Yesterday was a tough one. But there was a moment of beauty at the end. A shift from shutting down to opening up. A shift that has never happened before in the moment of rage. A shift that made me grateful for the struggle so that we could experience the coming back. It’s hard to put this feeling into words. But I tried with this poem.
Today your anxiety flared up again
In almost all the same old ways.
Then refusing
All help.
Constant stream of words and arguments.
Lashing out.
So angry
On the surface.
But now I see
Your fear
Your overwhelm.
You fight against “not enough”
Your belief in yourself.
You wind yourself up more and more
Marshaling your defenses
against a threat
only you can see.
This time though,
I hold the boundary.
You feel what you need to feel.
I’ll do what I need to do.
I love you.
And because I love you,
I will only do so much.
And because I love you,
I will only take so much,
only let you go so far,
before I say no.
I send you upstairs now for an early bed time.
“I hate you!” you scream.
And then immediately,
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.”
As you head upstairs, yelling turns to tears.
And here in this moment is the miracle,
This turning back to yourself
To me
To us.
This has never happened before
You finding your own way back
From this far away.
Some parenting book I read said
this shift from anger to tears is an important sign.
Normally those books are garbage.
But today I am grateful for this sign.
I know other parenting books would say
never back down from enforcing a rule
never let yourself be manipulated by tears.
But I know
without hesitation
that now we need to be together.
I’m up the stairs a few seconds behind you.
Gather all five feet of you in my lap
Hold you tight
Kiss your tears
“It’s ok. I’ve got you.”
So grateful that you’ll let me help you
That you’ll let me in.