I called my mom yesterday with a parenting emergency. I was at a total loss with one child who shall remain unnamed. (funny I accidently typed unmamed.) We were all losing it. And, in retrospect, there was no backing down on either side, though at the time I thought I really was. Backing down. Giving space. Letting it all simmer. Without revealing too many of the gruesome details, because really what do the details even matter? Let’s just say things were heating up. And not in a good way. (and don’t think I didn’t notice that I used the word simmer and heating up as if they would have opposite effects)
So, at wit’s end and without a clue as to what to do next, I walked outside and called my mom. And she basically said, “swallow your pride”. Gulp. There it went. “Really?!” I asked. Sort of disbelieving that my mom would give out this advice. I don’t know what I wanted her to say but certainly I wasn’t anticipating this. I thought perhaps she’d give me something to do TO my child. But no. It was all me. Funny how that works.
“Yes, really. Just swallow your pride. Get in the car. And go where you’re supposed to go. Don’t say anything. Just take her where she needs to be. Because you know she needs to be there probably more than anything.”
So I gulped again making sure I had swallowed it completely. And though I was sort of wrecked from the heated exchange, I quietly and calmly (almost surreally so) got in the car and took her where she needed to be. Really without any words at all. For a 10 minute drive. We drove. We arrived. We said goodbye. And I left.
As I left her there and drove away, still feeling somewhat wiped from it all, I felt the whole issue rising up and away. Lifting. A sort of calm AFTER the storm. And in that calm I processed it all. Over and over and over again. Though still a bit traumatized from it all, I also enjoyed the feeling of settling I was experiencing. An internal peace around the external angst.
By the time we came together again we were good. We hugged. We said sorry. And we carried on with the rest of the night’s activities. Feeling perhaps even more connected than we were before it all began.
I was grateful to my mom for her advice. Grateful that she advised me to just step back from it all and basically not take it personally. Just witness it. Let it be. Then let it drift away.
Thank you Mom. I guess those 86 years of life you’ve had and the raising of 9 children plus a few has taught you a thing or two!
And maybe next time, in the midst of it all, I’ll know to ask myself, as my mom suggested and as Carrie often advises, “Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be connected?”
I’ll take Family Connection for 200 Alex.