Thursday, February 24, 2011

Love manages anger

This week I have evening commitments, so the kids aren't seeing me much. They have a very low tolerance for that, and let me know it. Last night, I got home ten minutes too late to say goodnight - they were both asleep when I kissed their cheeks.

I started thinking about how to fit in more time with them. I realized that I have a webinar Thursday night, and I'm starting my Kung Fu class on Friday evening, so if I wanted time it would have to be my usual yoga/workout time on Thursday evening. Right away, I resented having to give it up. My neck twanged just to reinforce the point that I was not prioritizing self-care. But really, how much self care can I justify. This week, the balance tips the other way because of extra demands and a new "me" activity.

I decided to set the clock a half hour early, even though I was late going to bed, so I could fit yoga into the morning. And of course, I hit the snooze and got up at the usual time. I was so mad at myself, but also really tired and grumpy. As I went down the stairs to start making breakfast, I came upon my husband, taking care of himself and doing his stretches, which he needs to do. And I resented it.

Do you see a theme beginning? I did. But I felt powerless to stop it. Suddenly all the hard things about my life right now started piling themselves up in my mind, building pressure as I rejected them and the feelings they stirred. I just didn't have time! I felt myself growing brittle, detached, resentment seething under my surface. I wanted to stop it. I tried to focus on my breath. The thoughts wouldn't leave me, they poked and jeered.

I should never speak in this state.

I said, "I hope you'll still be on time. I had to give up my workout today and I don't want to be late."

Ouch. To his credit, he just said, "Oh, yes, I"ll be on time."

I went downstairs. I started assembling food, making coffee, resenting and being mad at myself for resenting and half-heartedly trying to stop resenting while starting to weaken against the soothing flow of self-pity. Suddenly, my husband came down the stairs, fast and determined. He removed the container from my hand and wrapped me in a giant hug.

His heart against my heart, his arms supporting my lower back, his sigh and my sigh synchronous. I felt the pressure release, dissipate. The underlying angst that feeds my moods is not gone, but in that moment, he relieved the pressure that would have been an explosion. He noticed it building, and he didn't reject me or judge me for failing to fight it more strongly. He loved me.

Love manages anger. Even mine.