Such Damage

She fell right to sleep, my precious little one.  She aged so much today, too soon. I am responsible for it.

It’s quiet now, she is resting, all is done for the day. Now, my tears fall.

Deep, bitter, grief stricken… the silent depths of my soul weep.

I failed today, in so many ways. I failed to keep my home calm and loving, to keep the tension of the adult world at bay and out of my little one’s concerns.  She is 4. She is too young to cope with the stuff her adults are dealing with. It is wrong for us to not keep that protective barrier present and in force for her. It is selfish of us, and so damaging to her. Yet, avoiding these issues is just as damaging, and this child never sleeps. Coordinating her being asleep with me not being asleep, with her Papa being willing to have a conversation and not working, is akin to realigning the galaxy, just because.  However, this is no excuse, and I won’t hide behind it.  I completely failed to protect her; I did not manage to put my own emotions on hold long enough to deal with them with her father when it would not directly impact her.

To those who might read this tonight, I hope you will find courage for your own life in my failure. The confusion and anger that is present in my home at the moment, because of so many things that have mounted and accumulated, and because of two adults that were not grown quite whole, who are now struggling mightily to grow those parts that are missing.

Honesty is dangerous. It carries with it the very real situation of unpredictability, especially in the response to it. Yet, for me, it is necessary.  Perhaps I am naive, but in my head, honesty (complete in the case of an intimate companion, i.e. spouse) will always end in good. Somehow.

Perhaps I will change my mind at some point… But here, is where I am.

I asked my little one today if she had a happy family. Today she said no. I asked why. She said because of me (mama) and Papa. I breathed through my tears. She saw them.. So she pressed her heart up against mine and told me she had enough happy feelings that she would share them and maybe it would help.

He and I battled all morning, and most of yesterday. It feels like it’s an on going, right  under the surface waiting for the slightest provocation, persistent reality.  We do our best to maintain tempers and keep our words out of her hearing reach, but she knows. She feels the pain we feel, she senses the tension, and she knows when we are not friends.

She is perceptive, and for this I am grateful. She seems to have been born something of an old soul. This has it’s benefits, and it’s curse.  It’s my job to give her the environment in which she can build her foundation, so that she can manage this aspect of her being. It’s my job to give and insure her security and confidence at this point, as it comes from the relational foundation her father and I provide, and from our interactions with her.  It’s our job, at this point, to build her up, strong and whole. And while she is unbelievably strong, confident, and intelligent, our actions and inactions are destructive to her (and us).

We have to make a change; we are not preserving and protecting… You’d think, given I am fully aware of the damage potential, I’d cause it to cease immediately.  But you see, this involves more than just my mind and choices, this is beyond just me. I can control only me. And I must choose to remain in control of me, consistently. I have to self regulate. But it’s a very hard thing to do sometimes, especially when emotions are huge. Yet, this is when it is most crucial, because my little one is watching. She’s learning how to cope with, and manage, and work through the really big feelings by watching me do so (or not, as it were).

The weight is so heavy. Tonight I have crumbled beneath it.

_____

I grieve for her struggle with our tension.. the pressure and threat to her foundation and security that our inability to see what we need to see creates for her. That our inability to change what we need to change does to all of us…

All that I want to teach the world, and I cannot even protect my own daughter from the harm of my own behaviors, and those of my spouse. Tonight we are not partners.  And tonight neither of us deserve to be parents.

A while back I wrote a post concerning how the stress of the demands of work, and those of the house renovations were negatively affecting my kiddo.  It’s found here.  The situations we were dealing with when I wrote it were solved. But they are not the same as those present tonight. Then, we were dealing with me working too much on the house and not being available for her enough. I solved this by finding a teen that she enjoys the attention of to come and play with her while I work, and we found a couple people to work on the house with me, so that when they’re here, I can be with her. The desired end result is that I am more available to her, and better for her when I am with her (less distracted).  And since she is my first position, my first job, this is where the largest percentage of my energy belongs.  This is also where the most positive and genuine part of my mind and emotional being belongs… there for her.

Tonight I will read my post to me, if I can get through it. Perhaps after doing so, I will have the courage to end this day as I ended that one.

7 thoughts on “Such Damage

    • Thank you for your thoughts and the recommendations. For the moment, I think I need to sit with me, in my head, and just listen. However, when I’m done sitting, and with a new sun, I will make certain to visit the links you’ve provided.

  1. Try to love yourself, like a loving mother would. You are being really, really hard on yourself, and you would never want your daughter to do that to herself.

    The most important thing is that your daughter gets to be real about her feelings. So, if she says her family does not feel happy to her, you should (at least) take heart that she a) knows that “happy” feels different and b) that she trusts you to speak her truth. That is huge.

    A child can speak, sing, paint, dance, and pound Play-Doh, all about how it feels to have parents who feel frustrated! Likewise, she can make placemats for the dinner celebration you may have, with candles and sparkling cider, when your house is “done” and you all have one great day together.

    We can’t make life smooth and perfect all the time for our kids. What we can do is teach them that the hard times pass, and that even in the midst of them, there are pockets of love and joy.

    Give yourself time to grieve and be honest about not being the ideal mom, all the time. Then, please, be gentle with yourself.

    • Thank you for your words. You’re right, the fact that she knows what happy is and isn’t is positive. However, in this case, I failed to honor my responsibility to her, to keep a home for her where she feels safe and secure, where her adults are behaving like adults.

      I don’t aspire to be ideal, in fact, far from it. My intention is to purposely control my own actions and words in a way that does not allow the environment in my home to be damaging or harmful. But instead of remembering this, I focused on me and what I wanted/needed in the moment of high emotions and massive frustration.

      Did I take it out on her? No. But did I protect her from it? No.

      In my family, at this stage of her development, our choices are to protect her from the harm that comes from adults behaving like emotional 12 year olds. I cannot effect something different at this very moment universally with both myself and her father, and the reasons behind why he and I are struggling at this time. What I can do is control me, silence me until she is safely in bed. These are not the sort of conversations and feelings that she can benefit from being exposed to. Seeing her mom and dad struggling, knowing they are trying to find answers and knowing they love each other enough that they are trying to hear each other and searching for the necessary connections to alter the yuck that is present… Seeing the process through an appropriate filter for her, and watching us succeed at resolving, if we do. These are the experiences she will gain from.

      This is not what she saw yesterday. She saw me angry and hurting. She saw me not seeing her.

    • Much has come, much has developed.. we have grown much.

      I can accept your words now, and see their value and logic. Thank you. I was unable to accept before, but I am now on the other side.

      Thank you.

      Ideal I am not, nor hope to be, but real and full of love, we, all, are.

  2. We got the most wise and awesome advice from our octagenarian couples counselor. She told us, “Never fight. When you’re angry, all the other person can hear is your anger. Take a break, take a walk, and then talk later, when you’re calm. All of this will keep. It will keep for hours, for days, for months. The longest I’ve ever seen a couple stay angry is five days.”

    I hope today is better for you.

    • Thank you for that… revisiting old posts. So much growth has come to our family and I can see now the value and depth of your words.

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