“I hate you! I wish I had never been born!”, he screamed from upstairs and slammed his door so hard I could feel it reverberate in the floorboards under my feet.
I stood at the bottom of the stairs, my heart aching, my fists clenched, and my eyes full of tears. Barely a teenager, my sons’ nuclear hurricane of rage had swept through the kitchen, up the stairs, and into his room, firing verbal projectiles with pinpoint accuracy in a frantic attempt to exert power over that which he felt powerless. And I stood on the edge of it, unable to reach him through the inferno, yet close enough to feel the chaos, a flung insult or two cutting straight to my heart leaving me breathless in his wake.
My hands trembled, my chest and shoulders tensed for action. I took a shaky breath in, closed my eyes, and sighed as though from the very bottom of my soul. How will we ever get through this together?
Motherhood is easily the single hardest job I have ever done. In moments like this, I am called to be so much more than I ever thought I would have to and always at a moments notice. The pin drops, and shit goes sideways. I am reminded in these moments of the suddenness of our car accident, one moment driving happily along towards the cinema to see a movie, the next, spinning out of control. And I have to respond. There is no one else who can.
My heartbreak and anxiety in these moments is real, like gravity. And If I didn’t love him, it wouldn’t break my heart, which makes my heartbreak evidence of my devotion to showing up. The yawning chasm of it used to be a rabbit hole of self judgement and catastrophizing that I would tumble down, sometimes not emerging for hours, days, or weeks.
And then I found a better way.
This way helps me step by step to elevate myself, to empower myself, to be of a higher caliber. To hold space, mark boundaries, bear the brunt and still be ok when it’s done. I don’t always feel like it’s possible within these moments, and yet I somehow find the courage. Through the tears and heartbreak, somehow I always find the courage. Even when I break down, especially when I break down, because every single time I have, we have had a breakthrough.
The blurred edges between mother and child, me and him, are where we push and push back. They are where we connect with each other, where he thrashes and screams out for help. And I have to reach out of myself into him and serve. It’s so hard in these moments to remember that I am not here to fix, but to guide, to soothe and to hold space.
There have been many times where I didn’t have the tools to do any of those things, and in those moments I resorted to control, punishment, and combat. Sometimes I still do, because he is always calling me higher, pushing me harder, and demanding that I become more, show up stronger, and lean in more than I ever have before.
I am always learning, growing, failing, falling, getting up, and trying again.
Who is raising who here? Honestly, I can’t answer that question one way or another. It’s really both.
Where are you facing something in your life that pushes you to your limit? Do you face it? Or do you run, fight, or try to control it? Surrender is so hard that it can feel impossible, but when I surrender and lean in, the biggest breakthroughs of my life have happened. I couldn’t go over it, under it, or around it, I had to go through it. And on the other side was freedom.
Until the next storm blows in.