Friday, September 11, 2009

remember: i love you 9-11 and 3436

In my frustration this morning, frustration that has much more to do with things internally that I am struggling with than the external chaos of raising four children, I lost my patience.

The boys...fighting, picking, somewhat of a smirk on their faces, but I wasnt having it. I tried to speak gentle. I tried to reason. I bluntly asked, Please stop!!! I told them that they have things that are of great importance to them, desires, places and events they enjoy participating in. The only thing that is of importance to me is that we are loving kind and patient with each other. I begged, please, get along, stop teasing and lets be on our way to school.

A few more jabs and kicks later and I found myself on the floor, in my eight year olds face, with fear portraying that I was at the end of my frayed rope. I was done with nice, and moving into the terror zone.

At this point I lost it....I said some things that should never be said...something about how I can't do this anymore. I ask with doesn't sink in. I am ready at this point to take away the things that are meaningful to them, their great important, soccer, television, football, computer games, their very freedom....and with anger I could have choked the life out of the two of them. Harsh, maybe....and DFS could want in on my antics at some point. My older boy, age 10, comes over to hug me as he sees tears welling up in my eyes....

Sweet, you say, yes, maybe, but then why did he have to kick his brother as he stepped over him. Here he is hugging me. Mommy, I love you. I am sorry.....[BUT YOU JUST KICKED YOUR BROTHER AGAIN....seriously.]

I grabbed his shoulders and used all the strength I had in me to express that I could chuck him into a wall right now, but I wont, because it would get him off the hook. ...I would no longer be able to govern his childhood, he could be taken from me for abuse.

I walked away. Funny that I walked away, I guess I can take my own advice. The beginning of the argument between the two I told my youngest...JUST WALK AWAY. People can not keep hurting you if you walk away, your back is to them, and it just works, trust me.

So I went to the bathroom and cried it out good. Great, now my make up is destroyed, and my eyes are all puffy again. [again??? I spent at least one night this week in complete and uncontrollable sobbing....] Yeah for me. Now I have class in an hour, errands to finish the Football Jerseys, a Room Mother Coordinator meeting, shopping for soccer supplies, a vet appointment for our kitty who has an infection, terrible infection from a cat bite/fight., etc. etc. You know the drill, you all have your lives to live.

My point here is that once we got in the car, and I noticed that my 10 year olds eyes looked a mirror of mine, I had no sympathy. I continued to rant. About being walked all over, about being a chauffeur, and a maid, and that I felt of no value to my children other than to be the two hands who constantly are open to giving them all they need to succeed. Driving them places, buying their supplies, feeding and cleaning up after them.

My daughter told me she loved me....yes, the daughter who generally says, "I hate you, you are ruining my life." I said, "really.....yeah okay, but those are just words. Actions speak louder than words."

We drove in silence....

I sat stiff as the kids got out of the car, stiff silence. I told them I would be here to give them their next ride....home from school, to the store for their soccer gear.

I vaguely think someone told me they loved me, I didn't respond...just stared straight ahead...mean huh.

After dropping my daughter off, her again telling me she loved me. Me broken and unable to even care to respond....I drove away. Be safe, I told her. [Yes, I still care]

On the way to school for myself this morning I was listening to NPR...a story from story core about some of the victims of 9-11. Yes, today is 9-11, a day to remember, to be more calm, to be more patient.....and I destroyed it. I was the terrorist in our home.

The story was told by a father who had two sons who became victims of 9-11. Both grew up with their father and grandfather as firefighters. One became a police officer, one a firefighter. The firefighter had the honor of being assigned his Grandfathers badge number, 3436.

On that dreadful day, both of the sons had called their dad, to check in as they always did. The conversations were simple, "How are you? Take care today. I love you."

That was the last he heard from those two boys as their lives were taken that day from the attack on the Twin Towers.

The father expressed that he has comfort in knowing that the last words that he told his children were "I love you", and the last he heard from them was, "I love you". Those words make him sleep at night. He has not regrets.

Ironically the age of his boys when he lost them was 34 and 36,
the number of his fathers firefighter badge, 3436.

Today, I have many regrets. I think I heard my kids say, I love you. I didn't respond. I was too wadded up, tears on the surface and falling apart....I just let them run off, the tears off my cheeks, the kids off to school.

Kids are resilient, yet a mothers love is critical for their healthy growth.
I failed them today. I failed me.

I love you. My kids should know that, they are not just words. Yes, they are actions, but every human being needs to hear them. I regret my actions today.

Don't let a day, a moment pass without telling your kids you love them.

Live, no regrets.

I love you, my beautiful kids. I am sorry. Please be patient with me. I am learning the hard way.....I hope that I wont have to regret not telling them today that I love them.


Heatherlyn said...

What a beautiful post. And since actions do speak louder than words, what if this were the last day we had to give and serve and love our families. Would we do it differently? It's really hard to live each day like it could be our last. But the closer we get to living this way the happier we will be despite all the struggles.

LeShel said...

thanks for honesty and direction

Jared said...

There must have been something in the air today because I was at the end of my patience rope today too. Then, when my sons give me big hugs and cry as I'm getting ready to leave for work, I can't help but feel that I've been the bad guy. When I come home, hugs again and happy faces to see me. Somehow, even thought it is hard to have patience, I manage and just have to overlook those times when they are most annoying. Kids are hard at times and they are definitely teaching me tons of patience. It is a daily struggle to keep my temper in check. What can I say, I'm a work in progress, and every day is a new day to start over and do better.

Mamma Christine said...

We all have days and moments like this, I think. At least I do, for sure. I recognize that feeling well of the frustration/adrenalin making me immune to sympathy. I'm always grateful for perspective like the story you shared to help me soften up again. I think they are gifts because I feel incapable of doing it myself.

Erin said...

Being a parent is SO HARD sometimes. We know we are doing the best we can, but we can always do better (I am certainly included in this). Good luck to you!

on marriage

'Will you, um, marry me?' I haven't seen you in weeks! You don't look happy or excited about the prospect of our marriage! You're asking me to give up my - my freedom, my joie de vivre for an institution that fails as often as it succeeds? And why should I marry you anyway? I mean, why do you wanna marry me? Besides some bourgeois desire to fulfill an ideal that society embeds in us from an early age to promote a consumer capitalist agenda?