Last night I did the unthinkable. I withheld my love from my children. They had completely dismantled a handmade necklace, scattering it in every direction. When I found them it was too late to salvage the piece, bedtime was minutes away and my head was going to explode. Fuming, I yelled for them to get to their room! and then went into my office to try to settle myself. It was Tim’s turn for bedtime and I decided that I was just going to get my yoga things together and leave the house early, give myself a few extra minutes to calm down.
One thing led to another and the early start to class did not happen. But I saw one of the boys run by the window on the outside patio and started to see red again, knowing they were drawing out the already arduous process of bedtime yet again. I yelled, telling them to get back! to their room and get in that bed!. I turned off the light, shut the door and went back to find the ever elusive pieces of yoga that I need for classes. And then I heard it … from their room.
I could hear him crying. Racking sobs, so loud. I knew Tim was in there, that they were not crying out of fear. But even more, I knew exactly what I had done. In my anger I had diliberately ignored our bedtime ritual, the kiss-hug-high five and repeat that happens every night unless we are too far to touch. I had ignored them racing past the window which was the two of them looking for me to say sorry and get that hug-kiss-high five. I had let my anger get the best of me and was hearing the result of it.
I opened the door. Mason was there, devastating tears and deep sobs, Owen just staring at me, closed face and shut down. Both looked at me and I opened my arms and they came into them. I felt their still small bodies burrow into me, I apologized for being so angry and also for being so mean. I apologized for letting my hurt hurt them and then we cuddled and laughed a little and said a proper good night.
Yoga last night was like a purge and a prayer. I have been at the end of my tether in so many ways lately. There are times when being stretched so thin in so many directions feels like it will never end. Sometimes the hardest tether to take is the one of Mother. There is no rest from it, it is a ceaseless demand and a challenging position. Sometimes the tether feels like a noose as they refuse to eat this or cooperate with that or take 10 minutes to usher from car to house or house to car. It is no matter that I have to work or launder or cook or clean, always the Mother part comes first now because it should, because it has to, because they are and so that it how it is.
It struck me as I thought of writing this post that so much of it has to do with what I am mothering. They are children now, unmalleable in many ways. They are assertive and have desires and wants and wishes and ways of giving and holding back now too. They challenge us daily to think of new ways to entice or engage or just get away. They make me worry in a different way as school and reading and learning and Life starts coming in. I am feeling a new fear, unacknowledged until this moment, that I cannot do this. That I don’t know the right way to do this. That I am hurting more than helping, that I am fucking them up.
That feeling has not gone away as I write this, my fears still sit at the back of my throat as we contemplate huge life changes, knowing they will have to go along with any ride we choose. But I know one thing. I am not going to with hold my love from them, no matter what anger sparks from whatever is happening. Because that was a scary thing and it left me feeling empty and them feeling so sad, so sad. Chalk it up to another lesson in the land of Mothering. A good one, an important one, an essential one.
Going to go hug one of my boys now. Lesson learned.