REAL MOM WARNING:
The spoken word. The Word. The word of Christ. Watch your words. The double edged sword of the tongue. See? For as long as recorded history, there has been a subtle underlying understanding of the power that words possess. In today’s culture, with the emphasis on anti-cyber bullying, we are hyper focused on the negative effects of the written word but in large part have lost the closeness with which previous generations guarded their spoken words. We use less precise language, choose our words carelessly and speak brazenly before we put in the necessary thought needed for a substantial contribution to conversation. As a society, and speaking personally, we speak brashly and openly. Our words, or rather my words flow freely from my gaping mouth hole. This practice which I have been teased for most of my adult life, has shown it’s self to me in an ugly way this week that has inspired me to speak on it.
This has been a challenging week. My oldest is a loving boy who prides himself on his silliness and loving nature; he is also bi-polar. This manifests it’s self in a variety of ways from defiance, to fit throwing, to an overly self-centered perspective of reality, and a plethora of other challenging behaviors and thought patterns. Contrary to stigma of the past, bi-polar is not the end of the world and it doesn’t make you a loon. It merely means that these individuals think differently than others, and that can cause struggles when interacting with others and society.
This week, this challenging heart breaking week has been full of that struggle. Not every moment, not every day; but enough moments of intense conflict to make me aware of something in myself. Something that I am not overly proud of, and something that made me stop and check myself. Words.
During one particular conflict this week words spewed from my mouth in a vile, angry outburst that brought me to my emotional knees. I watched my harsh reprimand rip through the heart of my child who was, in that moment of meltdown, most in need of my patience and love and knew: in that moment I failed him.
I was caught up the the “real world need” to clear debris around my house. A task which required me and the minions to complete while Dad was providing for our family at school. This task was completely within the realm of achievable f or the kids and I. It “should” have taken us less than an half an hour to complete. An hour into this task, my minion got frustrated and hit his brother. This is a near-daily occurrence that we, his shrink, and his teachers have been working on for years now. We have realized that this behavior is a result of his frustration and an inability to control himself, and he IS getting better. Especially lately. The consequences we have laid out are working effectively, and he is showing drastic improvement even in the last few months. But this time…those consequences threw him into total meltdown. He carried on for 10 minutes while his brother and I continued to work. Whining, and screaming and acting helpless. It was in that moment of mutual frustration that my insistence he kept working turned into a frustrated verbal jab.
His tears changed from frustrated to heart broken. He got up and got back to work, but with a defeated and broken look about him. In that moment, watching him sob as he carried a stack of timber scraps that I realized that I had just been the bully we constantly nag him not to be. I had modeled the behavior we work so diligently to prevent in him. I had hurt his feelings. I had hurt him.
Recognizing this, I stopped and we talked and I apologized, we forgave and moved on. This lesson stuck with me; I NEVER want to be the one to hurt him, or the other boys. My job is sacred. My duty is real, and the choices I make today effect change in this world. The mothers and fathers of today literally give rise to the future. If I want the world to be safe, cooperative and full of love; that is how I must live NOW. My children need to feel safe today, they need to feel loved always.
This is my confession, and my creed. I share with you because as I have spoken with mothers from all over I have realized we all have real struggles and we all feel like we are failing at one point or another. I share with you both to process my own feelings, and to hopefully provide some resemblance of reassurance to the rest of you.
Mom-este: the real in me recognizes and appreciates the real in you.