The War Of Words

stock-photo-two-teenage-boys-screaming-at-each-other-isolated-on-white-104713055

Recently, I have been thinking back to the days when the boys were young. Those were the days and many of them I would never like to repeat. They were stressful with meltdowns and words that took a cruel aim to the heart.

“I hate you” “I wish you were not my mom” “You’re a whiney little jerk” “Mom, he called me a butt.” Those kinds of things. Normal, yes, but the frequency at our house was 100 times what was normal. It was exhausting.

I remember at one point trying to get the boys to think before they said something. Hard to do when you are seven and in the heat of the moment. Hard for me to do now at 55+ and if I am honest; I have never been a model for saying quiet well-thought-out words.

During these early days of chaotic boyhood, a friend once  told me what she asked her kids when the War of Words was going on. I thought it was genius and wished I had done more of it as they grew up. She would ask her kids:

Is what you said kind?

Is what you said helpful?

Is what you said loving?

Often times just by asking these questions I found I could bring a temporary respite to all the chaos. It was a blessing. It taught my kids that words have meaning and repercussions too.

Recently, I was thinking back to those times and I decided that those questions of yesteryear were valuable not just for kids but for me too and I have been trying to be mindful before I speak by asking myself these questions before spouting off. I have also added two other questions to ask myself before responding to others:

Is what I am about to say true?

What is my motivation (honest) for saying what is on my mind?

Admittedly, it is hard for me to remember to ask myself these questions before talking. Often, I fall far short of where I would like to be. But usually, if I just pause before speaking, I can do a quick inventory in my head of the answers to these questions and decide whether my response is:

True

Honest

Loving

Kind

Helpful

 

If what I am about to say is not any of the above; I am trying to learn to shut my mouth and keep it that way. As a person who has shot from the hip most of her life this is a real learning experience for me. A challenge akin to climbing Mt. Everest. It is not easy. It takes a little bit of awareness and planning. But every time I succeed in being mindful I know I am getting to be one step closer to the person I want to be which gives me hope that maybe one day before I die I will master this ability to speak mindfully and to shut my mouth when needed. But somehow I suspect that it might take my deathbed to figure it all out if even then. Yet, I keep trying because I know for the sanity of all involved that when I am kind, loving, honest, helpful, and true I give the best of myself to those who deserve only the best of me.

Amen (so be it)

images

 

Going Away

IMG_0825

As you have probably figured out my birthday is coming up this week. I find as I get older they are harder to swallow. On the one hand they mean I am creeping closer to death with many goals unfulfilled but on the other hand the alternative is not attractive. Frankly,  I am so grateful to be alive after all my body has been through. I realize that had I lived in other places that lack the type of health care I receive that I would died long ago. That is a sobering thought.

This year I seem to be doing a lot for myself for this birthday. I blame this on my therapist who keeps telling me that I need to take time for myself and do some self care with all that is going on in my life and that maybe divorce looming deep and dark everyday. I need a lot more sitting quietly with myself and a touch of zen. Getting to this point is somewhat of a miracle considering I have been a mother for over 33 years and doing things for everyone else. If I am honest sometimes I would just like a break from all the challenges that accompany motherhood and autism. So later this week I am going to take a well earned one. I am going to the ocean later in the week and B will be working part time so that I can do this. (Bless him)

I love the ocean. It makes me feel renewed, fresh, inventive and intuitive. It sharpens my pen and my mind. While there I plan to:

Read several books

Sit on the sand and watch the sunset

Sleep as late as I wish

Go watch the baby seals

Sit cliffside and watch for whales

Hike along the cliffs

Go swimming

Take naps

Meditate

Tend to the garden

Work on my novel

Sleep in the nude

Listen to actual records from my collection

Maybe put together the outdoor furniture if it comes

Take myself to dinner every night

I might even sit at a bar and flirt a little (if I can even figure out how to do it since it has been a lost art form for the past 30 years)

 

I have to confess that I am a little nervous about this. I have not been alone for an extended period of time since…well, I don’t know when. I can’t even tell you if I have ever been and I am concerned I will either go stir crazy or I will discover that I drive myself to distraction. Can you get sick of yourself? I guess I will find out.

I am also looking at this time as precious and nourishing to my soul which makes me excited about the possible discoveries I may make. I hope ideas percolate to the top giving me greater clarity about the things I need at this point in my life. I hope that I feel a sense of peace and tranquility that is often lacking in my life as I run to schools, doctor appointments and the like. And I hope to tap into those parts of me that have laid dormant for way to long.

This is my time and I plan on taking full advantage of it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YOU ARE THE JUDGE, JURY AND EXECUTIONER

imgres-1

This weekend I was on trial. YOU KNEW I have been having severe pain for weeks and was having it when the “incident” happened. You knew my cousin was visiting but you would not step in and control the boys when they were so out of control.  You did not step in to help but instead chose to sit in judgement me when I finally lost it. And I didn’t even yell. NOT ONCE. How dare you!

You say,” I don’t know if I can live with you because you yell too much”, so I quit.Now its, “I don’t know if I can live with you because you sound stern and mad and point your finger.” How would you like me to handle discipline in our home so our kids know that things are a serious matter? Smile sweetly and in a chirpy voice say, “Oh please, sweet boys stop what you are doing. I beg of you?” UGH.

I am NOT your mother. You are NOT my son. I am who I am. A person trying their best. Changing. Me Changing. Yet somehow it always seems as though I am the person in this relationship needing to be the one to change…what about you? Are you putting as much effort into those things I told you I would like to see you change? Let me answer that for you. NO you are not.

So let me in on a little secret. People get upset. Yeah I know you don’t like to because you want everyone to like you especially our kids. Our kids who know this is your weakness and exploit it. Our adult daughter who admits this and says it sucks for the adult but is grand for the child. Guess what, I have emotions that I show which make you uncomfortable because you don’t or won’t show yours because your mother punished you for it and you are afraid that will happen with me. No insist that it will/does so you use it as your excuse not to figure out who you are as an emotional being.  And yet you stand in judgement of me. And if I don’t do what you want, what you need, then you will leave. But surprise it might be me whose ass is hit by the door on the way out because I have to be who I am and frankly it ain’t so bad. Sure there are things that need refining. But at least I feel. At least I can say what it is I know as my truth, my faults, my goods and my bads.  I show those sides of me and no one has to spend their energy trying to guess what it is going on inside my head.

And surprise, here is one for you…often I can even understand why you feel the way you do. But just because I speak my truth in the way I do and you get flooded…that has nothing to do with me but with your relationship with your mother and I cannot deal with that because it is your issue that you do not want to have to look hard at.

And so I go to my therapist and we go to joint counseling but when are you going to go down deep and work on you? I’m trying to change for me, for us and for our family and to do so I am having to go to places I don’t want to examine but I do it because it needs to be done. When are you going to get brave and do that too? When are you going to really look at how your past is effecting our lives now and in the future?

 

Shhh…Don’t Say A Word

images-6

This weekend we have hired a sitter and will be without our darling children for 24 hours…I can’t wait! But before we go away I will be telling B something that he needs to know to make our time together perfect.

“Shhhh…don’t say a word.”

Don’t say a word as we walk towards the bedroom. Don’t utter a sound as we pull back the sheets. Don’t whisper a word as we undress (unless you want to tell me how sexy I look). And PLEASE, JUST PLEASE, don’t say anything (nada, nothing) while we are making love.

I know a lot of women like to hear sex talk while they are indulging in adult time with their partner. I am not usually one of them. Okay, maybe sometimes I am, but definitely not tonight. Frankly, I don’t want to hear your fantasies while we are trying to create our own. Worse…I don’t want you intruding on the fantasy that is going on in my own head by imploding/imposing yours onto mine. Believe me they are two totally different shows. Mine is opera and yours is grunge heavy metal. Mine is A Walk In The Clouds while yours is James Bond. Tonight, I just don’t want to hear “it”…I want to hear “you.”

The only external thing I want to hear soft sax music in the background. Besides that, I just want to hear your heart beating as I lay my head on your chest and I want to listen to it quicken when I put my hand between your legs. I want to hear that sigh you make when we first connect with one another and I want to see your blue eyes sparkle at that instant we reach deep into the most intimate of places. I want to eavesdrop on your body’s reactions as we touch one another deeply and passionately. And I want to hear that rumble that starts in your soul and spreads through your body before we both explode.

I want to hear all of you tonight. So please.. “Shhh…don’t say a word!”

In the Stillness…315 Days To Fix This

images-7

Do you know that blessed silence just before dawn? Those moments before the first chirp of a bird, or toss of the newspaper the second before it hits the pavement and before the first car on the block roars to life and exits the driveway without the driver looking in the rearview mirror because she is always the first on the road?

It’s that peaceful time, a sleepy lackadaisical moment when everything seems right and nothing could possibly be wrong or go south. It is a time for hope, daydreaming, and a mug of hot coffee laced with sweet cream and steam that floats so high in the air it looks as if it is the tail on the end of a kite sliding towards the moon.

Those are precious moments, silent moments, that are yours alone until…

Your wife opens her mouth.

Blaise Pascal said, “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”

I am sure my husband would agree.

When B first mentioned the M.A.Y.B.E.  D.I.V.O.R.C.E. one of the things that made him unhappy (or so he thought) was that I didn’t get up with him in the morning. I didn’t because I thought that it was his private time. A time to relax before the day began and I didn’t want to intrude. But sure, I could accommodate him and in that vein, I told him to wake me up in the morning so that we could spend some time together.

He hated it.

All of a sudden his quiet was gone, vanished like a cockroach in the light. Skittering away to small places where the quiet became the smallest of silent echoes. And where peace once reined now there were questions.

“When did you first feel like you were not happy?”

“Gracie seems to be developing an attitude. How should we fix it?”

“Do you think that love gets easier or harder the longer you are married?”

“Do my thighs looks fat?”

“The dog needs his anal glands expressed. Can you do that?”

I have to confess that the morning togetherness lasted about a week and then he just stopped waking me up. I’ve asked him about it and he says that he needs his time in the morning and if I want to join him I can knowing that he will keep doing whatever he has been doing for the past 10 years. And it makes me sad. I enjoyed connecting in the morning with him but it appears he can do without connecting with me.

But I have a plan. Tomorrow I will get up with him and just sit quietly. I won’t ask questions, I won’t make comments and I will just sit. Peacefully. Mute. Serenely. And utterly still.  Because sometimes in those stolen peaceful moments just before dawn you can find things by just observing in the stillness. And I am looking…for what’s left of my marriage and myself. Perhaps, I will find it in the quiet right before the muffled sounds that signal a new day and a new way of relating.