Surrender Some More...
I am tired of writing about parenting. It is not my favorite topic. I just want to write about other things that I think about but parenting is all consuming right now, it is like a giant boulder in my path that I cannot evade, get around or change. It is just there, looming in front of me, challenging me and vexing me.
I hate feeling like this about my children. I want to be happy and joyous and have a good summer. But that doesn’t appear to be on their agenda. My daughter is doing better and I think we are on a new understanding and path but what the hell do I know? I thought things were good before and I was so very wrong.
My son continues to push and pull at the threads that are keeping our relationship going. He thinks he is doing great, and I want to jump off a bridge, daily. How can we be so incongruent in our assessments of how family life is going?
My daughter told me last night that she thought it was 50% me and 50% him. I was kind of hurt and shocked by that. I really think it is him. And I am part of the problem but I would have labeled that more a 90/10 situation in my favor. She revised it to 70/30 in my favor but I am not sure why she did that. Was it an honest reassessment or a capitulation to me? I will never know. Her out of the box answer was 50/50 which felt harsh and unfair to me.
But I guess upon reflection, it is always 50/50. Never less in relationships. Because both people should be equally responsible for the relationships success or failure. And I know that I bring my own level of crazy to the mix here. I do. It is just that I get along with others so well most of the time, I guess I have let that get in the way of seeing this relationship with my son more clearly.
Perhaps I need to let go of my arrogance that it is mostly his fault. I mean, I have held that position for a long time. And I still think I am right. It isn’t that I can’t see my part, I do. I see how I make it worse, but he is the one that always seems to kick off the conflict, and then because of my own issues, I make a hard situation worse.
I have tried so hard to change. To not allow petty small things set me over the edge. But so far, I haven’t managed to really effectuate meaningful change. Not really. His loud, chaotic, messy manner drives me crazy and puts me in a trauma response every fucking time. I want to be different, I am going to therapy, I am doing EMDR, but so far, none of that has really changed the trauma reaction chain in our relationship. I am trying. I am just failing over and over and over again.
It is hard to see your own defects splayed out in front of you like this. It is hard to want to be different but then find yourself completely powerless to actually be different. It makes me despondent really. I want to change, and I have to a degree. But I am still a long way off here and I know it.
I guess I could use my own failing to summon up more compassion for him. I think he might feel similarly. I mean he wants to be different, at least he says he does, and he is so not different...and then again he is. He has made positive changes, but he also slips back into deep groves and those groves erode my peace of mind and faith that we are not spiraling back to the bottom rapidly.
I have no answers, only lots of questions and feelings of helplessness and powerlessness that I find too much to bear on any given day. Where do you find the courage, the faith and the willingness to really set aside the past and move forward? It doesn’t really feel possible from where I sit. Or live. It just seems like too much has happened. And I just can’t live with him. We trigger each other and we just do not get along. It was the same with my father. We just couldn’t live under the same roof. Once I moved out, our relationship improved. And me never living with him again made a relationship possible for us. If we were forced to reside with each other again, I have no doubt that it would devolve quickly despite my adolescence being more than 40 years away. We are too much alike and different at the same time. Same issue with my son.
We are so alike but then so very different. In every single way. It feels unfair to love someone so much who you just don’t get along with...to be fair, he doesn’t get along with anyone really. But with me, we really struggle. He struggles with everyone and it feels super unfair that he should also so struggle with me.
But this is where we are. Forced to live beneath one roof, but without solution or peace or leave. It is hard. For both of us and I have remember constantly that I am the adult and he just a child. And so the bigger burden lies on my shoulders. I am the one charged with working harder, giving more, bending more. I just also have to acknowledge that I feel like I have bent as much as I can and am at yet another breaking point.
He deserves better from me but I have really given him all the best I have to offer. Really. I try every day to love him, set appropriate boundaries and be nice. But every day I fail. Which is hard and disappointing to both of us. I rise every day with a renewed, somewhat flagging hope, that today will be a better day. And each day I am disappointed with him and myself again.
I love my children. Perhaps too much. Perhaps mothering takes more confidence than I have to offer. Perhaps my time spent in contemplation and reflection has hurt us all more than it helped. Their father seems so sure of his positions, with little guilt or hand wringing. Perhaps I would do better if I was a little more cocksure and a little less self critical? I don’t know. Clearly. That is all I do know, that I don’t know! And I can’t fake it. I can’t pull out of the bravado and assert that I have this shit locked down. I don’t. I am failing and flailing and feel so incredibly lost, most often in my own home, living this life.
I can only surrender again, some more. I can just push forward into the day as it unfolds, spending time in the quiet morning hours reflecting, praying, practicing pausing. I can surrender more to my God, to my life, to my current circumstances. That is all I know to do. Because refusing to surrender only keeps me most stuck and injured. And I have no need or desire for that, let me tell you.
Life is hard. Parenting even harder. A great paradox of hanging on and letting go and never being sure, at least for me, which one of those activities is the right one. So I fall back on surrender, trusting that perhaps if I give up my way, my ideas, my thinking that I might know something, that God will show me where to go next. I know that my life really only began when I first was willing to throw up my hands and admit complete defeat. So I return to this place again and again, hoping all hopes that I will find what I found the first time I practiced surrender: salvation.