Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I did it!

There's me.  There's a pile of undone dishes.  It is 11:30 p.m. and I am going to bed.  Dishes undone.  This may seem a benign scene to you.  But for me it is a huge accomplishment.  It is six months worth of therapy and lots of letting go.

We all have our issues.  Mine has been about control.  About me wanting to control the world around me because I couldn't control it when I was young.  And so it became about me getting all these tasks done, needing to check things off my lists. And suddenly I realized that tasks and lists were coming before things that really mattered: the people in my life.

When I was in college, I remember that during a big party when everyone would be drinking and hanging out, I would be walking around with a garbage bin, filling it with empty bottles and cans, wiping down the counters.  My friends would say, "Why don't you just hang out with us? That can wait!"  And it was all fine going along that way.  But suddenly it was my own children missing out on me. Coen would say, "Mommy, can you play with me?" And I'd say "Hold on a second, I just have to get the laundry started."  Lucy would say "Mommy, come see what I drew." and I'd say, "I'll be there in just a minute. I'm doing the dishes."  When I realized I was missing out on my CHILDREN, I knew something had to change.

And it took a lot of me forcing myself to stay on the floor with Lucy and her puzzles, even though I just spotted a floor that needed sweeping.  It took me taking deep breaths and ignoring the pile of crayons on the couch, falling into the cracks of the cushions, because at that moment, Coen was playing the drums for me.  And of course it took figuring out why I'm like that and where it comes from and what I need to do to change things.  

And Saturday night, I left the dishes. And they stayed there half the day Sunday until Tad did them.  And I left the playroom a mess for a whole week.  It didn't even raise my blood pressure.  And one day, Tad said, "This is driving me crazy!" And our whole family cleaned it up. 

I always pictured myself the kind of mom who has a messy house and stuff everywhere and art projects all over the walls.   The scene might be cluttered and messy but there is a happy family there, involved in each other.  I'm working really hard on my own self-improvement and way way less on the dust in my house. 

I left the dishes over night.  And no one died.  Quite the contrary. We lived.

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