I just got back from a fantastic visit with the most beautiful grandbaby on the planet. Of course, I always used to secretly roll my eyes (sorry buddies) when my friends became grandparents before me. But now, I am as bad as any of them and yes, I do have the most beautiful grandbaby ever.
A strange thing … your child having a child. I met Brody when he was just one week old. I was struck by how utterly helpless he was. If a fly landed on his nose, or his dog licked his face, he could do nothing about it, little arms waving around randomly in front of his face.
His skin was ridiculously soft, his eyes impossibly blue and he was my son’s child. I still feel so lucky to have met him when he was just one week on the planet. Now, through the miracle of SKYPE, I can see him whenever I want. When he kisses my face on the screen, it touches my heart … thank goodness for technology!
I met an Egyptian rental car agent this trip whose mother lives in Egypt. He said to me, “I believe technology is a work of God. My children want to see ‘Granny’ every day and they are bonded to her through SKYPE.” I agree. Brody recognized me on the computer screen when he was not yet a year old!
So, what did this precious being teach me about anger? Very simple. When he is angry, there is no mystery in it. Should his mommy disappear for even an instant … wailing that could wake the dead echoes through the house!
If his daddy leaves the room to get a coke, screams penetrate the room! There is no thought. There is no guarding against being inappropriate. There is no self monitoring or self censoring. There is just a blood curdling scream!
When Brody is mad, everyone knows it!
Where did we lose our way? When did it become illegal to be mad? When did we start to censor ourselves and lock our strongest emotion inside our frail bodies? We are suffering as a people. We are overweight, diabetic, depressed, anxious, sick with any of a variety of maladies and we are mad.
With nowhere to go with it. Was I embarrassed when my perfect grandchild bellowed his unhappiness at the restaurant when his mommy when to fetch something out of the car? Well, not really embarrassed, but I was conscious of the other diners. Most of whom simply smiled graciously and a bit nostalgically at the emotional tot.
We need to figure out how to be angry. We need to have a way to express this strongest of emotions in a way that is not harmful to others. If we are to survive and thrive, this transition must occur.
I rarely argued in my first marriage. Being angry was against my self imposed rule structure. Of course, by time the marriage ended, I was on three, count them three, anti depressants and still couldn’t get off of the couch.
Now, when my adorable soul mate and I disagree, I must admit, I kind of like it. I feel energized as I strategically plan my attack. Not a REAL attack, of course, the attack is on his masculine logic.
My favorite latest confrontation went something like this:
He: (Obviously angry and not talking about it.)
Me: Are you upset.
He: Yes! And you know why!
She: No, I really don’t.
He: (Even madder), YES you DO!
Me: Not really.
After a few minutes of his expressing his experience with one of my rather ego-centric and unilateral decisions.
Me: OK, I see that you are mad and I am glad to know how you feel.
He: Still upset, repeats his experience.
Me: Can we put the emotion aside and talk about the issue?
At this point, I bring up a mutually appealing ancient philospher, Epicticus, and ask if we could simply talk about it like Epicticus would.
He: No, I don’t feel like talking about it like Epicticus!
Me: You have every reason to be upset. I didn’t see it from your point of view and I’m sorry my choices have put you in this position.
Now, at this point, I have to tell you, this is an amazing interchange. In my first marriage, I was SO terrified of anger, I withdrew routinely and chameoloned my self to fit into my ex’s comfort zone.
I am proud of myself and I am now aware that when we have a heated discussion, as these are more typical than arguments, a lot of adrenaline is released and it does feel a bit invigorating.
Hmm, what a concept.
What is true again and again is that my darlin’ and me are committed to being different than we were in our first marriages. I LOVE that we have conflict. I know that may sound weird to some of you, but it is true.
I am really proud of myself for staying calm and holding my own. I know that my hubby is not comfortable with conflict and neither am I. But I also know that without conflict, we are stuck in nicey nicey and that is fake!
Now I don’t plan on screaming in anger at the neighborhood sushi place any time soon, but I have to admit, my grandbaby’s expression of anger has really gotten my attention!