|copyright: Karen Larsen photography|
I don’t get them. At all. I am one. I should understand them. I don’t. Maybe it is because I have spent so long denying my feminine side because I felt it was a weakness. I don’t know. I don’t feel that way anymore, but it doesn’t mean that I understand my gender any better. Today was exhausting, and it is only 9:40 a.m.
I had an amazing seminary lesson planned–Isaiah 53, all about the Atonement. It was super important! I couldn’t get my little girlie out of bed today. I usually go in and wake her up once before it is time to leave. On the hard days, I have to do it twice. She gets up, puts her shoes on, throws on a sweater, grabs her scriptures and walks out the door. No bathroom stops, no hair or teeth brushing, none of it. Getting up and getting to seminary is all that she can manage at that time in the morning. Did I tell you that she is not a morning person? I am……not such a good combination.
I went in at 5:45 a.m. She wasn’t sleeping in her bed. She slept with Spike again. She does that sometimes because it is hard for him to sleep by himself. I don’t know why. I really like sleeping by myself! I roused her, pulled the covers off and said, “hey, it is time to go….get out of bed.” Then I left the room.
I came back in at 5:50 ish….she was in exactly the same place she was before I left—covers on. So I repeated the process. Back at 6:00 a.m. “Hey, get up!! It is time to leave!” This time before I left the room, she has grabbed the covers and pulled them up. At that point, I let it go. If I fight this any more, I will be late and she will be mad. ugh! So off to seminary without her.
Seminary was OK. The lesson was OK–not great! I had two boys on their phones the entire time, not paying attention, one boy sleeping (that was mine), and I was having trouble keeping the girls’ attention. Whatever. It ended OK. We finished with a nice video and my testimony was good, the Spirit was there—not in abundance, which I would like, but functional. I have learned that I cannot control how much of the Spirit is present. All of the students in my room play a role in that and what they are doing at the moment. I have brought this up to the class and taught them this principle. Anyway.
So when I got home, I wasn’t in the greatest of moods because my lesson didn’t fly the way I wanted it to and my daughter slept through it and when we arrived home, no one, except Drew, was awake. Which means, Shorty hadn’t made anyone breakfast, everyone was still in bed and sleeping. Mind you, when we arrive home from seminary, we have exactly 12 minutes to throw down some breakfast, put together a salad for Drew’s lunch, say prayers as a family and walk out the door in order to catch the bus. That obviously was not happening today. And it is even more significant since we are down to one car. The van has been in the shop for two weeks and will be another week at a different shop. Drama for another day.
Anyway, that is our timeline. It is super tight and obnoxious when you have to deal with as many attitudes as we do here in our house. I went to find Drew, and expressed how frustrated I was with our daughter.
His solution: She is overwhelmed. She needs consequences for not taking care of her responsibilities. She obviously has not had enough or any that mean anything to her. Take away her music. Take away her Chrome book (which belongs to the school, by the way). Take away her babysitting for her favorite person tonight. Take away her performing arts classes and performances. Take it all away and make sure she gets the message!!
Ok. I will think about that. I certainly do not give enough consequences. But that is how you deal with boys. When you do that with Sun, she shuts down more, and more and then does less and less. It is not a motivating scenario for her and then she stops doing everything and becomes more and more overwhelmed and she falls into this self-fulfilling prophesy where she really can’t do it. I have seen her do it over and over again to herself and then tried to help her dig out of the hole she puts herself into so she might be able to function and be successful. Ugh! That is an exhausting process in and of itself!! I do not want to do that!
I take Drew to work. On the way, I decide that I have to go back to the house and get Smiley before I take Speedy out to school or Smiley will be late.
I get home. Smiley is ready. He comes to the car. I take a minute to peak in on Sun. She is sitting in the family room eating a pear—appears ready for school. “What are you doing today?” I asked her. “Going to school I think,” she responds. “Are you ready?”
“Then go and get in the car.”
As we are getting into the car, Spike throws open the front door and screams, “Moooooommmmm!!!”
“I don’t want you to leave!!”
“I am sorry. I have to take people to school.”
“Don’t leave Mooooommm!”
I drive away with him screaming at the front door with Shorty.
We drop Smiley off. He isn’t late.
Driving away, I tell Sun, “Dear, we need to have a little talk.” The entire time I am praying because I don’t know what I need to do to have her respond the right way. If I say it wrong, I will tank the entire situation and she will crumble. And if I don’t give the right consequences, she will get off the hook and not take her responsibilities seriously. Did I mention that I am also driving the car and she is sitting behind me, so it isn’t like I can see her face except for occasional glances into the rear view mirror.
“Are you feeling overwhelmed?”
“I don’t think so. Maybe.” She also talks really quietly when she is insecure, like you can hardly hear her even sitting right behind you.
“Well, are you behind in school? Are you overwhelmed with your classes right now and school work?”
“Can you tell me what you are feeling right now?”
Three minutes up the road, I can see the tears welling up in her eyes through the rear view mirror.
After a few more requests for her to communicate her feelings with me and now with the tears streaming down her face, I pull the car over to the side of the road. Luckily we are at a place where there is space. There isn’t always space on the way to school.
Five more minutes of me asking her to please share her feelings with me.
Finally in a squeaky voice, she says, “I miss Sport!!”
Oh.my.goodness!!! Is that what this whole thing is about?! He left almost a month ago!! And just now this is coming out?! Holy cow! What have you been doing girl?!
I let her cry it out. Good thing Speedy didn’t have to be to school until 10. We talked about how each of us manages our sad and hurt emotions. Sun shuts down and only participates in behaviors that makes her feel happy, that soothe her aching heart. She reads books, listens to music, eats….just coping behaviors that help her to feel better all the while letting the world go on around her and the work just pile up because she is busy trying to soothe her sad feelings. I on the other hand, work myself to death. I am more productive when I am hurt or angry because I channel all of that emotional energy into work—the house is never cleaner than when I am ticked off! I have to make myself S.T.O.P. and feel. I have to think about why I am doing what I am doing and what I am really feeling. We are two girls who deal with our emotional drama at different ends of the spectrum. Sun stops the world and wallows, I ramp it up and squash the feelings. If only we could somehow blend both philosophies so we both have balance! That would be awesome!
Long story shorter—I let her know she would have consequences for missing seminary. She won’t get to babysit tonight. (Her brothers will fill in for her so we do not leave that other family hanging.) She will have to manage her school stuff and get caught up. She won’t get to sit around and listen to music with headphones in. But she feels loved, and heard, and validated. We were only 30 minutes late for school–30 minutes well spent.
Now I get to deal with the boy drama here at home. Lovely! Spike now screams at people when he is mad. So awesome! My favorite!
Maybe we’ll both eventually figure out how to manage these stinky emotions that make up so much of our personality!