H E L P!

Not only a fabulous Beatles song, HELP ! speaks to me tonight. 

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody’s help in anyway.
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured,
Now I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors.

I think getting older puts new perspective on this.  I reflected on this tonight as I drove home and I encountered a love/hate relationship with this concept.  I recall growing up and being quite good at “going it alone.”  I remember my mother telling me numerous times that as a child, I did not embrace someone helping me in any way.  I took fierce pride in that, I still do.  However, I find that a more lonely place to be now that I am older.

When I hear my mother mention that now, there is less pride and more sadness that takes over in those moments.  I think to myself what it would look like to rest in that dependence on another person…to lean into what others have for each of us.  I have spent years and years “producing” and it is quite difficult to let go of that.  I never wanted anyone to help me.  I take that back, I did and I did not.  I found that it was safer to work it alone, solo mission, that way there was no one left to blame if things did not go as planned.  I had no one to blame but me.  I also had no one else to lean on in times of trouble.  There is a danger when we cut people off from our lives, we stay safe, but we lose. 

In my family systems class I learned that sometimes a “Cut-off” is necessary for individuation and self preservation.  I understand that.  Bowenian theory tells us independence is not simply about “cut-off” 

Yes, people can always pretend to be independent and sometimes these people can exist for years cut off from family relationships. Many people do indeed manage to build alternative families.  Over time these relationships may work but if a when they fall apart; people are often left high and dry for someone, sometimes anyone to relate to

Ya know, I am slinging BS.  I don’t know what I am talking about right now.  I could wax poetic till I am blue in the face, I could sling all the Psycho babble in my MDIV training, I could hide.  The fact is, I call others on their BS, so I’d best be able to do it on my own.  Facing those comments from my mother make me scared, I like being independent then, but there is a part of me that yearns to hear what my mommy would do when I threw my temper tantrums of fierce independence.  I look at my own sons and I pursue them doggedly.  I do not let them push away, I do not let them wander off alone…I mean I do, but I don’t.  I remain steadfast…annoyingly so.

As I come to the end of my seminary journey, I look back on some that have been there through some mighty thick and thin.  No matter what was thrown at them, they remained steadfast beside me.  They know who they are, and I must admit that I did my fair share of pushing and “mothering” to the best of my ability.  Some got in my face, went toe-to-toe with me and others forced their way into the midst of my life no matter how often I tried to shut the door.  I did and I do, often.

It’s easier to function that way, but it is not more pleasant.  It is lonely and it can be highly manipulative.  Yes, I called that out.  Those dogged independent types like myself can be horribly manipulative, not meaning to hurt, but to protect.  In that protection there can be more isolation than what was originally intended, and the only person to blame is self.  I used that position to garner a lowly spot and I have no idea what it gained me.  None.  To what end do I continue to take perverse pleasure in neglecting the kind hands that others would extend? My gut tells me I am not the only one to behave in such a manner….I won’t be the last.

Emotion, being human is not a weakness.  I am learning to embrace the strength in that, it is not easy.  It requires that I know me, inside and out.  It requires that I fight to let others help me, sometimes I have no idea what that looks like—maybe it is a gifting and an understanding that I have to grow into as time continues.  What does that look like?  I know not…maybe today is the first step to admitting that I too, need HELP!

 

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As Promised

I promised that I would write more about this experience, so while my boys giggle over Star Wars Padawan Menace, I shall attempt some thoughts.  The Menace is pretty funny actually, I am not the least perturbed by the hi-jacking of my tv.  Who am I kidding, I have not had viewing rights for the last 5 years, why should 2012 be different?

Yesterday I talked about how I grew up mentally the night my son was admitted.  Each day I visited him and called at least 3 times a day to see how he was doing.  There were moments when I said prayers for him that he cried on the other end of the phone.  My heart broke in those moments.  A couple of times he called me in tears because the evening movie was Old Yeller and he did not want the dog hurt.  Mind you, I have never seen the movie and based on his reaction I don’t think I ever will.

The fact is, my son was and is a tender-hearted soul that sees and perceives things on a level that most people do not.  I thought it was a character flaw, but in watching him I consider it a gift.  He watches programs on the History channel about saving the whale and dolphins and sobs because he is too young to solve the problem.  He loves animals, but would never be a veterinarian because that would mean that he has to put an animal down sometimes.  He can’t stand the idea of anyone or anything in pain.  I champion that in him.

The question is how to best help him navigate in a world that is desensitized and instantly gratified.  What he feels and understands is not surface, it goes to the core of who he is.  Truth is, he is just like his mama in that respect, so to have him in this situation was doubly difficult.  I wish I could think of some way to toughen him up, allow less to seep in, but I cannot.  I know why he tears up at the end of the Prince of Egypt.  I do too, for other reasons.  He is adept at music, art, and has the vocabulary few second graders ever hear.  He is good-looking, athletically built and talented, creative, kind, and compassionate.

Additionally he wakes in the morning bouncing off the walls, screaming to anyone that will listen; half the time I have no idea what story he has invented it comes out so fast.  He stops long enough to choke down some breakfast and is off running around the house again.  If we are lucky, nothing has set him off and we can get out the door to school without incident.  Many times there is a hold-up and one of the 2 is throwing a tantrum.  You see, the youngest has learned behaviors copied from the oldest.  Makes the household interesting to say the least.  Right now I have Alvin and the Chipmunks on and my youngest offered his brother a cheese stick.  His response?  To cower in the corner screaming that they are poison and we are trying to kill him.  Really?  Really.  I thought I was over dramatic growing up, this kid has nothing on me.

When I hear people laughing that the mother’s curse is alive and well, I cringe.  I know what it is like to have a son so sensitive that it is tough to talk with him, one never knows what will set him off to temper tantrums.

Honestly, it makes me feel like a horrid mother.  I sit in fear almost daily wondering how his day in school is going, does he have friends, is he happy?  Does he feel good about himself and his place in the world?  My hope is yes, but I cannot guarantee that for him.  Just a moment ago I cleaned up orange pop from the arm rest of my chair, because both of them decided it was a good idea to wrestle each other from it.  Also mixed in is blue-green powder from a dip n stick thing that my oldest dumped on the chair and proceeded to lick it off like a dog.  Is this the hallmark of bad parenting, are these behaviors normal or the result of my incapability to parent them?  I watch as they grab a snack from the kitchen and then leave wrappers wherever they sit or they simply throw them on the floor…..lack of respect, yup.  Tired of it I am.  The second I confront the behavior the oldest smacks himself in the face and stares at me to see if I am watching….the youngest is learning the same trick.  How much is situation and how much is without control?  Who knows.

It makes for one tired mom and a pretty stressed household.  I spoke earlier about the effect on others when an illness is present.  This is one of those hallmark moments.  The consummate feeling of failure or that I am getting what I deserve from the way I acted as a child.  My family would chime up  that I was incorrigible and my school voted me most dramatic–as a joke not in fun.  There are times when I think, why should I not get payback in reams?  I was not a treat for my parents to raise and my brothers would tell you that I was a pain to have in the house….(true that is the case for any brother talking about their sister.)  There are times when I feel so much out of my control that I simply want to sit and bawl and I cannot.  Everyone will tell me, it is what it is….buck up and deal with it.  I shall and I will, some days it  sucks and there is no easy way to say it.  Alas, it is what it is.  I must go, my 2 are wrestling in the middle of the floor and if I do not stop someone will end up in the ER.

Shalom,

cahl.

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