today is the day it happened...
today is the day I broke down in tears and yelled at my kids because I really needed to yell at myself and I guess that was just too weird to actually do.
it's been a hard week at the Hydeen house. or a hard month? monthS, actually. months.
I think it's sort of the cumulation of a lot of things making it hard, but it's like it's been just barely at the top, bubbling, spattering a little (or a lot), but not boiling over. I've been at that point for months. just BARELY not boiling over.
ONE of the hard things has been my relationship with my oldest child. Now, I realize that some of you are probably rolling your eyes and saying FINALLY she's giving you a run for your money! I'll be the first to admit, she's been a pretty easy kid for most of her life, once we got the eating thing figured out. She made me cry at every meal for the first 2 and a half years of her life, and I wondered if I would ever ever ever enjoy a meal ever again in my life, and wondered why why why why why God designed us to eat so FREAKING many times a day. So she hasn't been easy breezy her WHOLE life, just remember that, you eye rollers. :)
But lately, we're getting to this whole "pre-teen" thing. and oh my gosh.
I've been hearing parents talk about it for years now, and honestly, it's always made me really sad. I've always wondered why parents always just assume that their teens will be horrible and they all just seem to have this "oh you just wait..." type of mentality. OR those words actually come out of their mouths. sad. it always made me sad. never let me say that to you.
but now I'm realizing, for my daughter anyway, and I guess I'll just speak for myself, that it's not a "horrible" thing, or an intentional disrespect thing (usually...). It's a completely emotional thing. Her teenager emotions are starting now, and she's scared to death, and she totally can't help it that her brain is not fully developed, and it's practically impossible for her to control her emotions.
The PROBLEM here, is that her mom is still fighting her own teenager emotions as well. I have confessed on here before that my gut reaction to things is to turn into a sassy teenager. Just the other day I sassed my husband, the person I love most in the whole entire world, because I'd had a hard day and how dare he act like his day might be hard as well. SASSY pants. that was me.
So I get it. She gets it from me.
And now here we are trying to figure this all out together.
She's fighting, like, really fighting, things like the knowledge of periods and sex and all that "good stuff" that awaits her. We've been doing this question thing lately where we either take questions from a game we have and ask each other one card's-worth of questions before bed, or we ask questions at the dinner table that everyone has to answer. I saw this really sad Facebook video about the question "If you could change one thing about your body, what would you change?" So I wanted to test the theory (that kids say things like "I'd have a shark mouth" and grown ups say things like "I'd change my forehead bc it's too big") so I asked my kids. And before I could even finish asking the question, Lillian shouts "PERIOD!" really loud. mass confusion came over the other two kids, and mass dying-of-laughter came over her parents. And she laughed too. But it was the kind of laugh that you laugh because you're so freaked out and if you don't laugh you might cry. Or you might actually even cry a little bit while you're laughing.
It's always on her mind...this huge change that she could end up waiting YEARS for, but it has her so freaked out that her emotions are out of whack.
She also knows the sex talk is coming soon. The one from me, that is, because soon her school will start the "human growth" classes or whatever. And yeah, I signed the papers so she can attend the class. I don't think much will be taught besides maybe body parts this year. I read the class descriptions, and felt comfortable with the progression (3 classes a year, for 3 years), and signed the papers. They won't be learning much she doesn't know already in 4th grade because I've always given her pretty straight up answers to her questions. She also knows, however, that some things are for a later discussion. BUT, I also know that once her classmates start learning about this in a group setting, they'll also probably start talking about it in a group setting, and girls who know more will starting talking about "more." So anyway, I told her not to worry, and that we'll have a good talk before her class starts so she can hear it from me, the way that God intended it, and when she hears her friends or songs or movies talk about it in different ways, she'll know that God's design is different.
But she's like, totally freaked out about that too. She just doesn't even want to know anything. Her friend asked her once, "Did your mom talk to you about sex yet?" and she said, in the most "Lillian-way" EVER, "Um...no. And I'd APPRECIATE it if you didn't tell me anything, because I'd really like to hear it from her." But the thing is, she doesn't even WANT to hear it from me and she's begging me to wait til the very last minute before I tell her anything.
it's like she's trying desperately to cling to the last bit of childhood she has left before her body is taken over by hormones and emotions and everything else that's coming, that's slowly starting, and she hates it. she hates it all.
I know that will change. I know. But this is where we are.
And these emotions that are building are like a tornado, wreaking havoc on her not-fully-developed-brain. which, in turn (you guessed it!), is wreaking havoc on my should-know-better brain.
So the result is HUGE battles about, for example, which pants she should wear. To me, it's obvious, that you either wear THESE jeans that I dug out of the dirty laundry, even if they might smell bad, because they are the only pair of jeans that I can find right now, OR, you can wear something else like leggings, which, yes, might make you cold. But right now those are the two options. or maybe three, if you count your pajama pants you are wearing right now.
but no matter the situation, it's the same thing. She simply can NOT accept either option. so round and round and round and round we go until both of our emotions are at an all time high, and we've BOTH tapped into our inner teenager, and even though we don't want to hurt each other's feelings, we sit there freaking out on each other because we don't see the other one's point.
so that whole refusing two options thing just KEEPS happening over and over. no matter what the situation. and I can be really calm and "good-mama" for about three rounds and then I LOSE IT. So lately we're both ending up in tears over the stupidest things EVER. And I tell her that i"m sorry I"m just a sucky mom for her, and this whole phase of life is new for me, and I'm trying to learn. And I know what's right and I'm still choosing what's wrong, and that she's doing the same thing, and it's just not working. so there we sit with our emotions on high gear, crying in each others arms, both apologizing profusely for being that way, just to do it ALL OVER AGAIN in 30 minutes.
it's so bad, actually, that our sweet boy who is VERY sensitive, especially within the last year, and thinks a LOT about death and dying and loss (ever since our Katie died) can't get these horrible thoughts out of his head about me and Lillian fighting.
These changes in Lillian and me have snatched us out of the lovely phase of life we've been in for the last few years. It was wonderful. The kids were old enough to do things on their own, and I finally wasn't needed for every single thing, and they were young enough where they still liked each other and loved to play together, and they still thought me and Steve were cool enough to hang out with, and we just loved being together as a family.
And now, thanks to a little change, their mother has become a total spazz freak out mom who cannot control herself no matter what.
Sunday was hard. I have been looking at all these old pictures the past few days. I saw pictures of sweet little me, with my sweet little kids, and wondered what on earth had changed. I ended up in tears in the fetal position on my bed, just devastated at what our family has become. The mom really sets the tone for the whole family. In our house, anyway. That whole "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" thing is true for us. gosh, I hate that. Because I haven't been in a very good mood for most of the last few months. We've all been going through an adjustment with me working outside the home. But seriously...I've got to get a grip...
So this morning it happened.
Steve left early, I was making lunches and finding L's socks and brushing B's teeth and doing dishes and all the bazillion things that need to be done each morning. And they were whining and bugging and sassing and just plain being mean to each other.
and the pot boiled over.
I burst into tears and pleaded with them to stop. I explained how daddy got in a car accident yesterday and thankfully everyone's okay but we just never know how much time we have! we don't know when our jounery here is done! and there are kids with siblings in the hospital who will never come home, and kids whose brothers or sisters have died already and they don't get to have them in their life. And here we are in this house and we all have each other for who knows how long, and this is what we're doing! you're being mean! on purpose! and please please please can we just stop????? Can we please choose love? can we please forgive?
what I meant was...
there are PARENTS with kids in the hospital...
there are PARENTS with kids who have died...
there are PARENTS whose arms are empty...
can you, Andrea, please just STOP?
can you, Andrea, please choose LOVE?
you're being mean.
and you're the mom.
I just keep begging God to not take my life right now. Because these will be the memories my kids have. No "best mom ever." No "best wife ever." No "great example of God's grace." None of that could be said of me now.
Give me a little more time to change. Please, God. I just keep saying it.
And thank you Jesus that you forgive.
Thank you Jesus that when you look at me, you hate my sin, but you don't see it.
You see your child. and you choose love.
HELP me to just see my children. and to choose love.
I literally had a pot boil over this week. on the stove. and it leaves such a mess. the mess is still there actually, because that's how I roll.
But one of these days I'm going to work at it, and scrape up the mess, and shine up the stove top again. It would have been easier to add the couscous to the boiling water/seasoning combo BEFORE it boiled over.
But sometimes you miss your chance and you're left with a mess.
a big mess.
I'm so grateful I have Help for my messes. so grateful...