Sit with the Frustration

frus·tra·tion
frəˈstrāSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.

As I go back over the notes I have written during my therapy sessions one thing is abundantly clear. My therapist keeps reinterating that I need to sit with the frustration I am feeling and just be. Another thing that remains abundantly clear is I STILL struggle with this. I guess I am rather like a two year old… I want what I want, when I want it. And this means NOW.images-2

Coming from a family where life and death hung in the balance by only the newest that science could offer; that lack of control and unsettledness continues to effect me in ways that I am still unpacking and just beginning to understand. When you have life-threatening illness at your doorstep for years it doesn’t stop banging on the door just because the patient is doing better. In my case I was not the very ill child, my sister was. But in those days parents tried to protect their other children from “the truth” believing that they shouldn’t have those burdens put on them at such a young age. However, in my case, the lack of true understanding and knowledge lead to envisioning things in my mind that were probably worse than any real facts would have been. And basically since that time I have spent my life trying to mitigate surprises and always planning ahead. Frankly, this just doesn’t appear to be compatable with sitting in the silence, sitting with the unknown or sitting with frustration very well. I want purpose and I want action…NOW DAMN IT!

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Making this “sitting with frustration” even worse is that I am suppose to wait until B makes his own discoveries about himself and his own truths instead of spoon feeding my perception of the truth to him. His process is suppose to be his own process but like a famous Hollywood director I have the script already written and filmed in my mind about how the scene is suppose to go. And because feelings are on the periphary for him which makes any sort of immediate action of self-discovery difficult; I am afraid that this film is going to be WAY OVER BUDGET both emotionally and financially.

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And so I sit. Tired and frustrated. Tired of sitting. Tired of waiting. Tired of thinking about all this sitting when suddenly it occurs to me that B is probably just as tired of waiting for me to just sit. What a gift it could be it I could just be comfortable being in this limbo and in doing so freeing him up to make his own discoveries on his own timetable instead of feeling the silent pressure of my discomfort in sitting having to sit with my frustration. This realization sends a shiver of freedom down my stiff spine as I contemplate what it would be like to let others set their own timetables instead of trying to get them run on mine. And just like a passenger waiting for a delayed train getting annoyed at the situation isn’t going to change a thing and it certainly isn’t going to get the train there any faster. So today..a breakthrough… I finally “get” that I must tolerate this frustration without disappointment or anger because in the end I am not in control of it anyway.

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Teens & Alarm Clock Hell…266 Days To Fix This

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Somehow, I have become everyone’s personal alarm clock and I don’t like it one bit. Waking up my children has suddenly become a major chore. I don’t know what it is about teenage-hood but the fact is that everything moves slower on them, their ears stop picking up the decibels emitted from my vocal cords and their bones seem to collapse in upon themselves rendering them unable to hoist their bodies out of bed.

It used to be that I could bellow up the stairs and it would work.

“Kids, it’s a lovely day. Time to get up!”

Three minutes later their shiny smiling faces would be standing next to me, sweet sleep still filling their eyes. Now, I have to climb the stairs to hell to bring them down myself. In short, the trip up the stairs feels like being led to the gallows.

With Paul the first exchange of the morning usually goes something like this:

“Honey, time to get up!”

Nothing moves, nothing stirs. Mom walks over to teens bed and shakes him where he kicks his foot striking me somewhere in the thigh. I am still unable to determine if this is a voluntary or involuntary act.

“Paul, time to get up. Come on baby. Let’s go. Move out!”

GROAN. Slight twitch of left toe.

Shake again.

LOUDER GROAN. Slight twitch of right toe and so it goes until each part of his body has twitched but not yet moved.

“Come on baby. Rise and shine!”

“OKAY I AM GETTING UP NOW LEAVE ME ALONE!”

Fifteen minutes later I am still the only one down in the kitchen, the countdown to the bus has begun and I’m starting to burn like the bagel I put in the toaster 5 minutes ago.

In an attempt to remedy this hell of a routine I take taken many paths of desperation including LOUD alarm clocks that could wake the dead but somehow fail to wake my teens. I have cuddled with each child as they snore on. I have rung bells and I have banged drums. I have even resorted to ice cold water spray bottles which have resulted in nothing but an ugly attitude that manages to last into the wee hours of the next morning.

Is there no way out of this hell?

People tell me that I will miss all this when everyone is gone and out of the house but I doubt it. Because by the time the last one leaves the nest we will be retired and probably very weary of this lack of time management on the part of our teens.  Yet, I do hold out hope that the future will bring with it an uncomplicated way to start out my day. And, if it is true about what the experts say about the aging process, I suspect I will still hear, “OKAY! OKAY! I AM GETTING UP!” as I drift in and out of sleep. Only this time, those words will be uttered by a incredibly horny and somewhat naked 65-year-old man. And frankly this will be fine by me because instead of being the bell ringer it will be nice to once again have someone RING MY BELL to wake ME up in the morning.

A Marriage Of Stone

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Recently, I have started hand sanding rocks as a hobby. These are not ordinary rocks mind you, but Petoskey Stones direct from Lake Michigan. The Petoskey also has the distinction of being the state rock. These prehistoric fossil rocks were created long before dinosaurs roamed the earth and comprised of six-sided corallites. I love them.

The interesting thing about these rocks are that they are pretty ugly until given the care that they need. They often look like deeply pitted gray blobs while laying under the cold water but upon close inspection you can often just make out the outline of something more wonderful to come. My kids and I love scooping them out of the lake and lining our pockets, heavy with the weight of promise, as we make our way home.

Once home I begin the sanding process. Professionals use special tumblers as the rock can disintegrate if care is not taken. I just sand with ordinary sand paper. I start with 80 grit and move upwards until I reach a grit so fine it almost feels smooth as glass. Ever so slowly I sand away the imperfections of the rock, moving in a circular motion, like water carrying particles down the drain. As I remove layer upon layer the picture of what’s to come gets clearer and I can begin to see the exquisite beauty of each stone. Sometimes it takes days or weeks to get that kind of clarity.

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Marriage is a little like those rocks. Marriages are held together with layers of our personal marital history melded with the fossils of our past. Often a long-lived marriage looks like it has come right out of the water…cold, wet, pockmarked and oftentimes so ugly and plain you think about just throwing it back. But then you remember that with a little patience, effort, time and care you will begin to see each small component of the whole looking shiny and bright. Finally, after much polishing and nurturing the beauty of your stone/marriage comes to life and you can see what all that hard work has brought you…something precious, lovely and beautiful to look at..a showpiece that the two of you have created from something that came before.

And all it took to see such beauty was a little elbow grease and a lot of faith that there was something better underneath.