As many of you might be able to tell by my recent posts, I’ve been struggling lately.

Struggling with work.

Struggling with my marriage.

Struggling with kids.

Struggling with money.

Struggling with life.

Struggling with – well – everything.

Hun has asked me several times if my medication needs to be adjusted.  By that he’s referring to my “happy pills”, aka antidepressants.  I have a real problem with that question – the problem I have is – do I really need to adjust my medications to make my life “happier” or do I need to adjust my life?

I tend to think my life needs to be adjusted more so than my medication – but I’m not a doctor, so what do I know?

Maybe both need the adjustment.

It’s a hard thing for me to admit that I might need help.  I’m strong.  I’m proud.  I’m a freaking wreck.

Through it all – kids still need taken care of, a marriage still needs to be nurtured, a house still needs to be cleaned, and work still needs to be done to be able to pay the bills.

What a mess.

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New Subject

Hun and I ended up having a hard conversation with Rowdy and Monkey last night.

When the subject of personal responsibility comes up, suddenly Hun and I are horrible parents.  They hate us, can’t wait until they can leave and we’ll never see them again!

Attempting to bring the subject back to responsibility is met with more stonewalling and subject changing.

Pointing out that they only get mad at us when we hold them accountable is met with cursing and denial.  All are attempts at getting us to change the subject off of holding them accountable.

Then the subject of Jetsam comes up – how we aren’t as nice as she is, how we don’t understand them (the kids) at all compared to her, how she doesn’t think they need help while we’re always pushing them to go to counseling and “talk about their fffffeeeelllliiinnnggggssss”.

You’re darn tooting kiddo!

Monkey finally calmed down enough for us to send her to take a shower.  Rowdy lingered and I could tell he wanted to say more.  So I invited him to – calmly, rationally – ask any question he’d like, we’d answer it.

He finally asked me, “Do you even know what it is that us kids really want?  Do you know specifically what it is that Monkey wants?  Do you even care?”  It almost came out as a sneer.

I studied him, repeated the question, made sure I had understood his question.  And then I commented, “There are 100 things going through my mind that Monkey wants.  One of those things is probably what you’re thinking of, but the odds of me saying what you want to hear isn’t very good.  So, instead, I’m going to tell you what I think she really wants and you’ll have to decide if my answer is good enough.  Does that make sense?”  He nodded.

“What Monkey really wants is to be wanted.  She wants to feel like she is wanted by her mom, by her dad, and by everyone she hangs out with – that she wasn’t a mistake like she so mistakenly believes.  That’s why she got into so much trouble before, because she thought those girls were her friends.  That’s why she falls in love with every boy that gives her the time of day.  That’s why she needs to go to the counselor because she has huge abandonment issues and those issues began with your mom.  That’s why she pushes back so hard at us right now because she’s starting to learn this on her own and she doesn’t want to learn it.  She doesn’t want to be disappointed by her.  I don’t blame her – as a child, you’re supposed to be able to depend on your parents and not be disappointed by them. “

Tears were starting to form and trickle down Rowdy’s face.

He was quiet, but I could tell he had more to ask.  He finally, quietly, asked, “What about me – same question, what is it that I want?”  Tears were beginning to roll faster down his face.

I answered, “You want to be the one who saves the day.  You want to be the one everyone can depend on, the knight in shining armor, the hero.  You want to be able to help anyone who needs help for any reason.  When you were in Junior High, you thought having a caring heart made you weak, but you’re learning that it isn’t true.  Above all else, you want to be able to save your mom.”

More tears as I continued, “When you were 10 or 11 years old, you told me that you wished you had a job so you could help your mom pay her bills.  When you ran away that time, I know it was because your friend was running away and you were trying to help keep him safe.  One of the things we’ve been trying to help teach you is that you can’t help anyone if you aren’t able to help yourself.  This is why we push so hard for you to finish school – not because we want you “perfect”, but so you can get a good job so you can help others.  If you’re struggling to pay your own bills on minimum wage, you won’t be able to help anyone else.  The careers you’ve told me you’re interested in, police and military, at their core are positions of helping others stay safe.  You’ll be great at either because your heart’s in the right place.”

Rowdy just nodded as he wiped away his tears.

I paused, considering, pondering my next statement.  I went on, “You asked if I even care.  I’m going to tell you first that this is my opinion.  Because it’s my opinion, I really don’t want you to tell me how wrong I am.  Instead, I want you to think about what I’m about to say and consider if it is true or not.  Figure it out for yourself.  I don’t need an answer from you on whether or not you agree with my opinion or not.  Does that make sense and do you understand what I’m asking from you?”

Again, he nodded.

I went on, “My opinion is – every hurtful word that you kids scream at your Dad and me are really what you wish you could scream at your mom.  That you’re mad at her, but cannot bring yourself to say the same things to her because what if…..just what if…..what if…..”, my voice faltered, cracking, deep breaths trying to stay calm and level headed.

I couldn’t bring myself to say what I was thinking – their fear – what if she stopped loving them because they hated what she had put them through?  I struggled to keep my own tears in check and failed.  I couldn’t look at Rowdy as tears rolled down my own face, but I could hear him sniffling next to me.

I finished, “If my job in your life is to be the target of all of the hurt and pain your mom has caused you kids; then I will gladly help you carry that burden.  No kid should have to carry a burden like that.  I love you kids so much.  I will hold all of your pain for as long as you need me to.  Yes, I care.”

We sat there and cried together for a few minutes.  Nothing else was asked, nothing else was said, nothing more needed to be said at that moment….the tears filled the void.

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