer lately. Personally. Professionally. Motherly. Wifely.
Is there some kind of unwritten rule after your 100th post you fall apart?
How does one come back from a dream over a year in the making, financially and emotionally expensive, crashing down around them? I guess I’m figuring that out right now.
Breaking and trying to rebuild only to be so fragile the whole structure just breaks again, and you get even more discouraged and start having a tantrum.
I’ll grasp at any other dream right now to try and calm the pain. That’s how I work. I move forward while suffering, and the forward movement becomes my saving grace somehow, even when I can’t see it or feel it yet.
A dear friend of mine was recently talking about presence. So not surprisingly it has come up for me this morning. My wife and I had an argument yesterday. A fight really and honestly in two years we haven’t had much of one. We got into that space where neither of us could hear the other over our own feelings, and both felt justified, but all the while missing each other and wanting to find our way back. But every time we would try to come back, it would flare again. My wife is much softer on the outside than I am. When any kind of intense or overwhelming situation occurs for me I can go to a very cold and dark place, and I’m not accessible or pleasant when I’m in there. I am seeing that I will not escape talking about trauma as my legacy. I’ve tried for a long time. After all I’d like to be one of the “normal” people, that does not become filled with terror at the slightest hint of someone’s upset with me. It feels wriggly to admit that 🙁 even in this sage space with those who love me. They are deep inside feelings.
Anyway more in trauma later I promise. For now a quick summary of the argument includes the couch story. Have I ever told you guys this story? Well Courtney (my wife) came with this god forsaken piece of her history. Her and her ex partner had purchased a very very expensive designer, custom made couch. It is fabric and had plush down cushions and should only be washed by the hands of the Gods. Basset furniture professionals.
Anyway we saw a therapist for a few sessions to transition and blend her into our family. One thing I remember distinctly this woman saying was do not bring that couch into your home with kids and dogs. We kind of knew she was right. However the problem is she had just used a giant chunk of her savings to pay the thing off and we couldn’t have gotten 1/4 of the cost of it. What a loss! We decided we would rather have this nice piece of furniture while agreeing we understood the risks. Never in the history of the world has a therapist been more correct.
My Frenchie Sigmund Freud has a bad habit of peeing on anything fabric if he isn’t taking out just about every hour of the day. We have tried everything about this. Sprays, trainings, quarantine. Another problem is he is such a love bug that if he’s not on you at all times he will cry. He’s extremely high maintenance.
So he has christened the couch no less than several too many times, and trying to fix the problem is a whole production. To the point I am nervous that damn couch will become my children’s trauma. As any good mother knows washable pleather is the only reasonable choice for one’s sanity in the realm of children. This is why we can’t have nice things is a phrase often tossed around in our home.
Teens will be teens, and I think if they wandered around anxiously terrified something will become dirty I would be so much more concerned than them being careless. Is this bad ?! I see what pressure does. I see what people who can’t relax end up like, body wise and heart wise. Given the choice more mess, less stress would always be my credo. But the average person who has never lived with children, never mind navigating the complications of cohabitation in general, likes to have order and cleanliness. And don’t get me wrong I like those too. But for me it came down to that or my sanity. Sanity won out and I had to battle what everyone would think, the possibility of feeling like bad mom, etc.
So this is what happens. My wife and I try to go away to get some time to revive an us, to not get lost in the shuffle and our current grief pit. But whenever we do all hell breaks loose at home. The kids are too old to need a babysitter for one night, when the neighbor across the street is there and vigilant, and too young to be expected to have the weight of the world on their shoulders while trying to do well in school, and have their own things going on.
So we got to Vivint’s annual conference in MA, and whilst there get a barrage of texts about the state of affairs at home. The bulldog has claimed the couch his with his signature marking, a gift to us I’m guessing he thinks. And the kids are scrambling in terror to blame whoever is responsible, and we are a state away and now our presence is taken from the conference and stress ensues. The kids are stressed, we are stressed, and that boils over into a few trauma triggers for me. This will be continued as I said because I think it’s really important to speak openly about.
After a few hours of anxious albeit blessed rest I have to clean up the mess I caused the day before any a fury. Threatening to get rid of our dogs, almost sleeping on the couch, and this is a land I haven’t lived in for oh so long. And clearly not helping the kids figure out how to be better while also letting them know they are always loved and safe. I withdraw because I don’t know I’m loved and safe so often. My mind goes elsewhere seemingly no matter how hard I try. It swims to me being a burden, and I cause a partner stress, and all of this chaos.
Anyway this morning. Argument resolved with my wife, though both drained and sad by the interaction, and me trying not to blame myself for being so intense about such things…. and now will come clean up with the kids. So much shrapnel can be left from only a minor interaction such as this. 🙁
So my takeaway was this: I ended up looking at the bulldog this morning and thinking how much I love him and could never give him up, and then stop and picture my kids and how proud and grateful I am, and my life. I am present fully awake, not frenzied by this or that fear or thought, and I feel love and compassion for all of us on this crazy adventure that is my creation. When you create a big life and have big dreams, it’s also a big responsibility, and mine is never to resent it, and always to cherish it, and to continue to learn to stay in my heart.
I want to stay in my heart. I want to be nurturing and not just furiously driven. I beg for the strength to calm my wounds and do this.
I want my wife to know this couch is something we are grateful for. We have had amazing memories on it. The teenagers hang with their friends, we snuggle on it. It isn’t perfect but it means so much to us to be loved, and for her to take a risk on coming so much out of her comfort zones. Does she know she has saved several lives, and is our personal hero? I hope so!
So this was what I wrote this am regarding this:
You know the kids and the dogs are the same concept. Pause and look at them and slow down to take care of them and appreciate what they bring to life (that isn’t just stress) and you’ll smile and feel happy thoughts. Rush through things in a frenzy, don’t stop and look, be running on a healthy dose of stress, and want them to just function independently
and well without any nurturing, and you’re in for a nightmare !