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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Put a Frame on It

One of our family traditions with the boys is on the last day of school, we go out to lunch to celebrate.  School usually ends around noon and they have not eaten.  Yesterday, we end up at one of our favorite pizza places.  Blue grabs the table while I pay for our order.  He is not sitting at the table but he has our two cups and plates placed on the table.  I grab a seat.  He comes over and says, "Umm...that's my seat."
"Oh...I'm sorry.  Can we just switch?"
"But I was sitting there."
"I didn't know that.  I'm already sitting can you just sit on that side?"
"Uh...that's rude."
"Oh...excuse me!" I get up ready to switch seats.  I see that there are a few crumbs on the other seat.  Now I get it.  The side he chose is cleaner.  Apparently, he doesn't want to clean off a few crumbs.  I get a little pissed.  I totally take it personally.  I feel stepped on because I'm trying to do something nice for him and he's being crappy over something as trivial as the seats.  He knows that I'm pissed...so that makes it worse.
"I can't do anything right!  All we do is fight.  We just can't get along!  I don't want to fight with you all summer.  My summer is going to be ruined!"

This misunderstanding is not about the seat at all.  It's about anxiety over the transition into summer.  It's about not knowing exactly what the routine will be.  It's about having to spend more time with me and more time with his brother.  It's about leaving behind all of the things and routines that he has gotten used to over the school year and he will now miss.

It's also about the fact that he did not get enough rest the night before.  We went shopping and out to dinner because he wanted to buy these Nike Plus shoes from the outlet mall.  We went and had dinner afterward and we didn't get home until 10 p.m.  He goes to bed at 9 or 9:30 at the latest.  He woke up on his own the next morning because he was excited about the last day of school.

On our way home from this cranky lunch...he falls asleep in the car.  Ah hah!  There you have it.

The frustration level continues throughout the afternoon.  I can not say or do anything to ease the pain or burden he is carrying.  Everything I say makes matters worse.  Everything dad says, seems to soothe the savage beast.  I also take this personally.  I shouldn't...but I do.

He says he doesn't want to go to art lessons with me.  I am fine with that.  I don't want to go with him either.  He always rushes me at the end of our lesson when I'm trying to finish up something that I am painting.

I take a long hot bath.  He and dad make plans for the evening.  I leave for my art lesson...alone.  Followed by a stop at my favorite watering hole, where I have a Margarita flight...alone.

I sit there on the patio having text message and Facebook conversations with my friends.  I do not call or invite anyone to join me as this is a totally last minute adventure.  I just do not want to go home. My Facebook status: "If drinking alone is a sign of being an alcoholic all I can say is...it runs in the family."

This morning I read a blog post on Mama Be Good titled "Frame it Hang It" Brenda reminds herself that her son's anxiety is not about her, it's not to be punished or taken personally.  The words she wants to frame are "I am Anxious.  I'm trying to tell you but I can't!"  I am showing you what anxiety looks like by my behavior, but I'm really just plain old anxious! You have to read her entire post.  It's incredibly insightful.  Thank you Brenda!

Of course now I feel terribly guilty for taking it all so personally.  I guess the sign I need to frame is "I am human."

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