I just read Mark Manson’s short on The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a Fuck. It made me laugh, but then it made me cry because this is one of those occasions the fucks have taken over. And it pisses me off a little, too, because I make a pretty decent effort to see the sunny side of people and most situations. Except lately the people in my family have been thieving the last joule of energy from my being and so the fucks have been mounting exponentially for about, lets say, four weeks…or like 40 years, who’s counting?
So in today’s news, my husband’s career took an interesting turn into the shitter. Let’s clarify: it’s not swirling down the drain, just plopped in for a second and already in a bag of rice. Or a bag of fucks, whichever. They both annoy the hell out of me when they spill out. My habit of not giving a fiddler’s fart has waned and the fucks these days are growing, but not exactly waxing poetic. Usually my deepest cares are sweeping moments of nostalgia for the sweet innocence of my children’s early youth, when I believed in the dream of their budding virtues and the plans I held for gifting the world with fragments of my love, my spirit. The sacred parts of my soul untouched by the weathering of life. My children would be, above all things, my legacy of love.
Yet that faith from its nascence has been tested on many occasions. These teenage years have not been kind, but this past month is the first sign that somewhere I went wrong. In my own weakness or in my overcompensation, or just the brokenness I’ve tried so hard for too long to conceal. Something went terribly wrong. These children are not good to me. I was so focused on the development of their self-worth I had altogether failed to include any measure of my own worth into the equation of my parenting. I failed to teach them to honor their responsibilities to this family, each other, their mother and father. Mother Teresa reminds that if we want to change the world, we must begin with our own family. For more reasons than one this was far more complex than it should have been for us, but I believe this recent tumult is an opportunity to strengthen the foundation of this family and to experience the blessing of God’s love through this test.
The fuck I give today about all this comes in the form of some painful self honesty: about the lasting affects of my childhood dysfunctions, how they factor into the way I relate to my husband, how we’ve impacted the way our kids relate to each other and us. I put my finger on all this years ago. Possibly made a few weak attempts to “be the change”, but by and large have mainly attempted to escape from these issues or hide among the crowd in a perceivably healthier community than the tiny one within my home.
I’m mapping this period in my life carefully because I have faith that these pains are messengers, an opportunity for our family to grow closer through a painful adversity. If family is my center, I’ve got to be willing to overcome the illusion that we can continue to keep these hungry wolves at bay with money, and rebuild this family’s foundation with the core values of those hopeful times of our early beginning. The financial stability of my husband’s career has managed to provide a little comfort through the tough dynamics of this household, fooling me into believing it will make up for the resources I lack as a mother. It’s so paradoxical to me when in my own childhood, being a mother was clearly written on my soul. I had an unshakable desire to love and nurture children, it was like a superpower. My baby dolls transfixed me into a fairytale world of maternal bliss. At the earliest age, swaddling and holding my dollies felt as natural and sweet to me as mother’s milk. It would eventually become my life’s purpose.
These days I feel I’m losing my foothold. Hopes and dreams have turned into grand disappointments. My children as citizens, I am proud of. I observe their character to be sound in their dealings with others. But their lack of contribution, kindness, goodwill, personal accountability, and mutual respect within this home is nothing short of a devastation to me. With my husband’s job loss, this family currently stands at a critical juncture.
This is it guys. Sink or swim. I’m no longer your lifeboat. I’m worn threadbare. It’s going to take the effort of the entire team to survive this with a positive outcome. Dig deep, and may God be with us.