Friday, February 10, 2012

an epiphany, and finding patience

Epiphany: Fletcher whines three out of every four minutes that we're together. This does not mean I have done anything wrong.

People, probably all of us, have a bad tendency to assume or make things about ourselves.

I have to stop doing this with Fletcher's behavior.

It isn't me.

While there are always ways I can improve as a parent and a person, I haven't raised him wrong. When he scream-whines, it isn't because I've failed him in some way.

My son doesn't hate me. Sometimes it's hard to remember that he loves me. He doesn't say it, and there are times that his smiles and hugs feel like a distant memory. In fact, the way he looks at me sometimes, screams at me, and pulls at me, it seems that he wishes I were very different -- that he detests me for changing his diaper, or for not making and feeding him dinner within four minutes of getting home, or for needing a minute or two to not be his servant.

My son doesn't hate me.

It isn't my fault that it feels, at times, like he does.

It isn't my failure.

There are many things I can handle. Really, with Fletcher I can handle absolutely anything except four hours straight of scream-whining. At 10 pm one night, when there was something very specific that he wanted but I couldn't figure out what it was... "What is it, honey? What do you want? What are you pointing at? But there's nothing there. What do you want?" and his whining became so angry and epic that I thought my brain was fizzing and about to explode and then...

"WHAT?" I demanded in the loudest voice I have.

...from across the room his body jerked once.

"AHHHHHHHHHH," he screamed with such betrayal and desperation that it knocked him to the floor and he lay there in utter misery. Scream after scream tore from his throat, his face turning red, his eyes watering, and he denied all attempts I made to comfort him, pushing me and my useless arms away.

Denying me, because I wouldn't help him and my reaction was to yell back.

I hated myself. I knew I needed to find patience, but I couldn't and never would in that mindset. His desperation to be heard and heeded was matched by my desperation for proof that I was a great mother.

But it isn't about me.

It isn't about whether I'm a good mother or whether he loves me.

I didn't teach him to whine. I'm not doing anything to encourage it. It's a communication gap that will be crossed in time.

Whatever he wants and however he asks for it does not reflect on me.

There is patience in this epiphany. Somewhere.

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