Monday, June 7, 2010

Last Nerve

“You’re getting on my last nerve!!!!”

Maybe we haven’t actually said this out loud, but every parent has felt it. The drumming of noise, the once clean room slowly turning into storm or ‘kid’ tossed chaos, crumbs on the floor and sofa, water dripped across the countertop. The list goes on: getting up early with a child, giving up tickets to a long awaited event only to stay home with an ill child, walking into the house after a rough day at work barraged by hugging tykes vying for attention. Oh, that last nerve was sorely tested.

I’ve noticed that my last nerve has numbed over the years. I’m not a grandparent saint by any means. I still have those moments, but it is how I handle those events at this wonderful age of enlightenment. Putting oneself last is probably the most difficult part of parenting. Yes, there were times I resented giving up my plans. There were times I wanted to throw in the towel and say, “I’m not qualified for this job.” But I didn’t. I made my mistakes and cannot take them back. I was not an easy mother dealing with depression, a drinking husband and a move away from my dream home. Yes, I made my mistakes.

I wasn’t taught by my mother how to be a mother. Having three daughters was not in her plan. She wanted all boys. She babysat, but we weren’t included in the childcare. We never talked about problems in the home. It wasn’t permitted which was pretty much the norm for the times. So the mothering skills did not come from my home.

I think I discovered it sitting alone one night in my car wondering what my world was coming to when it dawned on me that I needed to wonder what was happening to my children. In just an instant I became the strongest woman I would ever know. I finally earned my stripes as a mother. The immaculate house became a home to snuggle into away from the storm outside. I added to the crumbs on the floor, flexibility and spontaneity added to the mix, and we became a new family. A family of three.

Perhaps my ‘last nerve’ came from my own selfishness or maybe my lack of understanding and patience. My granddaughter informed me that a temper is inherited. At one time I would have believed it true. But temper and ‘last nerves’ are choices. I’ve tried to teach my children to walk away from anger until it passes and the brain starts working again. The same level of expectation falls on my grandchildren as well. We will have no yelling or tantrums in my house. I will never ignore their feelings, but they must learn to react in appropriate ways. There is a level of honesty and respect we have for one another. Their opinions and observations are important and worth noting at the time….not later. These two girls are the world to me. For me to not pay attention to their feelings and thoughts would certainly get on their ‘last nerve’. Respect for one another in action and in word.

I hope I never find that ‘last nerve’ again. Relationships are more important than the winner attitude. Emotional winners sometimes lose what is most important. A child coming to you with a problem because you will listen and are honest with them begins early in life if the door is open and there is no ego on the other side. We grandparents can be a gift to our grandchildren teaching ways of communication, resolution and love. We can eliminate that ‘last nerve.’

Love is patient and kind.

1 comment:

  1. I'm normally a patient person, and it really bothers me when I yell at the grandkids. I don't do it often, but my 8-year-old grandson does test my patience. My grandchildren like to create art with fusible beads, but it's a lot of trouble to pick out the colors you need when you buy a tub of mixed colors. The other day I bought a tray of beads that were all separated by color. My grandson visited shortly thereafter, and later I noticed that the tray is empty, and the tub of mixed colors is brimming over! Boy, am I going to yell at him the next time I see him! If I can keep from laughing.