I sat with my eldest, this morning, with my java and his hot chocolate; running errands together. I look at his rapidly changing facial features searching for hints of the jaundiced, swaddled infant lain into my arms. It is this child who becomes the scapegoat for all things, in parenting, as I muddle through this season in my life. After our day yesterday I was grateful for the alone time; just the two of us.
It was a bad mommy moment and I’m ashamed to admit it. I know this particular son’s sensitivity is to loud, abrupt noise. So when this Mom erupted into a rage, with epithets rolling off her tongue, it shocked him into silence with tears streaming down his face. Trapped in a moving vehicle with my family of five present; the words hung in the air. Upon arriving at our destination I made everyone exit the car; trying to calm my nerves. I had lost it. The frustrations of my week, my schedule landed unceremoniously on this son’s shoulders.
Thirty minutes passed when I saw my hubs and sons approach the vehicle. This is not the Mom I want to be. Though my voice can be loud I rarely use foul language, which was taboo in my childhood, Catholic household. This son immediately came to the car and as he opened the door the words came rushing out of both of our lips at the same time.
It is inexcusable for a parent to take adult frustrations on their children and I felt my heart contract when he responded that he deserved my anger. He knew what the infraction was and did deserve discipline. But he did not deserve the inappropriate adult response that he triggered and as I asked for his forgiveness, which this son willingly gives, I felt the tears well within. I hope I never, ever, do that again. When he noted the heart in my coffee, this morning, he hugged me. I know you love me, Mom. I hope he always knows it’s unconditional.
I shared this with bookclub last evening, this desire to make friendship and love unconditional. This is a work of progress for me as I voiced the above, aloud, to these women who understand this season of life. This group has also been a scapegoat as I maneuver through the ups and downs of social interaction. I only knew one of these women when our bookclub formed; almost four years ago. Over these years we have learned about each other, the good and the bad, and evolved into something more than just women reading together. It has made me work outside of my comfort zone; my walls of being an only child. It makes me have to deal with relationships; the good times as well as the drama.
I shared how I want to disband. We are different and if we can’t find common ground in reading a book, why do I have to deal with them? This has been on my mind for some time. This is the easy way out, my normal modus operandi (m.o.). If I don’t open myself to interaction then I don’t have to be disappointed. I make my expectations high so that they are never met. I need to let these go. I only expect one thing. Please read the book.
How did I arrive at this conclusion, you ask? Because of this darn book that I really only rated 3.5 stars; The Art of Hearing Heartbeats.
To the group’s surprise, who all rated it at least 4.5- 5 stars, I and a visiting sister of one of the girls, were the only two that dissented. But the author’s words, from a male point of view, caught me. I don’t have to love a book to have it inspire and the words this author used to convey a love story made me consider my own feelings. The novel’s story has a fairytale quality, which I can’t expect to achieve in real life, but it got me to think of the love between the hubs and I. I am so busy looking at the details, the flaws, that I forget to look at the whole picture. If only I/he could look like this, have this, behave this way it would be perfect. Is this, ever perfect? And what is the elusive this?
My husband loves me unconditionally, flaws and all. Shouldn’t this be enough? Shouldn’t I feel the same way?
The hubs becomes the scapegoat for many things and as the caffeine buzz of the morning kicked in I related these thoughts, verbally, to him. This is rare. I see words, not voice them. He sat quietly across from me, taking all this in. I want to be able to not have expectations from him, to love him without expecting reciprocity. Easier said than done. But if I remind myself of this flaw of mine, every single day, and count my blessings in grattitude, I can slowly get there; to yogic nirvana. I want to transcend these minute details and just love. The: works, acts of service, material things, don’t define the depth of my love and affection for family and friends.
Reciprocity. It is a learned trait that I want to pass to my sons. I do not want them to be like me, with protective walls. I want them to be able to do things because they want to do them; not to impress or expect something in return. I don’t want them to have scapegoats for their own insecurities.
In the wee hours of the morning our group continued our discourse. Our perceptions of life, people, are always not what they seem. As I voiced my thoughts to the women, and they shared their own, I began my quest to reciprocate. Do I really want to disband and read solo; not really. I need to trust that others can take my opinions, instead of forming walls and taking the easy out. I hope to read with these women, and they with me, for decades; though I know some of them will leave to explore other avenues and adventures. I know our dynamics will change; just as the growing pains occur within my own nuclear family. It is the nature of life. I will make my expectations tenable. I will work daily on my issues, my deep seated insecurities.
No more scapegoats.