By Meika Rouda
I have been spending a lot of time with my friend who is suddenly faced with her husband leaving her and the daunting thought of being a single woman at 40 with two kids. She is angry at her husband for his sudden and unexpected departure, for not willing to go to counseling and try to save their relationship, for so easily giving up on a marriage and a family that is beautiful. And while the anger is real and needs to be processed she also realizes she needs to let him go with love. That if she can do that, it is better for her healing and better for her children. It is a tall task but one she is determined to meet and each time she falls into the anger pit, she tries to remember that this is something that she can’t control and she needs to let go, with total love.
I feel that way as a parent sometimes. The nights the baby will not go to bed, when I rock her to sleep and then as soon as I lay her in her crib she wakes up crying her eyes out. I have no tolerance for the cry-it-out method, I am too wimpy as is my husband so I pick her up and rock her to sleep again, just to repeat the cycle over and over again. And sometimes it is frustrating and I am tired but I need to let go of that and just give in to this moment. I can’t make her stay asleep but I can choose how I feel about that.
Or when my son won’t listen. And I mean really won’t listen. He has completely filtered listening skills when he is playing with his trains or watching a show. If I ask him a question like “Kaden, do you want to take your bath first or eat dinner first?” He won’t answer and just keeps doing what he is doing. But if I ask him “Do you think you deserve dessert tonight?” He will undoubtably hear that and answer “YES”. And again I feel myself getting frustrated and annoyed and wonder how someone so small and innocent can push all my buttons. And I need to let that go as well, and just let him be him, try not to control him and this situation and just let it be with love. Even if I want to scream my head off.
I try to be a positive person but I often fail. I am like a pessimist who has committed to positive thinking and falls off the wagon constantly. But if I remember this whole letting-go-with-love mantra, and how it pertains not just to ex-husbands but to everyday situations, especially as a parent, I know I will be a happier and healthier person. There is so little you can really control and sometimes you gain the most control by not controlling at all.
[Photo Credit: Shenghung]