The other day, my daughter wrote me this note.
I don’t know what it means, EXACTLY, but knowing her, I think it’s supposed to be about how much fun we have when we sing together. The feeling she has in her heart when her family is happy. Now I don’t want to put words in her mouth, so I will just leave it at that. I can’t be 100% certain of what goes through her cute little head, what she sees with her serious brown eyes, all the expressions that she sometimes hides from me under the mop of her curly brown hair.
Sometimes I can guess. But I will never truly know.
A while ago, I wrote a post about some difficult times that John and I have gone through. We are working through all of that, and sometimes I think we are doing really, really well. And other days, we are doing um… “not” so well. But, that’s what marriage can be like. Some days you look at the person and think something sweet like, “I am so GLAD I married my best friend.” You might even catch his eye as you’re driving and reach out to hold his hand and feel so giddy, realizing at the same time how lucky you are to have married someone who loves Neil Diamond as much as you do. And doesn‘t think it’s weird.
Those? Those are the moments that diamond commercials are made for.
The next day you look at this same person you have promised to spend forever and ever with and you want to pull your hair out.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s probably good that John and I both have a lot of hair. Yes. Thank God for that.
As Nico can attest to below.
So going back to Shaila’s note, I wonder how many times she looks at her family and doesn’t feel like singing. Where her heart doesn’t feel so good. And I wonder how many times the tension between John and me has caused that not so good feeling. That really scared feeling you get when you’re a kid and you see the two people who are anchors for your little boat, uprooted or unable to stabilize you the way you need. At least, that’s what I think it must feel like when you look up at your parents from that vantage point and see them argue.
Actually, that’s what I remember it to be like.
We are not yellers. Or screamers. When we fight you can usually see it in the firm set of our jaws. The slight clenching of the teeth. Or the way we look at each other. Kind of cold. Steely. We both like to have the last word. Seriously, we can both be real assholes sometimes. Sometimes we will find ourselves in an argument that escalates. And before we know it, we are taking tiny little swipes at each other, knowing exactly what to say to drive the other one BONKERS.
But we make up. And when we argue, John and I both know that we will both retreat before hurting each other. And I think we feel safe with that.
But how safe do my kids feel?
While I am obviously super proud of my five year old rock-star/poet (she’s gonna be a gangsta, bitches!) for her clear writing talents, I am also a little sad because I realize that those moments she is talking about? Well, sometimes I kind of chase them away for her without realizing it. Caught up in my own stuff, our stuff, stupid stuff.
So I am not making a New Year’s Resolution. That’s crap because I have NEVER, EVER, EVER kept a resolution. But I will make a December resolution. To try to argue less. Anywhere, even behind closed doors. Because when you are a kid, a highly sensitive one to boot, you can still feel the tension behind the door. Your ears still strain to catch the tone of the voice. Your kids still know.
I will not let the stress of the holidays get in the way. Oh hell, now I am sweating. Ok, I will try with that one. Try hard.
I will sing and dance a little more with my kids. That one I can do.
I think it’s about time we whip out some “Forever in Blue Jeans.”
BEST SONG. EVER. Right, John?
Do you ever forget where you are and argue in front of your kids? Or argue until you feel like you have the last word?
Are you someone who never lets their guard down like that? In which case, how the HELL do you do it?