You would think, after being with my husband 23 years (20 of those as his wife) and 18 years as a mother, I would learn the fine art of shutting my trap.
Though, to be fair to myself, I am better than I used to be.
I used to be the sort of person who said whatever popped into my head. And if you know me at all, you know what a disaster that must have been. Because you see, I’m a cynical person at heart. I tend to assume that everyone around me doesn’t have a clue as to what they’re talking about and that I, of course, know all and have a MUCH better idea.
If people would only shut up and listen to me.
I was (okay, still am), pretty lethal when I get angry. Because when I get angry, my vision tunnels, my thoughts tend to snap to attention and I’m focused and fully prepared to cut the person I’m angry with down so far they need a step ladder to tie their shoes.
And the scary part? I honestly don’t care who gets hurt in the process – all I care about is getting in the last word and walking proudly out of the smoke from my burning words with the taste of bitter victory on my tongue.
This sounds like I’m boasting. Believe me, I’m not. This is a part of myself that has kept me awake way too many nights with regret. I wouldn’t say I’m an irrational person, but I definitely tend to speak my mind before really thinking the repercussions through.
This is mortifying in and of itself, it’s especially disastrous when I act this way with Kevin or the boys.
In case I haven’t made myself clear, I’m a controlling person. I know this comes as a shock to many of you, but alas, it’s true. (*smirk*) And for many years, it was either my way or live with my pissy attitude – and trust me, I could make my family’s life hell if I chose to.
After years of this despicable personality trait, my family is, in essence, scared of me.
This gives me absolutely no joy in admitting that to you. I am, in fact, quite ashamed of myself. I’ve been working hard, over the past several years, to just chill the hell out, to shrug things off, to KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT.
It’s been a challenge, to put it mildly.
This has never been more applicable than right now – now that we have an 18-year old son who has way too many of his mama’s moody stubbornness than what’s good for him. You can imagine how much we clash.
It’s been incredibly hard to let go of him these past years. It’s especially hard for me to accept the fact that now, he’s a legal adult. He has the RIGHT to make his own decisions, and his own mistakes. I’m there if he needs me, but he has to decide whether he needs me or not; I am no longer in a position to DEMAND that he need me or listen to me.
Jazz is still at that age (or perhaps it’s just his personality, and I pray it’s his personality) that he will still talk to me. And he even listens to my opinion. He doesn’t always take my advice, but he at least considers it.
Dude? Wants nothing to do with me. Well, on the surface at least. I can tell by his body language that he still wants to hear my opinion about something but would prefer to be tortured to an inch of his life before he would ever admit it. In the meantime, I just need to keep my opinions/thoughts/advice to myself because the kid simply doesn’t want to hear it.
Believe it or not, I have learned to keep my mouth shut with Kevin. But it didn’t happen over night. It took YEARS of fights and self-loathing to finally train myself to think before I speak with him.
I’m now trying to do the same with my oldest son. I’ve been knocked off-kilter with Dude because the rules have changed with him – as rules are apt to do when your children get older. I’m adapting, but not nearly fast enough, I’m afraid.
The thing that grounds me, that actually makes me keep my mouth shut, is the thought that if I DON’T, I could very well damage our relationship – if I haven’t already.
I am learning, FINALLY learning, that I am indeed capable of being silent. Now I just need to embrace that realization.