My husband has the coolest of jobs, so I'm not complaining, but when he travels, he leaves a huge black hole in our house that seems to make everything come tumbling in on itself. I'm unable to move through the kitchen in the morning, the kids begin to orbit around me so closely. By evening, they outright cling. And the space around me literally collapses as the kids get closer and closer in on me. When I'm in a good mood, its suffocating. I try to summon that guru calm, tolerance and passivity but there are times, like when I've fretted and worried over something and am cranky and sleep deprived that I just loose it.
I did yesterday.
I feel horribly guilty. I blame myself. Afterall I do so much to guide and monitor and protect my children's behavior and their moods. I know how important it is to have a good morning if C.S. is to have a successful day at school. I've convinced myself that so much depends on me, my vigilance... thank goodness it seems that his school day went fine, because that would have been all the sentence I needed.
But don't I ever get to just be mad at them? I mean, OK, I understand he really can't take the perspective of others and that he just doesn't get the nuances and so tends to push everything to extremes, but when I told him to clean up the milk that he spilled and then smeared into self-hypnotizing circles on the table "right now" he began to wail and cry and exclaimed "you mean I have to do this forever! For the rest of my liiiifffffee" and I just lost it.
"Did I say forever? No. When I say 'now,' I mean this minute, not later but not from here to eternity. Why would I even want you to clean the table for the rest of your life? Does that even make sense? No. Now, stop crying and just clean up the spilt milk..." and a clichéd phrase breaks my blue streak for just a second and I realize that its me who is making so much over spilt milk.
This life is so exasperating, sometimes I really do want to scream, "Don't you get it!" or "Why can't you just be Normal!!" or to my daughter "Why can't you help me!"
Just goes to show, understanding isn't the key to everything.
Silver Lining: There is something to be learned in everything. I realize that too often and under all sorts of situations, that there is only so much understanding anyone can offer up to tolerate something or someone. Where are those limits? Where are they for me — for disciplining my children? Where are they for others who would not have even a fraction of my compassion for them? How much understanding really can be expected? It is something I really should know, to let myself and others off the hook occasionally.