Say What You Need... or not... I Will Love Anyway
Just last week I was reminded of this post, from February of 2014. I was trying to explain myself, how I operate, how I work, for better or for worse. I had to bring up an example of communicating with my girl, because in so many ways we operate the same. It reminded me of this post. I wanted to share it again. It is helpful to look back, to see, both how we've grown and changed, and maybe how we haven't. Parenting is continually teaching me unexpected and invaluable lessons. Each little lesson impacts and changes me, hopefully making me continually better. I'm glad when I write them down, so I can remember and reflect on them!!
Last week we encountered some tension in the morning before church.
All was well, until Q asked if she could read a school book during church. I said no.
There is plenty of time during the week to read any book you'd like. The one hour during sacrament meeting I want myself and my kids to focus on that... the sacrament. That ordinance is the purpose for that meeting. And, after the sacrament is done, I'd like my kids to do quiet activities that leave their ears open, so they can absorb, even when they think they are not. Reading a school book requires concentration, which blocks out that absorption. Plus, there is plenty of time outside of that one hour during church.
That struck something with my Q and set her off.
Next up was getting her greasy hair done, because she chose not to shower that morning. We commenced the argument there, which I'd imagine wouldn't have been as bad had we not already disagreed.
The tension continued to tighten.
I kept my calm, explained myself. Didn't retaliate when she told me I don't love her... really, because parents who hate you do your hair... whateves! I try and try not to fuel the fire, to be the balance when she gets a little out of control.
I let it go. We all finished getting ready. I asked all the kids to get in the car, they did, except Q. She held back, didn't want to go, was being defiant. I told her to get in the car. 'I'm not sure what is going on' our tiff should have been done.
She raised her voice, and screamed at me... I sternly told her that behavior is NOT acceptable in my home. I didn't deserve that and whatever she is feeling is fine, but we don't scream at each other because we don't feel good.
Then she screamed at me... I'm mad because I need a hug!!!
Oh, I laugh at this now... but it wasn't funny then, it was a little infuriating!
Really? (Really, if I were a better parent, in that moment I would've taken the time to just hug her and resolve it, but we were in a hurry and, honestly I was angry too! I wasn't able to drop it and give her love!)
We talked on the way to church about how I could be confused and not read her signals clearly! Would I want to hug you when you are screaming at me? Nope!
If one needs a hug, one just needs to say... I need a hug!
Her response is that she can't. She can't say that when she is feeling angry.
Side note * I'm so proud of her for verbalizing this... I couldn't at her age!
That, I get. I'm the same way. Somehow, sometimes, my anger flips a button that pushes and shoves everyone away from me, and it's difficult to say what I really need. Sometimes because of my anger, I don't realize what I need.
AND, I also see how someone else can't fulfill my needs when I,
1) don't know what they are and
2) behave in a way that pushes them away
Moving on... we get to church, she says she's ignoring me. I don't respond at all.
She sits next to me...
We sang the opening song. I felt yuck, I know she felt yuck. I didn't feel love at that particular moment.
She had said what she needed in the car, in a venomous way, but she said it. I felt dumped on by her and I was upset at her.
I put my arm around her anyway.
I felt her melt into my arms and cry. I held her tight.
In that moment the love returned, for both of us. In that moment, love absolved any negative feelings both of us had. Love is so powerful.
As we partook of the sacrament I opened my scriptures and read Matthew chapter 8:5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
In that moment my heart began to pound and I started to cry.
This centurion went and found the Savior... he told him about something, but he never stated what he needed... he didn't have to.
The Savior saw him, and offered his healing without the centurion saying a word.
I believe it is empowering to learn to say what we need, in all realms of our life. It helps us evaluate what we are feeling and what we want, it helps us feel in control, it humbles us, it lets others in... it is a good thing to learn to say what we need.
It is also empowering to know that our love can heal. It was particularly potent for me to apply this lesson to my daughter, who will continue to push me when she really just needs love. I hope to be like my Savior and not wait for her to ask, but instead to offer my endless love to her willingly, especially when she doesn't have the words to tell me what she needs.
I learned these lessons last Sunday and was reminded also:
- The scriptures teach us. The Holy Ghost can touch our spirits in many ways, via the word of God is a great tool and I learn when I search them.
- Love is powerful, and when I don't feel like loving sometimes just going through the actions can bring the feeling back.
- Love heals. I know this. And, when I don't have the power to love on my own, my Savior can provide that for me... when I feel alone and need love, when I've been hurt and feel I can't offer love, when I don't trust the love that is presented to me, my Savior can and will bridge that for me, (both when I've asked, and when I haven't) and He has... countless times. When the love is there, healing begins, in all it's forms, child to parent, neighbor to neighbor, spouse to spouse, between friends. Love heals.
It amazes me that things can be eliminated, wiped out, erased, when genuine love is felt.
I'm so glad for that, because I'm sure there is more of this coming my way! We will keep on practicing saying what we need, responding in love, and asking for forgiveness when we don't get it right.