I’m still in denial that we moved so far from home. Away from our friends and my family, from the places and things we love. I’m blindfolded and spinning in this Western province, and I ache for the sights, sounds and smells of our humid francophone city. I feel forgotten by our friends – out of sight, out of mind – and I feel little point, and less financial ability, to visit. I have always hated it here, and now that we have friends, I hate that we’re going to leave. I hate that we’re going to do this all over again within the next two years. I feel trapped, I feel burdened.
Big, tall, long-fingered Annie. Rough, loud, with sudden mood changes. You are bigger and taller than me, and I am taller than dad was. You overpowered Dad on August 21, 2002, and his heart stopped working, so he left us forever. You were not in control, but it was your fault. I think you know it, too, and we can’t blame you for it. But I can be angry at you for taking my dad away so violently. He deserved better than that. Fuck you.
This anger management thing is challenging. I have committed to learning how to process this strong emotion. I joined a support group on Facebook, I read articled online, I blog here, and I took a book out of the library. After my life-changing realization two weeks ago, I felt elated and that anger wasn’t going to be such a big deal any more, but it takes work, because many things make me angry:
- My step-son. How often? Constantly. How frequently do I have to deal with him? Daily. For example, he just taught my toddler “WHAZAAAAAAAAP!” which my toddler will be screaming at the top of his lungs for the next few weeks. While the baby is sleeping. In the car. In public. Step-son also mumbles, and interrupts, and needs vigilant reminders to do the same, basic things we’ve been telling him for near a decade.
- Driving. I am an aggressive, angry driver. It stresses my husband out, and I see now that it stresses me quite enormously. Every other driver is the problem, of course. Typical anger issues.
- Dinner time. See: step-son. He has horrible interpersonal habits, bad table manners, and teaches my toddler all of these things.
- My husband. Sometimes, he’s worst than my step-son because, as the other adult in the family, I don’t feel like I should have to ask for the garbage to be taken out, for help tidying the house, for him to do his typical chores. This makes me feel an undue amount of pressure. For example, Sunday is my day off from cooking. He never remembers and I remind him at around 5:30 p.m. weekly that he needs to get things rolling.
I could make a super-duper long list, so I’ll leave it at those key stressors – triggers – for the time being.
Just when I feel like I have my anger under control and that it won’t take over my evening, boing, there it is, peeking from around the corner, throwing hot coals at my gut. I know anger is a normal emotion and I will always feel it, but I would like to see the hairy little beastie as a warning sign rather than let it burn me.
It was my son’s third birthday a few days ago. Nobody sent him anything, or called (except for one out of five aunts/uncles). I’m heartbroken and angry. My husband’s parents – my son’s grandparents – didn’t call. This makes me feel so neglected and let down. Nobody likes being neglected, naturally, but it’s one of my triggers.
It was a challenge to focus on my son and his well-being rather than the pit in my stomach that justified my anger and hurt. I doubt any other grandchild would have been so ignored. If they don’t want to be part of his life, then I’m happy not to keep them informed. Relationships take effort, and my son is very much worth the effort. He is a bundle of pure love, silly energy, high intelligence, and love of life.
I sent the grandpa an email the evening of my precious one’s day of birth. It read ‘someone was very sad not to hear from his grandparents on his birthday.’ I do hope it makes them feel at least as bad as they have made us feel.
My anger expresses itself as impatience. It’s like having an invisible army tugging at my skin telling me to go faster, and not to accept anything that might slow me down. Impatience, meet the toddler, who is an excited ball of energy going at his own stubborn pace. Toddler and impatience, meet the newborn baby, who currently throws fits if not continuously held by me. To the invisible army, add a swarm of bees in my mind, and just out of reach, the solace of me-time on the couch, while both boys intermittently sleep, which hums over the chaos.
Having kids is a stressful, everyday joy. It takes an hour to get ready to leave the house to go anywhere. There’s a conga-line of clothing and diaper changes. The constant need of my attention and care, every day, all day and night. Then there’s the added stress of 3 p.m. when my step-son gets home from school, then it’s time to make fucking supper.
There’s the stress of how sadly fleeting these days are, that I don’t want to cheapen by never feeling calm and peace and enjoyment around my kids. I don’t want anger and impatience to rob me of their childhoods. I don’t want their memories polluted by my negativity. I didn’t get to have a childhood, and my parents were constantly stressed. I don’t want to repeat that. I want them to have banal things to complain about. I want them to have that luxury.