In the morning the children were loud. Not bad loud, just loud. Playing. The kind that at first sounds like someone is being slaughtered and then when you run into the room to find out who you need to take to the emergency room... they are all giggling on the floor and wonder why I look so worried.
There were things they were supposed to do, but I didn't have the gumption to deal with them and quite frankly the decibels were making it difficult for me to think. So I went to the basement and completed sorting my fabric stash. That's right people. My fabric is sorted and in boxes and almost even labeled.
Only then there was much more loudness and bad loudness and stomping and slamming doors and recriminations and I decided that maybe I should just hide downstairs for the rest of the day.
Instead I remembered that I had a load of tree in my brother's truck that I needed to drive to the yard waste site. So I did that. And then I started working on leaves. And it was the same kind of breathless, anxiety-ridden, unsatisfying labor as my zombie gardening was.
I stopped for tea. And I was able to check things at that point and not continue to the leaf project. And then the truck went away, so temptation has been removed.
So I realize that hiding in the basement or under the covers or in a leaf pile is not good conflict resolution. Neither is engaging in the yelliness of righteous indignation. And right now those feel like my two choices.
Silent and hidden, or loud and problematic.
Stupid problems. Stupid conflicts. Stupid solutions.
I knew that when I was conducting an ensemble, the concerts were far more nerve-wracking than when I was the performer. And now I am finding it much more stressful to be the parent of a pre-teen than it was to be a preteen. And that is saying something, because I was a mess.
I remember anxiety attacks and hyperventilating and being sad so much of the time and being forced into counseling and accused of suicidal thinking and scars on my arm from where I scratched the skin and wearing a strip of cloth to hide the marks. And I remember feeling things so dang intensely and everything was unfair and people were trying to control me and I should have the right to vote and of course I was alone in a godless universe, wasn't everyone? And returning to school in between one therapist who thought I was crazy and one therapist who thought I was not and having a nice boy with anger management issues offer to hide me so my parents couldn't find me which I thought was sweet but also a TERRIBLE IDEA because eventually they would find me and surely that would mean a hospital stay which I felt must be avoided at all costs. And the highs were higher and the lows were lower and the dark was darker and the light was lighter and things that were vitally important to me didn't seem to matter to anyone else and things that I found trivial were somehow the most important. And my parent who wanted me to fit in and now I see that it was for my sake so I wouldn't be singled out and pecked at by the bigger birds at school and thrown out of the nest but at the time it just seemed like it was another thing about me that was wrong and needed to be changed. And feeling like I was the scapegoat of the family and the idea was that if they could fix me everything would be alright only I never knew what was wrong. And worrying and worrying when I was twelve years old because I hadn't yet chosen a college major or a college or a career and time was running out. And never wanting to know the time or the date because it was a reminder, a potent reminder that I didn't have as much time as I needed and things I was trying to put off were marching ever closer.
So I think it will probably suck for my child as he comes into his teenage years. And I would like very much to figure out how to minimize my role in this. Which I realize is probably hopeless.
When I got my teaching degree the person who spoke at the ceremony said, "Congratulations. Now you are minimally licensed and likely to do little lasting harm." And maybe that's the best I can hope for. That I might do little lasting harm. Only I know I will. Because I remember the conversations I had with Spouse when we were just past twelve and saying that parents inevitably screw up their kids and it wasn't worth the risk to have any.
Grateful Crap: County yard waste sight and finally getting rid of the tree branch that fell at the beginning of summer. Also, that I did not actually forget to pick up my parent from airport. But I had airport on my brain so much that I accidentally started driving a friend their instead of going to our intended destination.
in bed/asleep by 10:30 (!!!!)
Quaker, teacher, parent,