Diffusing the Mad

Well, I anticipated a bumpy Fall for our daughter starting Pre K, preparing for the arrival of a baby brother and gearing up to move into a new home.  What I did not anticipate was the utter grief and confusion she would experience with her father’s frequent absences.  David has been doing a good bit of the rehab himself and this combined with a full time job and preparing for another baby is enough for any adult to manage and try to cope with.  To a 3 1/2 year old child, it’s enough to tilt her axis.  I confess I have been less than my idea of a good mother through many of the melt-downs, and last night’s was epic.  I sent her to her room following some acting out and anger directed at me. I told her to come down when she felt able to make different choices.  She went upstairs and screamed and sobbed for “daddy”.  I felt helpless. Quite honestly I feel as big as a boat and as tired as any 42 year old might be in the 3rd trimester. I’ve been at the wall with how to navigate through all of this.

I got out some paper and oil pastels and started making marks…marks to describe how I felt.  Later, my daughter quieted and we had some cuddling and talked about things that make her feel better when she’s upset.  She listed off things like rocking in her chair, listening to stories, and I asked if she would like to see the picture I started, showing the strong feelings that I was having.  Soon she was adding to the picture with bold, frenzied, strong-armed marks and telling me how MAD they were.  She seemed to walk back through that energy but in a more contained way with the marks on paper.  It was something.  I witnessed, I watched and I was greatly reassured that we will all get through this. Not around it, not over or under, but through.

It’s 9 at night as I write this.  David’s task tonight is sanding the new pine boards in the kitchen/dining room.  Our girl just yelled out for him and again, he’s not here.  I went in to try and comfort her and surprisingly she didn’t refuse me.  She asked why daddy wasn’t home yet.  I explained what he was doing again and it FINALLY occurred to me to get her one of his shirts to sniff and cuddle with while she went to sleep.  A big smile, two thumbs up and now, 20 minutes later it is quiet.

5 Comments on “Diffusing the Mad”

  1. ann says:

    hang in there!

  2. nsroche says:

    So hard! You’re all in my thoughts as you navigate through this passage; hope you’ll soon be in quieter waters in your new home. Such a good example of how creativity is not only about making pretty pictures on the wall, but about shaping our lives.

  3. Thanks Ann and Norma! Much appreciated. We have much to be thankful for, just challenging moments at times!

  4. bam says:

    oh, becc, becc, the beautiful thing here, the thing that fills me with melting-all-over-love and a few tears, is that you speak the truth here. it IS awfully dark and we do get lost in the maze more days than not, especially when juggling the three, four, five platters you juggle. too often in our darkest mothering hours we are too scared, too ashamed to reach out. and so we live in the hollows. glory be to all the mothers of strong spirits — and yours is a vital, is an alive, is a strong one — for their path THROUGH the twists and turns are only that much more challenging. to build a house, through the work of your hands. to prepare for a newborn baby. to be 42 and in a third trimester. to be the mother of a wicked smart, deep feeling pre-schooler…..makes me want to leap in the car and come lift whatever load can be shared.

    in the meantime sending bucketloads of love, and such deep and profound awe for your truth-telling. xoxox

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