Life has a funny way of teaching us lessons.
Seriously. It does. And I’m finally (in my aging state of almost 36) learning to open up, listen, and learn from these teachings. Lord knows I could stand to learn a thing or two – probably more. It might even make life a little easier…
Last week, I kinda let lose on my mom. Yes, the loving woman who I would give my vital organs for. The woman who suffered through 36 hours of labor, raised me, clothed and fed me. The woman who, to this day, washes little kids clothes, and picks up after them (and their parents) every day. I just want her to relax – not clean up after the girls, or us, and just rest. I want her to not be exhausted and frustrated with the weird side effects like a newly discovered ache, or everlasting fatigue, from last year’s cancer fight. I just want her to be happy and rested. So I yelled.
Clearly, I’m heartless and evil.
I was stressed. I’ve been running around like that poor chicken sans head, and I just needed someone to listen to me. Know what I wanted to cook for dinner. Not assume anything and just wait for me to catch my breath before having to answer to someone else’s needs. Just once. I want someone to know I’m worried about what pains and aches I have, but I’m too afraid to talk about it, or interrupt the lives around me with what’s probably nothing. Really. Nothing. Right?
So, instead of asking if she was ok, or thanking her for getting a head start on dinner since I was clearly tied up and not able to respond, I just became a super-wenchy daughter. (What busy working mom in her right mind YELLS at someone for making dinner?!?!?! This one, apparently.)
Had I stopped a second to talk with her, no – listen to her – I would have heard (or more likely observed) that she has her post-cancer treatment mammograms this week. I would have remembered this, and realized that she too is anxious. I would have remembered that she’s been through a lot, dammit, and yet she still puts up with my crank.
I didn’t really think about this…
…until I was on the receiving end of some pretty hurtful assumptions and accusations. And, surprisingly for my normally über-defensive self, my first instinct was to breathe, and remember that this person has a lot going on. And although I’d been hurt or put off by some of their actions, and trying to slowly back away and give space, that this wasn’t my turn to talk and share my side of the story unless it was wanted. Clearly, it wasn’t, but I answered a tough question honestly, tried to calmly offer the opportunity to talk, and let it go. I don’t let things go well. I’m more like a rabid dog, holding on to the death. But this isn’t about me, and as I realized I was giving this up to the universe as what was meant to be…it came to me…
Mom knows my pain and my anxieties. She listens. She tries to help, and even when I freak, she remains calm, tells me not what I want to hear, but what I need to hear to grow stronger and learn from where I am. I learn from her – still – every day. I hope more and more of her character becomes part of me as I continue to grow and learn. I was trying to be with a friend like Mom is with me, trying to listen although I love (and need) to talk, and maybe that’s why I can let this be. Because I know, despite how frustrated I may be, Mom makes me feel loved, and I know as tough or contrary as I may be at that moment…I can be me.
I don’t like it. I don’t like that I can’t be everything to everyone when they need it. I don’t like thinking that someone assumes I don’t care, but they don’t
care to want to need to listen to the real story – because they can’t where they’re at. I don’t have to like it. But its not always about me. I can learn to let it be.
Buttercup, the PowerPuff Girl. This is the character I thought (andprobably still do think) resembles me. Saving the world, determined and impatient, one tough girl reaction at a time...
Letting it be takes away the stinging pain of letting it go… and I can be ok with that.
So, I learned this week that while yelling might make me feel better for a tiny split second… while it might make me think someone else has heard me more clearly because I was loud and angry… I learned to squelch the urge to yell and listen first. To someone else’s words, or their silence, or even my own inner voice. Figure out why I’m so upset, or why my kids were trying to get a reaction out of me…or the real reason my mom is on edge. I really don’t like yelling anyway.
This is going to take practice, people. I’m loud. I’m normally quick to react. But now I know that if I try… I can let it be…quietly.
I love you, Mom.
Have you mastered “letting it be?” Tell us how!