Nagoonberry

This world. This place. This life.


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U-Haul moment: anger and anxiety

In our family, we talk about U-Haul moments—dating back to the time when Liesl suddenly figured out that U-Haul meant, well, “you haul.”

Yesterday I had a U-Haul moment.

For the past few weeks I’ve felt an unusual amount of anger. Rage, actually. It flares up quickly, rising up like a whirlwind from my gut, and it takes all I’ve got not to lash out.

Fortunately, Willa doesn’t trigger it. Usually it’s our dog Brady, whose in-your-face, high-strung energy gets on my last nerve. (He gets a lot of time-outs, when sometimes it’s me who needs one.)

Yesterday I figured out that the anger was anxiety, boiling up and spilling over.

Huh. Go figure.

I’m not very good at anger. Not good at acknowledging it, not good at feeling it, not good at expressing it (appropriately or otherwise).

At most, I get snippy. When I describe an incident where “I was really mad,” my friends laugh at me.

So this anger, and this anxiety, they’re opportunities. Opportunities to learn to live in my heart.

Almost twenty years ago, a career assessment counselor wrote about me, “Heather is a feeler who thinks through her emotions.”

That annoyed me—and stuck with me.

And yesterday, for the first time, I really understood what he meant. I always knew what he meant about keeping my emotions at arm’s length, about projecting them on the wall of my mind rather than living in that messy feeling space.

But yesterday I caught a glimpse, just a tiny one, of what it might be like to live in the messy space.

And have that be OK.

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School of hard knocks, baby version

When we took Willa to her six-month check up, one of the questions I had for Dr. Kiehl was about crib bumpers. Specifically, breathable ones.

She listened patiently while I explained that Willa was getting her feet caught between the slats in her crib, and crying because she couldn’t get unstuck.

She kept listening while I explained that the interwebs say regular bumpers are bad (SIDS risk), but that there are these breathable ones that are supposed to be okay and . . . .

She finally interrupted me and said, “You can buy them if you want. Or you could let her learn how to get herself unstuck.”

Oh.

Oh yeah.

Keep it simple.

Let her learn.

Let her learn, even if it’s the hard way.

Don’t shelter her from experience.

Oh.

Willa started crawling last week, and her mobility is increasing exponentially. She’s fast, and she’s determined. If it’s in her way, she’ll keep working until she gets around it, or over it.

Even if she face plants or bonks her head.

Sometimes it’s really hard to watch.

It’s hard to change her diaper in the morning and see that her cute little knees are still red and chapped from the previous day’s adventures.

And then today I left her in her crib while I went to the bathroom.

What I saw when I came back took my breath away:

standing

For the first time, she had grabbed hold of the top rail of her crib, and pulled herself up to standing.

I have a strong, fearless daughter, and she is exactly the child I need.

I’m a dreamer—and she pushes me to pay attention.

I’m a worrier—and she teaches me to keep her safe, and let the rest go.

Tonight, we’ll lower the crib mattress. And then I’ll try not to think about her standing there, because I need all the sleep I can get.